What is Diamond Clarity?
Clarity is one of the grading scales known as the four Cs that are used to evaluate the quality of a diamond. The 4 Cs include clarity, color, carat, and cut. Many prospective diamond buyers do not fully understand the clarity grading scale. This article gives more information on diamond clarity, including some advice in how you can weigh this factor relative to the other features of a gemstone to help you decide what to prioritize.
In short, diamond clarity refers to the extent of flaws, blemishes, or impurities inside or on the surface of the gemstone. Clarity can impact the brilliance and sparkle of a stone as well as its direct physical appearance. There are several kinds of imperfections for diamonds, including specks or blemishes of other minerals as well as surface imperfections. While some of the imperfections may occur naturally, it is possible for some of these flaws to be created during the cutting process. In fact, completely perfect diamonds are extremely rare and unaffordable for most buyers. Even so, most flaws in diamonds can only be detected by a trained eye with a microscope.
How is Diamond Clarity Evaluated?
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has set up a grading system in order to categorize diamond clarity. These are:
– Flawless (FL). This indicates that the diamond has neither external nor internal flaws. Essentially, this diamond clarity grade means that the gemstone is perfect as far as clarity is concerned.
– Internally flawless (IF). While the diamond may have no internal flaws, it may have minor external imperfections. FL and IF are often categorized as a single grade.
– VVS1 and VVS2. This refers to the “very, very slightly included” category, with minimal blemish on the diamond. These imperfections are so minute that even an experienced grader may have difficulty in seeing these even with the aid of the usual jeweler’s tools. Needless to say, the imperfections here are nearly always invisible to even the sharpest unaided eye. VVS1 diamonds are slightly higher grade than VVS2 but both are extremely high-clarity stones of great value.
– VS1 and VS2. These refer to the “very slightly included” category. The imperfections here are also small, but bigger than the VVS1 and VVS2 flaws. They may or may not be visible to the naked eye.
– SI1 and SI2. This is the “slightly included” category with imperfections that are easily noticeable by expert graders. Anyone looking very closely at the stone should be able to see them as well.
– I1, I2, and I3. This is the “Included” category, with the most significant and visible flaws in or on the surface of the stone. Although a quick glance might not reveal such flaws, they are obvious on any close inspection to the unaided eye. Many reputable diamond and jewelry distributors do not carry included diamonds.
Clarity and Fancy Colored Diamonds
Note that while fancy colored diamonds like a chocolate diamond or canary diamond are also evaluated using the 4Cs, compared to colorless diamonds, diamond clarity is far less of a factor for colored diamonds. This is because the color of the gemstone can more easily conceal any 情侶對戒 flaws that can affect clarity, so it has less of an effect compared to colorless diamonds.
Keep Diamond Clarity in Perspective
While diamond clarity is a significant factor to consider when evaluating diamonds, it is one of four major elements to be aware of. In some cases, the imperfections on a diamond can only be detected by a microscope, so people end up passing over a good gemstone just because it does not have an FL grade, no matter how undetectable the imperfection may be. As you can see from the scale, at the higher end from FL/IF, VVS, and VS, there may be no visible difference to the naked eye. In fact, VS and SL diamonds are the most commonly purchased diamonds because of prices. Lower clarity diamonds are still brilliant, still sparkly, and still incredible gems. Some people consider clarity to be the least important factor of a diamond, yet clarity differences can have a huge impact on the price of the stone. Always keep this in mind when balancing clarity with carat, cut, and color for your diamond. Keep this wider perspective in mind so you can accurately evaluate for yourself whether the diamond is a good choice based on your requirements, preferences, and budget.