Diamonds are one of the most prized gemstones on earth. They are the most sought-after stones in the world and represent everything pure and untarnished. They are used in a range of industries, from jewelry to audio equipment and beauty products.
However, you might walk into a jewelry store and think that buying a diamond would be easy. It is simply not the case. There is more to diamonds than just meeting the eyes. For example, there is a term called ‘diamond clarity’ that is used extensively in the industry. However, one not closely connected to the diamond industry may not be familiar with this term.
This article aims to tell the reader all about diamond clarity.
What Is Diamond Clarity?
The clarity of diamonds is a very useful tool to determine the quality of diamonds. It takes into account the internal characteristics of a diamond as well as the surface defects.
According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), to better understand diamond clarity, you must learn how diamonds are formed. Natural diamonds result from carbon subjected to intense heat and pressure deep in the earth’s crust. Internal characteristics, known as ‘inclusions,’ and external characteristics, known as ‘blemishes,’ are formed through this process.
Gemologist Debbie Azar notes that diamonds can have many types of inclusions. They range from nearly-invisible specs, wispy feather-like fractures, or larger grey or black formations.
Diamond clarity is evaluated by determining the number, size, relief, and position of inclusions, as well as how these affect a diamond’s appearance. When selecting a diamond, keep in mind that none of them is perfect. But the closer to perfection you can get, the clearer your gem will be and, therefore, more valuable.
Importance Of Diamond Clarity
Diamond clarity determines the purity and, thus, the value of a diamond. When it comes to the four Cs, clarity is the most important. The blemishes and inclusions are not visible to the naked eye. This is where diamond experts and charts come into play.
Gemologists and experts use microscopes of 10x magnification to look for inclusions in diamonds. According to the clarity chart, there are five kinds of clarities, and these gradations are done by experts. No diamonds can have the same level of exact clarity.
Different Grades In Diamond Clarity
I1, I2 and I3
The ‘I’ stands for ‘Included,’ and these three gradations represent diamonds that have a sufficient amount of inclusions in them. They are usually diamonds with low transparency as foreign particles or gases are trapped inside, and they lack brilliance. These are the least valued gradation.
The inclusions are usually visible with the use of a 10x microscope and sometimes even with the naked eye. They are the least sought-after in the diamond industry and fetch the lowest prices. They are unsuitable for use in fine jewelry and break easily. If you still think of buying diamonds with inclusions, it is recommended that you stick to I1 diamonds, as these are the finest among the three.
SI1, SI2, SI3
These stand for the three different categories of slightly included. They contain clear inclusions, and they are just above the I1, I2, and I3 diamonds in value. SI1 is the most valued among all the three. These diamonds are more appealing to customers than the I1, I2, and I3 diamonds. They often contain inclusions such as crystals, knots, cavities, feathers, and clouds, and they are visible to the naked eye even without a 10x microscope.
These are the diamonds that are very slightly included. They are finer than the slightly included diamonds(SI) and are more valued than them. They contain inclusions such as clouds, knots, and feathers, and even with a 10x microscope, it is difficult to locate the inclusions.
You must have heard the term before and wondered, ‘what are VVS diamonds?’ Well, VVS diamonds stand for very very slightly included diamonds. They are quite fine diamonds.
Gemologist Debbie Azar notes that VVS diamonds have inclusions that are almost impossible to detect even under a 10x microscope, and thus they fetch quite high values.
The VVS2 diamonds are the most common and find a lot of uses in the industry as well. It is often suggested that VVS1 diamonds are overpriced, but it is agreed upon by all that they are one of the finest gradations in diamonds.
IF And FL
These diamonds are considered the most perfect and internally flawless, meaning they have few or no flaws. Less than half a percent of all diamonds fall in this category, making them extremely valuable.
Which Clarity Of Diamond Should You Buy?
A VS2 or SI1 clarity grade is the best value for most people. With an eye-clean diamond in either of these categories, you’ll have a beautiful stone without paying as much money as one that has better grades. There are various grades of diamond clarity depending on the carat size and diamond shape, but no matter which one you choose to look for in a stone, make sure you examine it closely.