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Diamonds are considered to be one the most precious stones on planet due to their unique properties and general scarcity, and thus a diamond engagement ring is generally considered to be the ring of choice when it comes to engagements. However, it is important to understand how diamonds are graded, particularly if you’re on a budget and may be forced to compromise on some of your wishes.

The clarity of a diamond engagement ring refers to whether a diamond has inclusions; the more inclusions a diamond has, the less it is worth. It is virtually impossible to find a completely flawless diamond, although very high quality – and very expensive – diamonds have very few and these will be tiny. Inclusions are imperfections found inside the diamond and include spots and cracks, while blemishes are flaws found on the outside of a diamond’s surface; all of which can have a negative impact on a diamond’s appearance, as well as its price.

However, it is possible to improve the appearance of diamonds with lower clarity with an infused glass-like material which coats and masks these fractures. Such diamonds are known as fracture-filled diamonds. Fracture filling, also called clarity enhancement, improves the appearance of diamonds because the clear, hard material used to fill the fractures has the same quality that diamonds do. The shine of the substance used to fill the cracks or gaps in a diamond makes the fractures more difficult to see with the naked eye. The result of this is the apparent clarity of a diamond is improved one to two grades, though it is worth remembering that the fractures are still there. The process simply conceals the cracks; it does not heal them.

The fracture filling of diamonds, as with anything, has its supporters and opponents. Some still regard it as a controversial gem treatment, mainly because it is not a permanent solution since the diamond will eventually start to show signs of the fracture reappearing. Before you buy a fracture-filled diamond engagement ring, it is worth noting that while the process can improve a stone’s clarity, it will probably reduce the gem’s colour by a half to two full grades. However, the treatment is becoming increasingly sophisticated and difficult to detect, even with a microscope, with the advent of new fillers that are supposed to be more durable and less prone to colour change or bleed out during the process of repairing jewellery.

Luckily, fracture-filled diamonds are usually easily detected by the ‘flash effect’, but a reputable jeweller should inform prospective buyers of any treatments performed on a diamond. Certainly, a clarity-enhanced diamond engagement ring can be a cost-effective alternative to those of you who cannot afford the traditional, high-quality diamond solitaire.

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