Archive for February 2013

 
 

Treated Diamonds I

We’re seeing it more and more often: Clarity Treated Diamonds. Picture this scenario; a person comes in for an appraisal on a diamond they purchased in a far away land. You can tell they’re anxious to find out what this stone is really worth because they got a great deal. Once we start looking at the stone we quickly see something odd through the side of the diamond; lines which snake into the diamond. We look a little closer under the microscope and there they are, laser drill holes (see picture).

Laser Drilling

As with many other blog posts we’ve written, we always emphasize that every diamond is different. Each has its own unique characteristics, particularly inclusions; those little crystals, pieces of carbon, small cracks, etc, inside the diamond which affect how light is reflected. For obvious reasons, black inclusions in a clear diamond are easy to see and usually less appealing to most people as compared to white inclusions. So modern technology is used to drill a hole into the diamond so that an acidic solution can essentially “bleach” the black inclusion (see picture to the right). The treatment is permanent and doesn’t eliminate the inclusion; it just makes it white so the diamond is easier to sell. The drawback is that the drill hole actually becomes an inclusion which can also affect clarity.

How Does This Affect a Diamond’s Value?

This is where clients have to be careful. Although laser drilling helped make the diamond more marketable, the treatment must be disclosed to the client before selling it. Reputable jewellers who you can trust have an ethical responsibility to disclose any treatment; this is an industry requirement. Thus, many jewellers (including ourselves) refuse to deal with treated diamonds. In a nut-shell, the treatment which make the diamond more marketable actually makes it harder to sell because most people want a natural diamond made by mother-nature herself.

 

 

Fracture Filling

The other common treatment for diamonds is called fracture filling. This treatment normally uses a molten glass filling material to fill fractures in a diamond; and thus improving clarity. This treatment isn’t permanent and can affect a diamond’s color (see the picture of the fracture filled diamond under UV light).

There’s one purpose to this treatment: It can help make a cracked diamond look attractive.

How Does This Affect a Diamond’s Value?

Fracture filled diamond are much less valuable because the treatment is not permanent. The durability is always in question because the fillers used is not nearly as hard (or durable) as real diamond. Like laser drilling, fracture filling must be disclosed .

How do you Protect Yourself?

There’s only one way; purchase from an ethical jeweller you can trust. Or at the very least, have the diamond sent to a lab for analysis before committing to the purchase. Keep in mind that diamond treatments such as laser drilling are permanent and may help you afford a bigger, prettier stone as compared to its all-natural counterpart; but the treatment must be disclosed every step of the way.

Next time, we’ll explore treatments aimed at modifying a diamond’s color.

Kind regards,

The La Mine d’Or Family

Valentine’s Day Scrooge

I had always been frustrated with my husband’s lack of enthusiasm for Valentine’s Day, meaning a card given halfheartedly was the most I could expect. But since he was a wonderful, loving husband and father and did nice things for me all year, I really couldn’t complain.

However, on Valentine’s Day, as my co-workers received flowers, candy, and romantic cards from their husbands and boyfriends, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself.

Sue just got flowers . . . Becky just got a balloon bouquet . . . oooh, and a candy bouquet for Sara!  I decided to take a quick break and go for a walk to blow off a little steam. It was near lunchtime; maybe I’d treat myself to a special Valentine’s Day lunch.

As I walked out the door of my office building, I was approached by a mime. I had seen him “working the street” the past few weeks and got a kick out of his silent antics. Today he seemed to sense my blue mood and walked right up to me.

The mime drew his face into a sad one to match my expression and proceeded to entertain me with a series of scenarios that depicted sadness turned to happiness. At the end of his routine, he magically whipped out a bouquet of brightly-colored paper flower s and handed them to me with a flourish.

As I reached out to take them, he grasped my hand and opened it, palm flat. He took the flowers, gave them a little shake above my hand, and out dropped a ring. Thinking this was a continuation of his entertainment, I picked it up to examine it, and found it to be a curiously real-looking opal surrounded by tiny diamonds. This guy must be getting some great tips!

A hand reached out and touched my arm, and there stood my husband, Richard, smiling with the pleasure of a small child. “Honey,” he said, “that ring is for you. Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you.”

“But, Richard, you don’t believe in Valentine’s Day!” I squeaked as I put the ring on and held it out in the sun light to admire it.

“No, honey, that’s not really true.  I’ve just been saving up for something really special!”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

The La Mine d’Or Family