Welcome to our exploration of the fascinating world of diamonds, both natural and lab-grown. Though they have different origins, they share the same properties and are evaluated by the same standards - the Four Cs: Carat, Cut, Colour, and Clarity. In this guide, we'll delve into the significance of diamond clarity.
The Gemological Institute of America, or GIA, developed a universal system for grading diamonds. One of the key aspects they look at is clarity. The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale is a measure of the presence of internal or external flaws, known respectively as inclusions and blemishes. These imperfections can range from tiny spots or lines that are only visible under magnification, to larger issues that can be seen with the naked eye.
The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has six categories, some of which are further divided, for a total of 11 specific grades. Here they are, from best to least:
|Short name||Long name||Explanation|
|FL||Flawless||These diamonds show no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification.||ALWAYS EYE CLEAN|
|IF||Internally Flawless||Diamonds in this category have no inclusions and only blemishes are visible under 10x magnification.||ALWAYS EYE CLEAN|
|VVS1||Very, Very Slightly Included||These diamonds have minute inclusions that are extremely difficult to see under 10x magnification.||ALWAYS EYE CLEAN|
|VVS2||Very, Very Slightly Included||These diamonds have minute inclusions that are very difficult to see under 10x magnification.||ALWAYS EYE CLEAN|
|VS1||Very Slightly Included||Diamonds in these grades have minor inclusions that are difficult to see under 10x magnification.||ALWAYS EYE CLEAN|
|VS2||Very Slightly Included||Diamonds in these grades have minor inclusions that are somewhat easy to see under 10x magnification.||EXPECTED EYE CLEAN|
|SI1||Slightly Included||These diamonds have noticeable inclusions that are easy to see under 10x magnification.||SOMETIMES EYE CLEAN|
|SI2||Slightly Included||These diamonds have noticeable inclusions that are very easy to see under 10x magnification.||VERY RARELY EYE CLEAN|
|I1||Included||Diamonds in these categories have inclusions and/or blemishes visible to the naked eye, but still has some clear areas.||NOT EYE CLEAN, EXTREME RARE EXCEPTIONS AND TRANSPARACY MAY BE COMPROMISED|
|I2||Included||These diamonds have more and/or larger inclusions visible to the naked eye.||NOT EYE CLEAN, EXTREME RARE EXCEPTIONS AND TRANSPARACY MAY BE COMPROMISED|
|I3||Included||Diamonds in this grade have significant inclusions and blemishes visible to the naked eye, affecting transparency.||NOT EYE CLEAN, EXTREME RARE EXCEPTIONS AND TRANSPARACY MAY BE COMPROMISED|
We also made a chart to give an idea of how the diamond look per category
When we talk about diamond clarity, we're referring to the absence of imperfections, which are classified into two types: inclusions and blemishes. Inclusions are internal flaws found within the diamond. They could be tiny crystals, clouds, or feathers (small cracks that look like a feather). Blemishes, on the other hand, are external flaws found on the surface of the diamond. These could include scratches, chips, or pits. Both inclusions and blemishes can affect a diamond's clarity grade. However, inclusions usually have a greater impact because they're inside the diamond and can interfere more with light passing through the gem. It's important to remember that many inclusions and blemishes are microscopic and can only be seen under magnification. So, while they play a role in a diamond's clarity grade, they often don't affect a diamond's beauty to the naked eye.
The grading of diamond clarity is a meticulous process carried out by trained gemologists using specific tools and techniques. The diamond is first cleaned thoroughly to ensure that any surface grime or oil does not affect the grading process. Then, it's examined under 10x magnification, which is the industry standard for clarity grading.
The gemologist assesses the diamond from multiple angles, looking for internal inclusions and external blemishes. They take note of the number, size, nature (what type they are), position, and colour or relief (how noticeable they are) of these imperfections.
Inclusions are generally given more weight than blemishes because they are inside the diamond and can affect how light travels through the stone. The position of these inclusions also matters; for example, an inclusion right under the table (the flat top of the diamond) may be more visible and thus more detrimental to the clarity grade than one near the edge.
After all the factors are considered, the diamond is assigned a clarity grade based on the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Diamond Clarity Scale, which ranges from Flawless (no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification) to Included (inclusions and/or blemishes visible to the naked eye).
Remember that even though this process is standardized, it involves human judgment, so slight variations can occur between different gemologists or grading laboratories. It's always a good idea to buy diamonds from reputable sources that use respected grading laboratories. DiamondsByMe issues Certificates from the GIA for natural diamonds in round from 0.30 crt, for fancy sometimes a bit above this size. For lab grown diamonds we issue a certificate from the IGI also from 0.30 crt up. This way you are sure that you will receive the standard that you payed for.
Nowadays, all diamonds with IGI and GIA certification are lasered with their unique number in the girdle of the diamond. You can not see this with the naked eye but you need a trained eye and at least 10x loupe, if you go to a professional jeweller he should be able to check the number.
Flawless (FL) and Internally Flawless (IF) are the top two grades in the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Diamond Clarity Scale. As their names suggest, they represent the pinnacle of diamond clarity, but there's a subtle difference between them.
Flawless diamonds are the absolute best in terms of clarity. Under 10x magnification, they show no inclusions or blemishes. This means there are no internal or external flaws anywhere in the diamond, making Flawless diamonds extremely rare and highly prized.
Internally Flawless diamonds, on the other hand, have no inclusions visible under 10x magnification, but they may have minor blemishes. These blemishes are typically very small and often on the surface of the diamond, not affecting the stone's internal integrity. To the naked eye, an Internally Flawless diamond looks just as perfect as a Flawless diamond.
Despite these high clarity grades, it's important to remember that many factors contribute to a diamond's beauty and value, such as carat weight, colour, and cut. Additionally, most inclusions and blemishes are only visible under magnification, so lower clarity grades can still produce stunning diamonds that appear perfect to the naked eye. At DiamondsByMe we think it is a bit overrated, a VVS diamond is also really nice and you can not see anything in the diamond. So better value we think.
The Four Cs, developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), are a universally accepted system for assessing the quality and value of a diamond. They are Carat, Colour, Clarity, and Cut.
Each of the Four Cs plays a crucial role in a diamond's beauty and value, and they all interact. For example, a diamond with high clarity might be less brilliant if it's poorly cut, and a large diamond (high carat weight) might be less valuable if it has noticeable inclusions (low clarity).
When choosing a diamond, it's important to consider all Four Cs, not just one. The best diamond for you depends on your personal preferences and budget. For instance, you might prioritize size over absolute clarity, or you might prefer a smaller, flawless diamond. There's no right or wrong answer – the beauty of a diamond is truly in the eye of the beholder!
Diamond size and clarity are interconnected in a couple of significant ways. First, larger diamonds tend to show inclusions more easily, simply because they have a larger area and more facets through which light can travel and potentially be disrupted by inclusions. Therefore, all else being equal, inclusions in a larger diamond are typically more visible than those in a smaller diamond. This is why higher clarity grades become more important as diamond size increases.
Secondly, clarity imperfections can impact the structural integrity of the diamond. In large diamonds, significant inclusions can make the diamond more susceptible to damage. For instance, a feather (a type of inclusion that looks like a crack) near the edge of a large diamond might pose a risk if the diamond is subjected to a hard knock.
It's also worth noting the relationship between diamond size (carat weight) and value when it comes to clarity. As the size of a diamond increases, the rarity of high clarity grades also increases, which can result in exponential price jumps.
However, keep in mind that many inclusions are not visible to the naked eye, especially in smaller diamonds. You might opt for a lower clarity grade in a smaller diamond, as the inclusions may not be visible without magnification. As always, the choice depends on your personal preferences and budget.
The shape of a diamond, also known as its cut (like round, princess, emerald, etc.), can influence how clarity characteristics are perceived. This is mainly due to how different shapes reflect light and the number and location of facets, which can either hide or reveal inclusions and blemishes.
For instance, round brilliant diamonds, which are known for their superior fire and brilliance, are very forgiving when it comes to clarity. Their many facets and the way they reflect light can help to hide inclusions and blemishes, meaning you could opt for a lower clarity grade without affecting the diamond's visual appeal to the naked eye.
On the other hand, step-cut diamonds, like emerald or Asscher cuts, have large, open tables and fewer facets, which can make inclusions more visible. These shapes often require higher clarity grades to appear clean to the naked eye.
Fancy-shaped diamonds, like ovals, pears, and marquise cuts, can sometimes hide inclusions near the points or in the elongated sides of the diamond. However, because they are often cut to different depths and have varying facet patterns, the visibility of inclusions can vary.
It's important to remember that each diamond is unique, and the visibility of inclusions can depend on their size, type, colour, and location within the diamond, not just the diamond's shape. As always, personal preference should guide your decision. Some people prefer a flawless look, while others find that minor inclusions give a diamond character and don't mind them as long as they can't be seen with the naked eye.
Diamond clarity plays a crucial role in a diamond's light performance, which refers to how well a diamond absorbs, reflects, and refracts light. When light enters a diamond, it can be reflected off the interior facets, refracted within the diamond, and then reflected back out to the viewer's eye. This process is what gives diamonds their unique sparkle and brilliance.
However, when a diamond has inclusions or blemishes, these clarity characteristics can disrupt the path of light, potentially reducing the diamond's sparkle and brilliance. Large or numerous inclusions can block or divert light that would otherwise be reflected back to the eye. Consequently, diamonds with higher clarity grades (fewer and smaller inclusions) generally have better light performance and more brilliance.
That said, the impact of clarity on light performance is often subtle and may not be visible to the naked eye, especially in diamonds with lower clarity grades but well-executed cuts. The diamond's cut quality can significantly influence light performance, potentially compensating for clarity characteristics to a degree.
Ultimately, while higher clarity can enhance a diamond's light performance, other factors, like cut quality, also play a critical role. Therefore, it's essential to consider all aspects of a diamond's quality when assessing its overall beauty and brilliance we think that as long as you do not go below SI2 the effect will be minimum.
When choosing the perfect diamond for your engagement ring, clarity is a key consideration. At DiamondsByMe, we understand that every love story is unique, and your diamond should reflect that uniqueness. That's why we're here to guide you in choosing the right clarity that matches both your aesthetic preferences and budget.
In the world of diamonds, clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes. While higher clarity grades offer incredible transparency and brilliance, remember that many of these tiny imperfections are not visible to the naked eye, especially in diamonds under one carat. A diamond with a lower clarity grade can still deliver dazzling beauty, especially when paired with an excellent cut.
As you embark on your journey to find the perfect diamond, consider your priorities. If absolute perfection is what you seek, a diamond with a Flawless or Internally Flawless clarity grade may be your choice. But if you're more focused on size or colour, or have budget considerations, you might opt for a diamond with a clarity grade of Very Slightly Included (VS) or Slightly Included (SI). These diamonds can still look flawless to the naked eye, offering excellent value for their beauty.
At DiamondsByMe, we believe that every diamond, like every love story, is perfect in its own way. Our expert gemologists are here to help you understand diamond clarity and guide you in finding the diamond that tells your unique love story. Because your love isn't just any love - it's a DiamondsByMe love.