Diamonds also get fillers

Yes, you read that right.

Diamonds can also have fillers. They can be filled with silicone to hide inclusions and obscurities.

And why do you fill diamonds with silicone, you might ask? For exactly the same reasons as the rest of us get fillers and Botox; to look better.

For diamonds, the treatment is called “fracture” filing or “laser drilling” and is used to improve the appearance of a diamond. The process involves injecting a glassy substance or silicone into the “fractures” and “cavities” that may be in a diamond, thereby improving the diamond’s clarity.

Diamond with out and with filler
Credit: Diamond Buzz

The treatment is not new, it was invented in 1987 and the same methods have been used to improve gemstones such as e.g. Emeralds, here you usually use an oil instead of silicone. But new, more advanced technologies have made it more effective to enhance the appearance of diamonds.

Fracture filled diamonds have become more and more popular over the last few years as they are a good economical alternative to natural untreated diamonds as they still have the same appearance as a regular diamond.They are also a good alternative for those who may not have the budget to buy a better quality diamond but still want a diamond that looks impressive. The silicone can’t be seen unless you know what to look for, which I’ll get back to later.

What is an enhanced diamond

An enhanced diamond is a natural diamond that originally had inclusions, but where, with modern techniques, the inclusions have been filled to make them less visible.

Diamonds come in many different degrees of clarity, depending on how many inclusions it has.

They are graded based on how visible and how big the inclusions are, and we use this scale:

IF – Internally Flawless
FL- Flawless
VVS1 and VVS2 – Very very slightly included
VS1 and VS2 – Very slightly included
SI1 SI2 – Slightly included
I1, I2, I3 – Included

The price of a diamond depends to a very large extent on how “pure” it is, i.e. how few inclusions it has. After all, we would like to have as “pure” diamonds as possible, but may not want to pay the price, and may therefore choose to compromise.

A compromise can be to go “down” in clarity, or to choose a diamond that has been “fracture-filled”, i.e. has had its inclusions hidden with silicone. By filling the inclusions in a diamond, you can get a better clarity rating, and perhaps go from a clarity “I”, i.e. a diamond with relatively many inclusions, to a VS diamond. But at the same time only pay about half for the diamond.

Diamond with out and with filler

Which diamonds can be treated with Silicone?

Not all included diamonds can be treated with silicone, as it requires some very special inclusions. It must be an inclusion that goes all the way from the surface of the diamond and then it must be clean, i.e. just as if there has been a “crack” in the diamond. We call this kind of inclusions “surface reaching cleavages”.

Laser drilling

Another way to improve a diamond’s appearance is to laser drill into the diamond until you get to an inclusion, which is usually a black carbon inclusion that you don’t want inside the diamond. You use a super small drill and carefully drill into the enclosure. There you can then suck out the inclusion, thereby making it almost invisible.

How to tell if a diamond has been enhanced?

You have to have seen quite a few diamonds to be able to see if they have been improved. “Fracture filling” can be seen under a microscope, and you will see a rainbow effect in the diamond when you tilt it back and forth and make the light shine into the silicone. Sometimes the silicone can also look completely neon colored, and if you don’t have a lot of experience looking at diamonds, you might mistakenly think that these are the normal spectral colors that a diamond reflects.

If the diamond is laser drilled, then you will see perfectly straight drill holes in the diamond that stop where the inclusion was originally.

Laser drilled diamond
Laser drilled diamond

What is the price?

The price of the enhanced diamonds is usually 80% below the price of an untreated diamond.

Do the improvements last?

Not always. If you buy a silicone-filled diamond, you must be aware that you must not clean the diamond in an ultra-sonic cleaner as you would normally do, and it must also be set very carefully, as the burner that the diamond setter uses to soften the gold may dissolve the filling.

Is there a guarantee?

Yes, it is, if you buy diamonds through recognized diamond dealers, they will give you a guarantee that you can have the diamond filled again, and that guarantee is lifelong.

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