Diamonds and Treated Diamonds

Intro  diamonds3_m.jpg

A diamond is the most expensive element in a fine jewelry design and among the most coveted by a wide range of the population.  It symbolizes a very special status  among  two people and it has a remarkable “Diamonds are forever” and “Diamonds are a girls’ best friend” publicity. 

Due to these facts , a genuine need for cheaper substitutes has been growing in recent years. 

 

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Substitutes

The most common and cheapest substitute of the diamond is the infamous Cubic Zirconia. Following is a long list of real stones , of a clear transparent color; most popular is the transparent Sapphire, but in no way, do they come near to the beauty and appearance of a diamond.

Another  replacement for real diamonds are the synthetic diamonds, or in their commercial name: Moissanite. These diamonds have the same exact chemical elements as real diamonds but they are created by man in laboratory conditions.

Moissanites are popular today for a few important reasons:

First and foremost their price is much more reasonable than those of real diamonds and their appearance is beautiful – same effect as that of a real stone of high quality. Due to the fact that the process of developing them has become easier  in recent years , their availability is much more common.

Another important reason for preferring Moissanite upon real diamonds comes from  a human approach – The growing global tendency of protecting nature and human rights of workers in third world countries.

Treated Diamonds

All of the information provided in this article regarding the treated diamonds has been passed on to me by  a long time friend and acclaimed chemist- Eli Sror who has also developed a unique  method for treating inclusions (characteristics enclosed within a gemstone or reaching its surface from the interior) in diamonds.

Eli’s method is the most common today for solving these inclusions.

The method Eli has developed basically gives an optic solution to the inclusions factor in diamonds.

Inclusions are one of the most important factors when it comes to gem valuation.

In diamonds, inclusions affect the clarity of the gem, diminishing its value.images3.jpg

Treated Diamonds

All of the information provided in this article regarding the treated diamonds has been passed on to me by  a long time friend and acclaimed chemist- Eli Sror who has also developed a unique  method for treating inclusions (characteristics enclosed within a gemstone or reaching its surface from the interior) in diamonds.

Eli’s method is the most common today for solving these inclusions.

The method Eli has developed basically gives an optic solution to the inclusions factor in diamonds.

Inclusions are one of the most important factors when it comes to gem valuation.

In diamonds, inclusions affect the clarity of the gem, diminishing its value.

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And now a bit of chemistry….

Eli created a substance  that has the identical characteristics as that of  the diamonds with the exact same refractive index.

The refractive index determines how much light is refracted when entering a material. In Eli’s treated diamonds the refractive index is 2.41 –  the same as in a natural diamond.

Eli was able to insert this substance into the inclusions of polished diamonds, thus improving their clarity and appearance profoundly.

The process

The inserted substance is made out of 3 different chemicals: Lead Monoxide, Lead Bromide and Bismuth subsalicylate.

Eli discovered that the combination of all three chemicals create a substance with the exact refractive index as that of the natural diamond.

All three chemicals are heated to 600  degrees centigrade at a pressure of  140 atmospheres, until they become a crystalline solid.

The crystalline is then pulverized into a powder. This powder is inserted into the inclusions of the diamond, which then goes into a division that is heated in a 10 atmosphere vacuum.

The temperature is raised to 550 degrees and the vacuum pulls out the fumes of the inserted substance.

After an hour time the division is opened, the crucible is taken out and inserted into liquid nitrogen in order to freeze the outcome.  

And voila…, we have a beautiful diamond of great clarity that in its’ natural state was graded F in color and SI1 in quality.

Important facts before buying a treated diamond

A treated diamond costs 50% less than a natural diamond of the same quality.

For example: a natural diamond of 1 carat in a quality of  SI1 and of color F costs $6000. The exact diamond with the same values but after being treated drops to the price of $3000.

This significant decrease in price definitely justifies the complex labour put into the process.

From the above example we learn that diamonds under half a carat are not worth being treated.

How can we recognize a treated diamond?  Treated diamonds have light pink or light blue inclusions under their surface. A UV lamp can easily detect these inclusions.

To the naked eye it is impossible to see the difference between a treated  diamond and natural one, so if you plan on purchasing a diamond of half a carat and higher from someone you do not know personally or fully trust, be sure to request a certificate for the diamond.

The main flaw of treated diamonds is their chemical resistance, therefore there are a few prohibitions when wearing them, as opposed to a natural diamond that is strong and resistant  to everything.

For instance when wearing a treated diamond be sure to avoid certain cleaning products that have bleach in them, swimming pools (that have chlorine in them), sulfur pools such as the Dead Sea and UV lamps in general. Exposure to these chemicals will damage the inclusions and they will become black.

My final thoughts on the matter                                            r7086-131-300x300.jpg

When I design  jewelry with diamond settings I like using natural diamonds. This approach stems from a few reasons:  among them my strong connection to traditional goldsmith techniques, the thought of heirloom jewelry being passed on through generations, and of course for my deep respect to nature and its creations.

Still, it is definitely interesting to hear, learn and be exposed to different approaches  on such a popular subject as diamonds and I am excited to share this knowledge and other alternatives with my clientele!

Click HERE to enjoy a selection of my Timeless Treasures diamond sale

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