What are my options with a chipped or damaged diamond?
We had a customer with a diamond that split right in half. She had no idea that this was even possible. Diamonds are one of the hardest natural materials on earth. As hard as they may be, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be chipped or broken.
Chipping typically occurs on the diamonds girdle (the outer edge of the diamond). A diamond with an extremely thin girdle is even more prone to chipping. A “natural” may appear to be a chip, but in fact is a part of the skin of the rough diamond that is left on the surface of the polished stone and intrudes into the gem. Naturals are common and pose no threat to the diamond’s stability due to the fact that they have been a part of the stone from the beginning and are not caused by trauma or fracture. Another factor that can cause a diamond to chip or actually break are unstable inclusions. An unstable inclusion can create a fracture at any point in time. An inclusion is a part or parts of the diamond that failed to crystallize.
Believe it or not, diamonds can be scorched (called fire scale) by high heat. An inexperienced or poorly trained jeweler can fire scale a diamond when working with platinum jewelry because of the high heat needed for the repair. Fire scaling appears as a semi-opaque frost on the diamond—not very pretty.
Regardless of how the diamond is damaged, in most cases there is hope to save your precious gemstone. Fire damage is remedied by re-polishing the diamond to remove the fire scaled surface. This process does remove a very small amount of carat weight from the diamond. If the diamond is chipped it can be re-cut to remove the chip. The amount of diamond weight loss varies directly with the size and location of the damage. A skilled diamond cutter will give you a close approximate of the finished weight prior to performing the work. Costs to re-polish or re-cut should always be quoted to you in advance but anticipate somewhere in the $300 range for polish and $700 to $1000 for re-cutting. If the diamond’s chip is small you can also consider resetting the diamond to cover the chip. This is always the least expensive and in many cases, an acceptable solution.
References: Learn about Diamonds. How the type of inclusion affects the appearance of a diamond, retrieved August 16, 2012 http://vimeo.com/38100172
A special thanks to Mrs. Clayton for letting me photograph her broken diamond
Posted by on 23rd November, 2015 | Trackbacks Tags: