Update (7/2/2008) - Asha's version 6 production process is now patent pending: U.S. Patent Application No. 12/139,931 -- Method for Producing a Highly Refractive Composite Gemstone, and Product
Asha is now being offered in version 6. The difference - for version 6, an 'optical layer' is introduced onto the core and is then sealed in with the traditional high-purity amorphous diamond.
The optical layer is a proprietary compound that has a refractive index of 2.5, greater than natural diamond whose refractive index is 2.42. Thus the optical layer boosts the light handling ability of the version 6 Asha increasing the luster and sparkle.
Both versions use an amorphous diamond infusion process so the outer surface of the finished Asha is identical with all the benefits that the amorphous diamond provides (seals and prevents the normal clouding reaction that CZ has with air and water, keeps the Asha cleaner longer, reduces the 'blue haze' and glassiness apparent with most plain CZ, etc).
The optical layer is created and applied at a high temperature, and as a result it induces some 'feathering' to the CZ core. Version 6 Asha's thus are not internally flawless like version 5 but rather are VS grade on average. The benefit is that each stone has unique defects making it easier to identify 'your Asha' should you give it to a jeweler for mounting and be concerned about not receiving the same stone back.
The main difference visually is that version 6 has a slightly higher luster and a bit more sparkle, roughly a 5-7% improvement over version 5 due to the addition of the optical layer.
All Asha stones being sold today are v6. v5 Ashas are no longer available.
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