What are fracture filled diamonds?
Fracture filled diamonds are stones that have been treated by filling surface-reaching fractures with a colorless foreign substance, with the goal of improving the diamonds face-up appearance.
The colorless foreign substance has a refractive index close to that of natural diamond. This makes it difficult to detect the treatment unless the stone is closely inspected under magnification.
Fracture-filling is not a permanent treatment. For this reason, the Gemological Institute of America does not issue quality grades in reports for fracture-filled stones. A diamond grader cannot be certain of what the stone looked like prior to treatment, and the stone’s appearance may be subject to change over time. Definitive grades on GIA’s typical scales cannot be issued for quality factors such as clarity and color. Instead, GIA uses more general terms such as “Transparent”, and “Light Yellow”. Rather than grading the cut of the stone, they state the shape of the cut. JAGi Lab adheres to GIA grading standards.
Because the treatment is not permanent, it is important to disclose the presence of fracture-filling at the point of sale. The filler material may change over time due to external factors such as light or heat from a jeweler’s torch when completing standard repairs such as sizing, replacing stones, or re-tipping prongs. It is important for a jeweler to know that he is working on a piece with a fracture filled diamond.
When the treatment is disclosed at the point of sale and proper care instructions are given, fracture-filled diamonds make different levels of the jewelry market accessible to more consumers, allowing jewelry lovers to acquire pieces with stones in sizes that may otherwise be prohibitively expensive. At JAGi Lab, we believe that treated/laboratory enhanced or created stones can be a positive rather than a negative, as long as these stones are properly identified and disclosed to consumers at the point of purchase.
Caring for Fracture Filled Diamonds
Multiple substances can be used as filler or surface reaching fractures in diamond. Because there is no way (aside from advanced testing) to be sure of what the filler material is in each individual fracture filled diamond, you cannot be certain how filler material will react to external factors.
The biggest and most likely risk fracture-filled diamonds encounter is being worked on by a jeweler, especially in standard repairs involving heat from a jeweler’s torch. The heat may alter the filler material. Be certain that when you send a piece with a fracture-filled diamond to a jeweler for repair, the jeweler knows they are working with a fracture- filled stone.
Fracture-Filled diamonds need to be cleaned using extreme care. Ultrasonic cleaners may change the filler material in fracture-filled stones.