What are fracture filled diamonds, and how recognise them?

I recently met with a jewellery valuer who values all types of jewellery. One of the services this valuation company provides is insurance valuations for diamond engagement rings that were purchased abroad, mainly Antwerp, Dubai and New York. Several Irish couples head to these locations each year in the search for a better deal, as they believe Irish Jewellers are too expensive due to higher margins, overheads etc.

Couples head off to these locations in search of diamonds and engagement rings at knock down prices. What you must remember is, if something is too good to be true it probably is!

This particular valuer in Dublin has seen an upsurge in recent times in couples coming in with engagement rings purchased abroad which have fracture filled diamonds set in them. The valuer now experiences fracture filled diamonds in 25% of these engagement rings. Some sellers refer to these diamonds as clarity enhanced, to most unsuspecting customers this term “clarity enhanced” sounds positive! However, what the buyer does not know is the cost of these diamond engagement rings is a fraction of the cost of an engagement ring with a natural diamond.

How is a diamond fracture filled? Basically, the inclusions are removed from the diamond by drilling tiny holes in the diamond, removing the inclusion and then filling the hole with a see through resin or filler. This resin will blend in perfectly with the surrounding diamond so the appearance will be very similar to a natural diamond. It is not against the law to fracture fill or sell these type of diamonds, however it is totally unethical of a jeweller not to inform the customer that they are buying a treated diamond that is not 100% natural.

Nearly all the couples that are informed of the diamonds treatment are distraught at the news, these couples were not informed or did not understand the term “clarity enhanced”.

Some couples only realise that they have a treated diamond when they need the ring cleaned or claws tightened as the treated diamond when exposed to heat can react adversely resulting in the resin melting and leaking out of the diamond. Exposure to sunlight can also result in creating an oily cloudy appearance for treated stones.

My advise is always check the receipt and paperwork you receive when you purchase the diamond engagement ring, if it states that the diamond is clarity enhanced just make sure that is reflected in the price. Always ask the jeweller if the diamonds are 100% natural and untreated.

And remember, if something is too good to be true, it probably is!

Originally posted 2014-04-15 03:22:44.

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