Natural Diamonds and Clarity Enhanced Diamonds: What’s the Difference?

In This Guide

The beauty of a clarity enhanced diamond does not end with just one

Making a purchase of loose diamonds can be a long-term investment. It is always best to select diamonds that retain their value for a long time. Are you thinking about purchasing a clarity enhanced diamond? Take note of the treated diamond’s value and quality. Also, consider the things that contribute to these traits. Doing so will make sure you made the right decision.

Knowing the difference between a treated diamond and a natural diamond can help strengthen your decision.

Untreated, Natural, Mined Diamonds

In general, diamonds are the strongest materials known to man. These stones are abrasive naturally and after their processing. Natural diamonds occur at high temperature and high-pressure conditions. These occur about 85 to 125 miles inside the Earth’s mantle.  A diamond takes shape underneath the Earth’s surface after 1-3 Billion years. Once this precious stone finally forms, it gradually makes its way to the surface through lava flows. Because of this harsh process, natural diamonds develop flaws or inclusions. These imperfections give each stone a distinct “fingerprint” or “birthmark”.

Natural diamonds are usually more favored than enhanced diamonds because they are unique and rare. Keep in mind that there are no identical diamonds. Each is one-of-a-kind because of its clarity, hue, or both.

A blemished natural diamond that became a clarity enhanced diamond

Treated or Enhanced Diamonds

When you hear or read the word “enhanced”, there is a certain positivity about it. A clarity enhanced diamond is a gem that has been altered and treated from its original condition to augment the way it looks. Before you purchase this type of diamond, you should know how it was treated. Sometimes, these treatments cause cracks and discolorations in the gem.

Unlike high-quality diamonds, enhanced diamonds are mined diamonds that went through specific processes. As a result, these gems become free of flaws. Here are two of the most common treatments:

Fracture Filling

The treatment that adds a resin material into the diamond to close up the tiny cracks. The repairs from this process are extremely difficult to spot from the flaws. Its refraction index and optical illusion are similar to those of a natural, unaltered diamond. Unfortunately, fracture filling is not a permanent solution. Sunlight, heated repairs, and future cleanings can darken or damage the filling. As time passes, the diamond improves with this process de-valuates.

Laser Drilling

This process eliminates the tiny inclusions inside the diamond. Laser drilling usually produces lines that are like minute trails, seen only underside magnification. The laser treatment fades chemicals inside the tiny tunnels to lighten their color. This enhancement is more lasting than fracture filling. Up to now, it is still argued if laser drilling deteriorates the diamond’s integrity and value.

HPHT (High-Pressure High-Temperature)

General Electric established this treatment to change a diamond’s color permanently. HPHT was initially used to transform yellowish diamonds into fancy ones. It was then utilized to change brownish or yellowish diamonds into colorless ones. As colorless diamonds, they become more expensive. During the HPHT process, a diamond enters a pressure chamber. The said chamber squeezes the stone at high temperatures and pressures. The Federal Trade Commission recommends that HPHT treatments should be disclosed to the buyer because it’s an unnatural treatment. Even so, some people don’t. They feel that this is a standard technique that merely finishes Nature’s process on the stone. When HPHT is detected in a diamond, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) indicates it in their reports. They declare the stone “artificially irradiated” or “HPHT Annealed”. The Institute also insists that the diamonds should be laser-inscribed with the same label. “GE POL” is the mark used on the treated diamond.

White and colored treated diamonds set in white gold rings
White and colored treated diamonds set in white gold rings

Recognizing Treated or Enhanced Diamonds

Various techniques are used to make out the clarity enhancements performed on diamonds:

  • Pinpoint the tunnels or minute, white lines that result from laser drilling. These move away from a loose diamond’s natural pattern.
  • Keep in mind that viewing a fracture-filled diamond from the top can lead you to believe that the stone is flawless. When examined from various angles or the sides, there will be flashes of color that interrupt the natural patterns in the gem. These diamonds can also have trapped bubbles in them when viewed from the sides. It is vital to examine the loose diamond separately with a jeweler’s loupe first before having it set into a ring.

Clarity Enhanced Diamonds: Pros and Cons

Just like any jewelry purchase, buying a clarity enhanced diamond has pros and cons:


  • There is usually a lifetime guarantee from vendors. Many specialty jewelry merchants offer a lifetime guarantee. They propose to treat the diamond again (free of charge) if something happens to the first treatment to the stone.
  • Less expensive than untreated diamonds. It is undeniable that perfect or untreated diamonds are extremely expensive. Clarity enhanced diamonds are the most practical choice for those on a budget. You can get a treated diamond fifty percent less than a perfectly natural one.


  • No AGS, IGI, or GIA reports. Regrettably, the AGS (American Gem Society), IGI (International Gemological Institute), and the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) do not release grading reports for clarity enhanced diamonds. This only means that you have to waive safety.
  • The treatment might be seen even without magnification. A trained eye can detect the areas of the diamond that have been treated. Seasoned jewelers can detect the treated areas along the surface of the stone.
  • Not that durable. Diamonds are indeed resistant to any chemical or high-temperature exposures. Clarity enhanced diamonds are not that tough. Acids and elevated temperatures can change and, worst of all, chip or break the treated stone.

Remember that clarity enhanced diamonds are not lab-created diamonds (Gemesis) or imitation diamonds (moissanite). They are not fake diamonds. Clarity enhanced diamonds are natural diamonds that have undergone treatments to eliminate certain imperfections.

Enhanced colored diamond white gold ring
Enhanced colored diamond white gold ring

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