XL-21 is a proprietary substance developed by a chemical engineer. Oved says the treatment's ability to fully permeate surface-reaching fissures in diamonds depends largely on the nature of the imperfection. The company says the treatment is successful in about 75% of the diamonds used. XL-21 is said to have a similar refractive index to that of diamond, which causes minute fissures and fractures that reach the surface of the diamond to become much less visible. While XL-21 is said to be stable to sunlight and could easily withstand ultrasonic cleaning, the company did say the enhancement is soluble in strong acids. Officials term the project "a work in progress" and say further announcements to the trade would be made at the JCK International Jewelry Show in Las Vegas in June and through an educational Web site which is still in the works.
All treated diamonds are inscribed on the bezel facet with the company's logo. Most other branded diamonds are laser-inscribed along the girdle, but Oved officials say girdle inscriptions can often be hidden in the setting. Oved's diamonds, even mounted, will be identifiable with a 10X loupe. Officials say the inscription serves as an identification and disclosure tool as well as a way to promote the company. Oved Diamond says it's currently negotiating with labs to obtain independent certificates for the enhanced diamonds.
XL-21 branded diamonds will be heavily promoted in consumer bridal publications, such as Modern Bride, starting in June. Oved diamonds enhanced with older substances will be phased out gradually, as the success ratio with XL-21 increases. Oved says prices for the new clarity enhancement service will remain the same. Oved customers with diamonds with old enhancement can have the diamonds re-enhanced with XL-21. "While we will have to do it gradually," Oved says, "the re-enhancement service will be for free."
Oved Diamond Corp., New York City; (212) 302-0047.
- by Robert Weldon, G.G.