What Is Diamond Clarity?
A diamond’s value depends on the 4 Cs i.e. cut, color, carat and clarity. Although most of us are familiar with cut, color and carat weight, clarity remains a confusing subject. Simply said, clarity is what makes a diamond special.
Diamonds are crystals of pure carbon that are formed deep within the earth. They are exposed to high temperatures and pressure that affect its appearance.
All diamonds have birthmarks, flaws or imperfections known as inclusions (imperfections inside the diamond) and blemishes (imperfections on its surface).
Blemishes and inclusions affect a diamond’s appearance, clarity and value. A diamond that has numerous inclusions and blemishes has less brilliance (brightness).
Common types of inclusions and blemishes
Inclusions: Clouds, knots, feathers, cavities, bearding, cleavage, pinpoint, internal graining, laser lines and included crystals or minerals.
Blemishes: Naturals, scratches, pits, chips, nicks, breaks, light and dark spots, polish lines, grain boundaries and breaks.
Evaluating diamond clarity
When a jewelry appraiser evaluates a diamond’s clarity, they determine its number, size, nature, relief and position of inclusions and blemishes. In addition, they assess how these factors affect its overall appearance.
As mentioned earlier, no diamond is perfectly pure. The less imperfections it has, the higher its value.
Diamond clarity scale
Almost all diamonds are graded for clarity using the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale. The GIA takes into account the size, number, color, reflectivity and position of every imperfection seen using a 10-power (10x) loupe or microscope under proper lighting.
In a nutshell, the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale consists of the following categories:
Flawless: Flawless refers to no flaws at all. This includes both inclusion and blemishes.
Internally flawless: Internally flawless means a diamond does not have any internal flaws (inclusions). In But, it contains minor blemishes that can be removed with polishing.
Very, very slightly included (VVS1 and VVS2): Very, very slightly included refers to some internal flaws (inclusions). However, they are difficult to detect.
Very slightly included (VS1 and VS2): These refer to tiny inclusions that can be seen with the help of a magnifier.
Slightly included (SI1 and SI2): Slightly included (SI1 and SI2) refers to internal imperfections that can be identified with a magnifier.
Included (I1, I2 and I3): Included (I1, I2 and I3) refers to blatant flaws. These imperfections are visible to the naked eye. Don’t buy such diamonds.
Keep in mind; many blemishes and inclusions are too tiny to be seen by the naked. This is why you need expert diamond grader to evaluate your diamond. Moreover, clarity is not the only factor that affects the value of a diamond. Cut, color and carat weight are just as important.