4C’s Diamond Clarity
What is Diamond Clarity?
Diamond Clarity relates to absence of faults, known as inclusions and blemishes in the diamond. To get an idea of how diamond clarity is calculated it is necessary to understand how diam9nds are formed. Diamonds are formed under huge heat and pressure with the earth’s surface and as it is a natural process there are nearly always flaws within the diamond. The internal characteristics are known as inclusions and externally as blemishes.
Does Diamond Clarity effect the Value of the Diamond?
There is a defined scale of grading of the clarity of diamond. There are six categories of clarity and 11 grades contained within those categories. The fewer the inclusions the higher the value of the diamond. The GIA scale is as follows
Flawless – No inclusions or blemishes – very, very rare and consequently extremely expensive.
Internally Flawless – No inclusions visible under magnifications (10x). Also very rare and expensive.
Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 VVS2) – Very Very slight inclusions that are only visible under 10x magnification and not visible to the naked eye. Diamonds rated as VVS1 and VVS2 clarity could have minute inclusions that not visible to the naked eye and are generally only visible to an experienced diamond professional at 10x magnification.
Very Slightly Included (VS1 VS2) – Very slight inclusions are visible under magnification. These inclusions could have minute inclusions that are extremely difficult for even an experienced diamond professional to see under 10x magnification. These tiny pinpoint inclusions are completely invisible to the naked eye and even under powerful magnification take a trained eye to find. VS2 clarity inclusions always easy to find at 10x magnification.
Slightly Included (SI1) – Inclusion that are generally noticeable under magnification but not to the naked eye. Often SI1 clarity diamonds will be graded based on a few smaller inclusions which don’t detract from the overall appearance of the diamond to the naked eye. For this reason SI1 is a good choice for clarity as it represents good value for money with no noticeable reduction in appearance.
Slightly Included (SI2 0 SI3) – SI2 and SI3 clarity diamonds, the inclusions can mostly be seen with the naked eye, and always when viewed under magnification. In a few cases with diamond shapes like round and princess, occasionally SI2 diamonds can be clean to the eye if the inclusions are not on the diamond table, but these instances are rare. These grades can be great values as the prices for SI2 and SI3 diamonds are significantly lower then higher graded diamonds.
Included (I1, I2 and I3) – These inclusions are visible to the naked eye and often detract from the beauty of the diamond especially in I2 and I3 graded diamonds as they can affect the brilliance and transparency of the stone. While they are cheaper than other clarity ratings the nature of the inclusions can sufficiently reduce the appeal of the diamond due to lack of sparkle. The buyer must then judge whether the price is value for money compared to the look of the diamond.
Are All Inclusions the Same?
When determining diamond clarity there are a number of separate types of inclusions to consider. Below are four of the most common types with a brief explanation of the characteristics.
Feather: A feather is a small crack contained within the diamond and its appearance depends on the angle at which it is viewed. It can capture light whereupon it will create a white appearance or it can appear transparent so there is no visual impact of the inclusion.
Cloud: A cloud by its name relates to not one but a large number of extremely tiny pinpoints clustered together that will impact the brilliance of the diamond and make it appear dull or hazy in the area of the cloud. A large area of clouds will often be referred to as a cloudy diamond and will seriously affect the value.
Graining: Graining occurs due to the growth of irregular crystals within the diamond. This appears in the diamond as white, coloured or reflective lines that result in a very hazy appearance. Depending on the level of graining the value of the diamond can be seriously affected.
Cavity: Cavities occur due to the minerals included within the body of the diamond. They can be colourless as well as coloured and consequently they are far more obvious in appearance and visible to the naked eye.
The types of inclusions possible within a diamond are numerous and the above selection are the most common examples. When choosing a diamond it is always best to speak with an expert who if able to understand the impact of inclusions on the appearance and value of a diamond.
How Important is Diamond Clarity?
Diamond Clarity is only one aspect of the decision to purchase a diamond. It is one of the 4C’s and can have a major impact on the appearance of the diamond. For most diamond purchasers budget is the most important consideration when considering which diamond to purchase. It is always a balancing act to purchase the right sized stone with the best cut, colour, carat weight, and clarity your budget will allow. Depending on the diamond’s inclusions a VS2 or SI1 stone will look fabulous and are often the best value for money options when considering the clarity of the diamond. If money is not a consideration then Flawless and Internally Flawless diamonds are expensive but will hold their value due to their rarity. If in doubt refer to a diamond expert you can trust.
If you need expert advice on any aspect of diamonds and how the various 4C’s impact on cost and value please contact us on email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us +61 8 9468 8116 at Anastasia’s of Broome.
Jill Hansen runs Anastasia’s Of Broome and is a highly recognised expert is the field of South Sea Pearls having trained in seeding pearls in Cook Islands by Japanese Pearl Technicians. She established a wholesale pearl business selling pearls all over the world. Jill pioneered the combination of pearls and diamonds to create Lust™ Pearls, a unique fusion of these beautiful gemstones. She is an accredited diamond expert and is happy to use and impart her knowledge to help customers make informed decisions.