Tuesday, May 18, 2021

To Be or Not to Be… Enhanced

All That Glitters

Photo by Richard Alan

I may have touched on this subject in the past, but the increase in popularity on C.E. diamonds has piqued the interest of many that are unaware of the product and process in my shop the past couple of months. 

I’m talking about C.E. diamonds or better known as Clarity Enhanced Diamonds. Yes, it’s true some jewelers won’t even consider selling them in their stores. I have been dealing with all kinds of diamonds since the tender age of 15; I have been involved in buying from dealers and cutters all over the world, Israel, Amsterdam, Belgium, domestically from Boston, New York City, L.A. and beyond!

What makes clarity enhanced diamonds stand out is very simple… More bang for your buck! Who would not want a larger and brighter diamond for less money? So what’s the catch, you ask? This is where technology comes into play. When loose uncut diamonds are offered to sell to a very small elite club of bourse buyers. There are lots of very fine goods, fine and not so fine. Or to put it in a nutshell, the good, the bad and the downright ugly. The clarity enhancement technology is not exactly brand new, it has been around for over 30 years or so since 1982 by inventor Zvi Yahuda to be exact.

The Yahuda co. bought nice high color diamonds with slight feathered that other buyers would not buy because the inclusions were noticeable to the naked eye. Zvi discovered a way to laser drill into the feathered inclusion, add a special microscopic material, and virtually make the feather or flaw appear to disappear. Thus, making the ugly duckling so to speak, become an attractive swan! The process is quite amazing, the fact that the diamonds are high white makes the results even more dramatic.

I found out when I first came to Marco Island in 1994 and opened my retail shop a couple of years later there was a market for C.E. diamonds here, the first year I sold over a hundred carats of Yahuda diamonds mostly as pairs of stud earrings and large important rings two, three and five carats each. 

Why? Because back then, C.E. diamond products made sense. 10 years ago, a mediocre pair of two carat total weight earrings could cost you an easy $8,000 and by mediocre, I mean dark gray in-color and full of visible flaws, my Yehuda diamond studs were ten times brighter and flawless to the naked eye and cost 30% less money. It was a no brainer for those even with a half a brain.

There were some who walked away and bought the un-enhanced poor quality “discounted” diamond studs elsewhere and realized later they purchased a pair of “Dogs” they could not return.

Well here it is over 20 years later, the economy is good—here at least—many want to buy some nice things again, and I’m thankful one of those nice things are my diamonds; enhanced or not. I sell an equal amount of both the enhanced and the natural non-enhanced. Want to know something cool? Compare them side by side and I bet you won’t be able to tell the difference except by the price tag. I’m holding off carrying lab-created diamonds, in my opinion, something that has no intrinsic value or resale or trade-in value is in effect worthless to me. The Millenniums seem to be warming up to lab-created and are buying them online and spending millions on them; I guess time will tell on that subject. 

Ethics come into play here. It is imperative that the customer knows what he or she is purchasing is basically a diamond with one or more laser holes drilled into it, the process does improve the appearance, but it does not improve the clarity grade. They are available as certified diamonds and must state that they are in fact “Clarity Enhanced.” The same goes for lab-created—it must be disclosed what exactly you are buying, I have seen the lab-created “diamonds” they are amazing and virtually impossible to tell the difference between them without sophisticated equipment and a gemological background. So, buyer beware!

Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith owner of the Harbor Goldsmith and a purveyor of fine diamonds on Marco for over 25 years he welcomes your questions about all that glitters. Contact him at harborgoldsmith.com or harborgoldsmith@comcast.net.

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