How to Clean Clarity Enhanced Diamonds

First of all, what does it mean when a diamond has been "clarity enhanced?"

Before discussing how to clean a clarity enhanced diamond, it is first important to understand exactly what an enhanced diamond is and how the enhancement can be affected. 

Clarity enhanced diamonds have been altered

It is important to understand that the stone has been subjected to laser drilling, so the diamond has microscopic holes in it. Any time you have a hole in a stone, you have a weak point. Because of this, it is essential to remember that these diamonds will be more susceptible to fracture under extreme circumstances. After all, a diamond is stone, and stone is subject to rapid expansion and contraction under heat and cold. 

Two types of clarity enhanced diamonds

Within clarity enhanced diamonds, there are two sub-categories of stones, and these categories will affect how you clean that clarity enhanced diamond. The first category is laser drilled diamonds. In this instance, the stone has had a tiny hole drilled into it by a laser. That laser has then been used to "burn away" the imperfection deep inside the stone. When examining laser drilled clarity enhanced diamonds under magnification, the laser drill holes will be readily visible within the stone. 

Laser drilled hole in clarity enhanced diamond

The second category of clarity enhanced diamond is referred to as a fracture-filled clarity enhanced diamond. This is where a hole is drilled into the stone by a laser and the inclusion is burned out of the stone. Once this has been done, a glass-like substance is heated to a liquid form and injected into the cavity that has been created within the stone. Once this liquid has cooled and hardened it visually blends with the stone to make the drilled out imperfection nearly invisible. 

All of this information is to say that it is important to understand how a diamond is clarity enhanced so that you will understand how to clean your jewelry that has clarity enhanced diamonds.

before and after picture of a clarity enhanced diamond

 

What happens to your diamond engagement ring or diamond jewelry when you take it to a jeweler to be cleaned?

The steamer is safe for cleaning a clarity enhanced diamond

Jewelers have several ways that they clean jewelry and diamonds. The standard method for getting a piece of jewelry clean is high-pressure steam. This steam is pressurized to about 80psi and the jewelry is held tight in rubber tipped tongs directly under the nozzle. The pressure from the steamer is so forceful that it can blow small stones right out of a ring or piece of jewelry if they happen to be slightly loose. 

The reality is, the better the jeweler you go to, the less chance you have of someone unfamiliar with the power of a steam cleaner trying to clean your jewelry and that means the less chance you have of your jewelry or engagement ring being damaged or stones lost during the cleaning. 

When it comes to cleaning a clarity enhanced diamond, the steamer will not damage them. The temperature of the steam cannot reach high enough to cause damage to either a drilled or filled diamond, so this should cause you no concern. 

Cleaning your clarity enhanced diamond with high pressure steam is safe!

 

Hot Soapy Water and Ultra-sonic Vibration is safe for clarity enhanced diamonds, but hard on your jewelry

Another way the jewelers clean diamonds and jewelry is by placing the diamonds and jewelry in boiling water and subjecting them to ultrasonic vibrations. In fact, these cleaners are something that you can purchase for yourself to have at home for cleaning stones and jewelry. They are notorious for loosening small diamonds and stones in rings and jewelry when overused, and, as a jeweler, I never recommend these cleaners to my customers.

Ultrasonic cleaners are useful for one main purpose when it comes to jewelry. Knocking the heavy dirt off your jewelry. If you have a piece of jewelry that is covered with years of dirt, then an ultrasonic cleaner will do the trick to loosen all the trapped dirt from years of wear. Jewelers will use ultrasonic cleaners to remove excess polish rouge from rings after polishing, since this fine grit can become lodged in tight spaces under the stones. The vibrations from the ultrasonic waves will loosen the grit that is stuck to the diamonds so that it can be scrubbed and steamed off the ring or jewelry. 

In general, when it comes to how to clean clarity enhanced diamonds, there is nothing dangerous about some boiling water and vibration. This will certainly not reverse the clarity enhancement of your stone, but as a general rule, I recommend against using this cleaning method on your stone unless absolutely necessary.

The exception to this is when it is necessary to clean heavy amounts of dirt that have accumulated under the diamonds or stones in a ring or piece of jewelry. Since the spaces under diamonds that have been set in a piece of jewelry are too small for any cleaning tool to reach, this is the situation when ultrasonic cleaning has great value. The pulses emitted by the ultra-sonic machine will help to loosen the dirt trapped under the stones and allow the steamer cleaner to be more effective at removing the dirt from the surface of the diamonds.

 It is better not to clean your clarity enhanced diamonds in the ultrasonic cleaner.

 

Boiling lye could pose a problem for your clarity enhanced diamond

The secret weapon when cleaning jewelry, which can be found bubbling away on the back of every jewelry bench, is the pot of boiling lye. This acid is highly effective at eating away dirt, dead skin cells, and other grime that has attached itself too diamonds and jewelry. Boiling lye is often used to clean diamonds and stones that have been taken out of a setting when dirt has collected and stuck to the stone over the years of wear. It is a highly effective and rapid method of cleaning jewelry and diamonds. 

However, when it comes to how to clean a clarity enhanced diamond, boiling lye is a no-no! If you ask, most jewelers will tell you that this cleaning method is totally safe, and they may not necessarily be wrong, however, this all depends on the substance that has been used to fill your diamond. Since lye is a caustic substance there are certain materials that will readily breakdown in the lye. As a matter of caution, you should never permit your clarity enhanced diamond to be boiled in lye. 

 

Fire will destroy your clarity enhanced diamond

When all else fails to remove dirt, nothing cleans a piece of jewelry quite like a blast of flame from an oxygen torch. With a melting point of 1,948 degrees, gold jewelry is remarkable sturdy. Even diamonds don't burn until over 1,500 degrees. Well before reaching that temp, virtually all of the dust, dirt, and other grime that is stuck to diamonds, rings or pieces of jewelry will turn to ash, making fire a remarkably effective way to clean off stubborn gunk from jewelry. 

When it comes to cleaning a clarity enhanced diamond, however, fire is NEVER an option. Cleaning with extreme heat can put stress on the drill holes in a clarity enhanced diamond. Each stone has a certain amount of stress that exists within it. Diamonds are no exception. It is a misconception that diamonds are the hardest stones. Indeed they are a very hard stone, but there is a significant difference between the hardness and toughness of a stone. 

Harness is is determined by scratching two substances, in this case a stones, against each other. The hard substance will scratch the softer substance. Diamonds are the hardest mineral. Toughness has to do with a substance's ability to withstand shock or impact. Bulletproof glass is extremely tough, able to withstand incredible impact. Diamonds, on the other hand, score relatively average when it comes to toughness and can crack, chip, or break fairly easily when hit with force or put under stress. 

When you combine the natural stress in a diamond with the fact that diamonds do not have a very high toughness level, then add in the fact that clarity enhanced diamonds have microscopic holes that have been drilled into them, you begin to see how applying high heat to clean a clarity enhanced diamond could cause the stone to fracture at a weak point. 

In addition, the glass-like substance that is used to fill the drill holes will melt at a much lower temperature than will be applied through the use of an oxygen torch. This will mean that this substance will liquify and run out of the stone under heat, exposing the inclusions and essentially reversing the diamond's clarity enhancement process. 

As a result, fire should NEVER EVER be used to clean clarity enhanced diamonds. 

A jewelers torch will most certainly damage your clarity enhanced diamond 

Okay, so how DO you clean clarity enhanced diamonds?

In reality, how to clean a clarity enhanced diamond is remarkably simple. You have everything that you need right in your own home. You will need...

  • A small bowl
  • Hot water
  • A strong degreasing dish detergent (Palmolive works great!)
  • A soft bristle toothbrush

Fill a bowl with hot water and a generous amount of dish detergent. You should soak your clarity enhanced diamond jewelry for several hours in the warm soapy water, filling the bowl with hot water and soap whenever the water reaches room temperature. You can use boiling water, that will not damage your jewelry. There is no need to worry about "How hot is too hot?" when it comes to boiling water.

After the diamond, ring, or jewelry has soaked for several hours, take a soft bristle toothbrush, and gently scrub the jewelry and diamond from every angle. When you are finished, rinse the jewelry well with hot water. You may need to repeat this process several times over. Eventually, you will get your clarity enhanced diamond clean! The key to keep jewelry clean is to clean it regularly. The more you clean it, the less soaking and scrubbing you will need to do each time you go to clean your diamonds and jewelry. 

Use a soft tooth brush and warm soapy water to clean your clarity enhanced diamond

Final Thoughts on How to Clean Clarity Enhanced Diamonds

The most important thing you can do to protect your clarity enhance diamond is to ensure that any time you bring it to a jeweler, you inform them that the diamond is clarity enhanced. This will ensure that they are informed on how to clean your diamond and will not use any cleaning or repair methods that could potentially harm your clarity enhanced diamond. 

The best thing you can do is use the simple cleaning method we have detailed above to clean your clarity enhanced diamond. It is always best to only put your diamonds and jewelry in the hands of a jeweler when absolutely necessary, and when it comes to cleaning your clarity enhanced diamond, remember, you have everything you need to do a great job cleaning them your own kitchen. 

 

Don't let this information discourage you from considering this kind of diamond

Clarity enhanced diamonds are really fantastic options for jewelry and engagement rings. They are affordable, beautiful, and durable. A properly enhanced diamond will last a lifetime if you know how to care for it and clean it properly. 

If you have questions about these diamonds, a great resource to learn about them from can be found here. If you would like help finding a great clarity enhanced diamond or enhanced diamond jewelry, one or our diamond experts would be happy to help you.

 

 

Timothy Andre is the founder and owner of Emma Parker and Company, a unique private online jeweler that specializes in made-to-order and custom-made fine jewelry pieces. With nearly 20 years of experience making engagement rings, wedding bands, and find jewelry, Tim has overseen the design and manufacture of engagement rings for customers all around the world. Emma Parker and Company was founded to bring back the motto of service and experience during the engagement ring, diamond and jewelry buying experience. To foster this environment, Tim works with each of his clients individually, treating them as people, not as numbers or a sale to be made, but as individuals with a special and unique love story. Each engagement ring, wedding band, or piece of jewelry created by Emma Parker and Company has a purpose and a love story behind it, and Tim considers it an honor to play a small part in the lives of his customers. 

Tim Andre is the founder of Emma Parker and Company an online private jeweler