Diamond Enhancements and Treatments
Natural diamonds are known for their clarity and highly attractive gemological attributes. Sometimes, they are subjected to a variety of treatments and processes to enhance their overall look such as their brightness and to get rid of small cracks and black inclusions, etc. These processes are called the 'CE' type (clarity enhancement) type processes. These 'treatment' procedures are purely cosmetic in their overall approach and methodology.
One of the most important things to be aware of is that the price of the diamond before and after the treatment varies significantly. Merchants and dealers of diamonds are strictly instructed by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to let their clients know of specific enhancements, if any, that the diamonds have undergone even before they start the selling process. The buyers must insure that their invoice clearly states that the diamond is 100% natural and untreated. For this reason many merchants get diamond certificates to assert the grade of their diamonds.
Treatments to Enhance Diamonds
Using bleaching agents to remove the gemstone's natural color or lighten them is one of the most common treatments employed in diamond enhancements. Bleached diamonds are readily available in the market. The end result is a diamond that is either whiter or brighter. Those parts of the diamond that can't be worked on by chemicals and bleaching agents are further treated using lasers. Laser beams are very effective for the treatment and removal of dark spots in diamonds. They are also useful in shaping natural diamonds that are rough and lack beauty in their existing form. These diamonds are said to be 'zapped' by lasers. Buyers must beware as many merchants tend to sell these bleached diamonds at the same cost as the natural ones.
The infilling or 'fracture filling' diamond enhancements method also used lasers, but for a very different purpose. Natural cracks in the diamond diminish not only its beauty but also its market value. Thin wafers or pieces of materials like plastic, glass, etc are used for filling the cavities and breaks on the surface of the diamond. One of the most non-invasive methods of diamond enhancements is treating the diamond with colorless oils, paraffin, artificial resins, etc to smoothen the cracks in them. The method also adds to the diamond's weight and these diamonds are called the 'fracture-filled' type.
Another method that involves radiation is the neutron bombardment and irradiation method of diamond enhancement. Neutrons are used in combination with other subatomic particles like protons or at time in combination with heat to change the color of the gemstone. The clarity of the diamond can also be enhanced by heat treatment alone. Usually, after a diamond is treated with electron bombardment and gamma radiation, it is sent to a sintering furnace for further heating to obtain the best possible results. These go by the name of HPHT (High pressure high temperature) diamonds.
Only a highly trained eye will ever notice the presence of these foreign materials in the diamond. This is because these filling agents have a refractive index that differs from the diamond and therefore their reflection and refraction properties also stand out clearly always.
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