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Diamond Clarity – All Will Become Clear

Elvis Elvis

Clarity is the term that describes two factors -

  • a) The presence or absence of flaws or blemishes inside or on the surface of a diamond stone.
  • b) The presence or absence of identifying characteristics inside or on the surface of a diamond stone.

Clarity can affect price and can add identifying character to a diamond. Let’s say for a moment that you owned a perfectly colorless and flawless diamond (“perfect” diamonds are extremely rare)- would people believe you?

If on the other hand you had a slightly flawed diamond (the majority of diamonds are flawed in some way) wouldn’t it be more realistic? Flaws or clarity characteristics can also identify one diamond from another and make fraudulent diamond switching more difficult.

Which Flaws Are  Most Common In Diamonds?

Most internal flaws contained within a diamond are called inclusions. The definition of an inclusion is as follows:

A visible foreign substance, imperfection, crack or trapped crystal within the body of the diamond. Inclusions are present from the point from which the stone was formed and are natural imperfections.

Diamond Clarity   All Will Become Clear

Large groups of very small inclusions can cause “clouding” which severely degrades transparency and diamond clarity.

External flaws can include, blemishes, cracks, chips and nicks. These are usually a result of the high stress factors which diamonds undergo in the human actioned cutting process.

Blemishes are the least severe of the four but cracks and chips are not desirable flaws and will detract a great deal from a diamond’s value.

What’s A Clarity Enhanced Diamond?

Because some diamonds are severely flawed on the surface or internally, a dealer may choose to have a diamond clarity-enhanced.

Some methods of enhancement are permanent and some are not but whatever the outcome, enhancement should always be described on the diamond grading report that is supplied with a reputable diamond.

Clarity enhanced diamonds will have a better value than a severely flawed stone but they should NEVER command the premium prices that genuine stones with imperceptible and subtle diamond clarity issues do – so beware!

This page will now focus on diamond clarity issues for untreated diamonds so please read on…..

How Does Clarity Relate To The Diamond Grading Process?

Diamond clarity is determined by using 10x magnification under strict Gem trade Lab lighting conditions. They are then appraised on a sliding scale of abbreviated gemological terms. As with other studies on this site, we are using the fairly common G.I.A (Gemological Institute of America) scale to describe diamond clarity.

What Other Factors Are Involved?

Some inclusions appear light and fairly imperceptible whilst others might appear as dark spots either deep within the stone or near the surface. Sometimes deep or side inclusions may be hidden and are not as noticeable as if they had been near or in the table or crown facets.

Some inclusions appear light and fairly imperceptible whilst others might appear as dark spots either deep within the stone or near the surface. Sometimes deep or side inclusions may be hidden and are not as noticeable as if they had been near or in the table or crown facets.

It should be noted that most inclusions are invisible to the naked eye and a jeweler can refer to these as being eye clean. It would be better therefore to choose a lower diamond clarity grade when considering the economics of buying diamonds.

In fact even SI1 and some SI2 grades can offer superb value for money and will go mostly unnoticed by all except the diamond experts! The ones to definitely avoid are the I1′s, 2′s and 3′s.

Another significant factor is that a diamond that has been cut to perfection can sparkle brilliantly and further hide any imperfections!

How Does It Affect Value?

Well of course flawless and internally flawless diamonds will have a much higher value than stones that have diamond clarity imperfections but how much more?

Because most inclusions are pretty much invisible the price difference may not be as harsh as you may think but it’s still significant in terms of percentages. Please view the comparisons below which assume that the only factor that differs each time is the clarity of each diamond.

Diamond Clarity Description Price
FL Flawless – No Internal / External Flaws $7,400.00
IF Internally Flawless – Zero Internal Flaws $6,875.00
VVS1 Very Very Slightly Included $6,575.00
VVS2 Very difficult to see inclusions with X10 Mag. $6,300.00
VS1 Very Slightly Included – Difficult to see with $6,000.00
VS2 X10 Mag. Not visible to the naked eye $5,700.00
SI1 Slightly Included – Easy to see with X10 Mag. $5,000.00
SI2 May not be visible with naked eye. $4,500.00

Diamond Clarity: In a Nutshell

  • Clarity describes the presence or absence of flaws and or identifying characteristics in a diamond.

  • Most diamonds contain flaws – flawless diamonds are very rare

  • Some diamonds can be classed as internally flawless and still have surface blemishes and imperfections.

  • Most interior flaws are called inclusions, exterior flaws are mostly blemishes or cracks and chips.

  • Beware clarity enhanced diamonds unless the enhancement is proved to be permanent.

  • Clarity enhanced diamonds should NEVER command premium prices.

  • All imperfections or enhancements should be described in an accompanying diamond grading report.

  • Most inclusions are invisible to the naked eye and most are hard to detect even with 10X magnification.

  • A well cut diamond will sparkle and help to hide a lot of diamond clarity flaws.

  • Clarity affects the price so an SI1 or SI2 grade may seem like a bargain and can be a good choice if the inclusions are invisible to the naked eye.