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Diamond Clarity

Discover what to consider in diamond clarity with GOODSTONE's guide. Learn how clarity affects a diamond's appearance and find the perfect balance of beauty and value for your ideal diamond.

Considerations

What's diamond Clarity?

Diamond clarity is an essential factor in evaluating the quality of a diamond, focusing on its purity and the presence of blemishes and inclusions. These are the natural characteristics that may be found inside or on the surface of a diamond, formed during its creation. Gemologists use a 10x magnification process and a specific grading system to determine the clarity grade, assigning numerical values based on the quantity and visibility of these imperfections.

A diamond's clarity grade improves with fewer visible flaws and imperfections. It's important to note that absolute purity is rare in diamonds; however, those that approach this ideal are clearer and more highly prized. While inclusions and blemishes can impact a diamond's value, many of these characteristics are not discernible without magnification.

Understanding Clarity Grades and the Diamond Clarity Chart

The process of determining clarity grades in diamonds involves a detailed assessment of each stone's unique microscopic features. This includes examining the quantity, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how they collectively influence the diamond's overall appearance. Experienced gemologists use tools like a 10x magnification loupe to meticulously identify and categorize these clarity features based on their attributes.

Each diamond's clarity characteristics are uniquely illustrated on a "diamond plot," essentially a map that varies for each stone. Renowned gemological laboratories, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grade diamonds on a scale that ranges from "Included" to "Flawless." This grading scale is pivotal in determining and understanding the purity and quality of each diamond.

Understanding Different Diamond Clarity Grades

  • FL/IF (Flawless/Internally Flawless): Diamonds with a flawless clarity rating typically show no inclusions; anything visible is likely external, like dust. An internal inclusion would lower the grade, potentially to VVS2.
  • VVS1 (Very Very Slightly Included 1): Inclusions in VVS1 diamonds are so minute they are invisible without a powerful microscope. Even enlarged standard images can't capture these inclusions due to their small size.
  • VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included 2): To spot a VVS2 inclusion, a gemological microscope is necessary. These are often several tiny VVS1-sized inclusions combined, too small to detect with a standard jeweler's loupe.
  • VS1 (Very Slightly Included 1): A VS1 inclusion doesn't require a microscope for identification but is still minuscule and invisible to the naked eye.
  • VS2 (Very Slightly Included 2): Inclusions in VS2 clarity diamonds are almost always invisible to the naked eye, maintaining a clean appearance.
  • SI1 (Slightly Included 1): SI1 clarity diamonds are just below VS2 in terms of clarity. Often, SI1 clarity is determined by multiple small inclusions rather than one focused flaw, appearing nearly flawless to the naked eye.
  • SI2 (Slightly Included 2): In step cuts like emerald and asscher, SI2 inclusions are typically visible to the naked eye. In other cuts, SI2 inclusions are often noticeable, especially if they are centrally located and dark.

Common Types of Diamond Inclusions

  • Cloud: A cloud in a diamond is a cluster of tiny pinpoints that can dull its brilliance. Large clouds lead to a "cloudy" appearance.
  • Graining: Caused by uneven crystal growth, graining presents as internal lines (white, colored, or reflective) and can give a diamond a hazy appearance.
  • Cavity: A cavity's visibility depends on the types of minerals within it. Colored crystal inclusions in a cavity make it more noticeable, possibly visible to the naked eye.
  • Feather: A small internal fracture, a feather might appear translucent or white depending on how it catches the light and the viewing angle.

Each inclusion type affects the overall clarity and appearance of a diamond, contributing to its unique beauty and character.

Evaluating the Importance of Clarity in Diamonds

Diamond clarity plays a pivotal role in determining how a diamond reflects light and sparkles. A diamond with minimal inclusions will typically showcase more brilliance. It's important to remember that absolute purity is rare in diamonds, but those that approach near-purity are notably clearer and more radiant.

Additionally, clarity's impact varies with other diamond characteristics like shape and size. For instance, in step-cut diamonds such as emerald and asscher cuts, the unique structure makes clarity more prominent, thereby highlighting any present inclusions. Similarly, in larger diamonds, inclusions become more visible due to the size of the facets, making clarity a crucial factor in the selection process.

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Diamond Clarity FAQs

Diamond clarity is influenced by the presence of inclusions, which are natural microscopic features found within or on the surface of the diamond. The assessment of these inclusions considers their location in the diamond, their size, number, color, and the specific type of inclusion they represent.

Inclusions in diamonds can either be external on the surface or internal within the stone. Common types of these inclusions include crystals, feathers, and cloud-like formations.

Inclusions are formed within diamonds as they're made under the Earth's crust.

At GOODSTONE, we assess diamond clarity using a detailed scale that begins at Included, progresses through Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2), Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2), and Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2), and culminates in Internally Flawless and Flawless grades. It's essential to understand that each clarity category represents a range of characteristics. As such, two diamonds classified under the same clarity grade can still display distinct inclusions in terms of type, size, and location, underscoring the unique nature of each stone.