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Fracture-filled Diamonds:
A Word of Caution

By  Judith Anderson  GG, CGA

In my  previous column  I described the practice of fracture-filling diamonds.  This process, invented in 1982, attempts to improve the apparent clarity of a damaged diamond by filling fractures and fissures with an invisible glass-like paste.  Because fractured-filled diamonds are becoming increasingly prevalent in the market place,  it is important for the jewelry consumer to keep several facts in mind when shopping for a diamond.
1.  At wholesale,  fracture-filled diamonds sell for approximately 50% of the cost of a similar untreated diamond.  Unfortunately,  there are disreputable retailers who have misrepresented and sold fractured-filled stones as more valuable untreated diamonds.  At other times,  honest but uninformed jewelers have unknowingly sold treated diamonds supplied by their wholesalers.  In either case the consumer has been sold a gemstone of lesser value and quality at an inflated cost.  Prior to purchasing any costly gemstone,  it is important to have all stones independently examined and appraised.

2.  Diamonds are forever.  Unfortunately,  the current fracture filling processes may be less permanent.  Tests by independent gemological laboratories have shown that the fracture-filling material may breakdown during normal jewelry repairs and cleaning.  Other tests have shown that some fracture fillers will discolor and become cloudy after several years of exposure to sunlight.  When a treated diamond is purchased,  it is critical that any limitations or special care be fully disclosed by the seller.  In addition,  the manufacturer should fully guarantee,  in writing,  the fracture-filling process.

The best protection for the jewelry consumer is education and the advice of an independent expert.  If you intend to buy expensive gemstones or jewelry,  our Basic Gemology and Consumer Awareness Series™   is a program designed to teach you how to evaluate gemstones,  jewelry,  craftsmanship and most importantly, the seller.  We offer these workshops several times throughout the year.  For more information about these workshops and the dates for each session, please visit our workshop summary.

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