Diamond Clarity – What and Why It Matters?

diamond clarity rough

The magnificence of diamonds lies in their sparkling beauty and radiance but if you are out to purchase one of these precious stones, then you need to look beyond the exterior and get familiar with the technical aspects as well. By knowing how to select the finest of the gemstones, you can get the most out of your investment.

What is Diamond Clarity?

It is one of the famous 4 C’s of the diamond evaluation process that determines the main characteristics of inclusions (internal imperfections) and blemishes (exterior imperfections) of the stone. It takes nature, number, size and relief of such imperfections into account. These defects or faults can be in the form of dark spots, white dots or slight cracks.

You may be aware of the fact that formation of natural diamonds is a result of carbon’s intense exposure to heat and pressure in the earth and this leads to the creation of impurities on the interior as well as the exterior of the stone. In addition, a diamond can suffer damage when it goes through the cutting process.

All these flaws and impurities can reduce the value of diamonds. On the contrary, this is one of the main reasons why most people can even afford to buy diamonds; a flawless, perfect diamond is way too expensive.

Types of Inclusions and Blemishes

Inclusions can be in one of the following forms:

  • Needles
  • Bearding
  • Cavities
  • Feathers
  • Twinning wisps
  • Internal graining
  • Cleavage
  • Induced minerals or crystals
  • Clouds

The blemishes present on the extremities of the stone can be one of these:

  • Cavity
  • Fracture
  • Pits
  • Scratches
  • Naturals
  • Polish lines
  • Extra facets
  • Chips
  • Nicks
  • Knots
  • External graining

large rough diamond inclusions

Importance of Diamond Clarity

If you have ever purchased a diamond online from websites like Verragio or Whiteflash then you would know that jewelers place immense emphasis on diamond clarity. That is because clarity is one of those factors that signify the quality of this rock and in consequence, its price too. A stone that has plenty of blemishes and inclusions cannot reflect light as good as the ones that are free of imperfections.

If you can’t afford to purchase a diamond with high clarity then you might as well purchase some other precious stone because blemished diamonds are a bad investment.

Evaluation of Diamond Clarity

In order to gauge the perfection or imperfection of diamonds, Gemological Institute of America (GIA) designed a clarity grading scale that is divided into 6 categories. These categories are further explained below:

  • Flawless (FL) – This is the highest of all clarity levels and it specifies that the stone is absolutely perfect. If you observe a FL diamond under a 10x magnified microscope, you won’t observe any blemishes or inclusions at all. Flawless diamonds are exceedingly expensive and extremely rare to find.
  • Internally Flawless (IF) – A diamond of this clarity reveals slight blemishes and no inclusions under 10x magnification. Stones of FL and IF clarity levels are known as ‘single grade’ diamonds corresponding to their high quality and rare availability.
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – This clarity levels corresponds to those stones that have slight inclusions and can only be observed under 10x magnification by expert graders. Diamonds belonging to this category are somewhat affordable as compared to the above ones. VVS1 is considered slightly higher as compared to VVS2.
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Diamonds belonging to this category have minor inclusions that are comparatively larger than the ones in the above category. These flaws are not visible to the naked eye but can be observed upon close inspection through a microscope.
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – The inclusions of the stones belonging to this clarity level can be observed easily through a 10x magnified microscope. However, these flaws are invisible to the naked eye unless viewed by skilled graders that have years of experience.
  • Included (I1, I2 and I3) – Diamonds that are categorized as ‘Included’ have the most visible inclusions and exclusions. The flaws are easily visible to the naked eye. This is the reason that Included diamonds are the least expensive of all. You won’t find these flawed stones at reputable jewelers or online stores.