Don’t be Fooled by Enhanced Diamonds
The phrase ‘too good to be true’ can be applied to everything in life, including diamond jewelry. If you find a cheap engagement ring or bridal rings or see signs for wholesale diamond rings, be sure that the seller isn’t cutting their price by cutting quality. While there are exclusive retailers who can offer you genuine designer diamond rings and other natural diamond jewelry at a great price, many offer low prices because they are using enhanced diamonds.
Unlike high-quality natural diamonds, enhanced diamonds are inferior stones that have been artificially treated to hide cracks, repair ugly inclusions and improve their color. These treatments are unnerving by any standard and include laser drilling and boiling in sulfuric acid to remove black or dirty inclusions, exposure to radiation to enhance or change the stone’s color, placing the diamond in extreme heat and pressure to improve clarity, using a sealant to hid cracks and pits in the diamond, and being coated with a substance to add a reflective effect.
While all of these treatments can result in a gemstone that is cheaper than a natural diamond, don’t be fooled. Enhanced diamonds cost less because they are lower quality, and therefore less valuable. In fact, there is a heated debate in the jewelry industry about the use of treatments to enhance diamonds, as it can make stones difficult to grade and certify accurately.
Under US law, all enhanced diamonds must be declared and sold as such. One of the most common practices to enhance diamonds that must be declared is laser drilling to dissolve inclusions to improve clarity. These holes are clearly visible under a jeweler’s microscope and it is debated whether or not this process damages the integrity of the stone.
The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is the leading organization in studying and grading diamonds and all other gemstones, and they also require that all diamonds that have been laser drilled must be disclosed as enhanced. When buying diamond jewelry make sure it comes with a clear appraisal that discloses full information about each stone.
If clear information about stone enhancements is not immediately available, or a customer service rep does not want to talk about this process openly then walk away and look elsewhere for a natural, high-quality diamond.
Unfortunately, just because a diamond has not been laser drilled does not mean that it hasn’t been subjected to other enhancement treatments such as a being boiled in sulfuric acid. Most inferior stones actually have fractures that extend to the surface from inclusions deep in the stone that allow the acid to travel into the inclusion without holes being bored.
Would you consider buying a diamond ring if you knew the diamond had been immersed in sulfuric acid? Or buy a diamond bracelet that had been exposed to radiation? Would you buy any kind of gemstone jewelry that you knew had cracks that had to be filled with a sealant?
The GIA has announced that new treatments to artificially enhance diamonds are being developed all the time, making it more difficult for customers to identify and buy a genuine, natural diamond. They have reported finding diamonds being sold with “an uneven texture with abundant fractures” and “unevenness in their color” although they couldn’t identify what techniques had been used to treat the stone. Another report noted that High Press/ Heat Treated (HPHT) annealing of diamonds is “one of the most serious challenges the diamond industry has ever faced”
This worrying trend makes it even more important to only buy diamond jewelry from a source that you trust, and who are dedicated to only creating designer diamond jewelry using the highest quality, natural diamonds. Look for sites that advertise that they don’t use enhanced diamonds, and have clear certification for all of their diamond jewelry from
While enhancements may not be visible to the naked eye, they will certainly be visible to a trained jeweler or appraiser. While you may not be immediately concerned about the resale price of your diamond bracelet, engagement ring or gold diamond ring, any valuable piece of diamond jewelry is an investment in the future, and you will certainly want to make sure that any jewelry passed down from generation to generation is the highest value that it can be.