The 4 C’s: Clarity

Diamond Clarity is one of the 4 C’s of evaluating diamond quality – along with Cut, Carat and Color. Clarity is an important factor in determining a stone’s value. In this exclusive guide you will learn more about diamond clarity including definitions, the diamond clarity scale, and why clarity matters.

What is Diamond Clarity?

Diamond Clarity refers to the amount of imperfections your diamond has. These imperfections can be referred to as inclusions or blemishes. Diamond Clarity is an important part of the 4 C’s as it can affect the visual beauty of your stone. However, it is important to note that most inclusions are not visible to the untrained eye.

So, Why Does Clarity Matter?

Simply put – blemishes and inclusions will hurt a diamond’s brilliance. If the flaws are big enough, it might also impact the stone’s visual beauty. Make sure you are investing in a stone that isn’t harmed by too many imperfections.

Clarity Dictionary

  • Inclusion: Inclusions are markings or issues on the inside of a diamond. Inclusions occur due to irregularities in the growing process.
  • Blemish: Blemishes are any imperfections or issues on the outside of a diamond. Blemishes occur due to mistakes during the cutting, mounting and polishing process. You can also cause blemishes on a diamond while wearing it.
  • Eye Clean: The imperfections of a stone that are too small to see with the naked eye.
  • Brilliance: The white light reflected from a diamond. Brilliance is part of what makes a diamond sparkle.

What is the Diamond Clarity Scale?

The diamond clarity scale is a little bit strange. To understand what a stone’s clarity rating is, you have to be familiar with the whole scale because the ratings are not sequential like Carat or Color. The diamond clarity scale has 6 categories and 11 grades. These categories and grades are as follows:

  • I3, I2, I1 Included Diamonds: These diamonds have visual inclusions that can be seen by the naked eye. The inclusions are likely to affect visual beauty.
  • SI2, SI1 Slightly Included Diamonds: Slightly Included diamonds have inclusions that are visible under 10x magnification or to the very keen eye. About 30% of diamonds sold are SI diamonds.
  • VS2, VS1 Very Slightly Included Diamonds: These stones will have minor inclusions that can be seen, sometimes with difficulty, under 10x magnification.
  • VVS2, VVS1 Very Very Slightly Included Diamonds: These diamonds have very slight inclusions that are difficult to see – even to the trained eye.
  • Internally Flawless (IF) Diamonds: These stones have no internal inclusions. The only clarity issues an Internally Flawless diamond has will be on the surface of the stone.
  • Flawless (FL) Diamonds: These diamonds are the highest possible clarity you could get from a stone. They have no inclusions or blemishes. Less than 1% of all diamonds are flawless, and as such are incredibly expensive.

Diamond Clarity FAQs

Do any cuts require a higher clarity?

Many people are asking whether or not lab grown diamonds will hold their value over time. This is a very tricky answer, however it is not much different than that answer for mined diamonds; it is as unpredictable as anything else long term. Nobody knows what will happen in regards to the value of anything, including lab grown diamonds. We also must define what kind of value is being referred to; appraisal value, retail value, fair market value, or resale value. While lab grown diamonds can be anywhere from 30-60% less than a comparable mined diamond, there are not many retailers that sell them yet. In the eyes of most that sell lab grown diamonds, there is a high perceived value, where there is a much smaller value to a jeweler that does not sell lab grown diamonds.

What influences diamond clarity?

Lab grown diamonds are indeed diamonds. Just like mined diamonds, although created by man in a lab, they will not change color unless under extreme heat, irradiation, or high pressure high temperature treatment.

Do lab grown diamonds have inclusions?

Lab Grown diamonds can be certified and graded by diamond grading laboratories. In fact, most lab created diamonds over 1/2ct come with diamond grading reports. International Gemological Information (IGI) and GCAL are the two laboratories most commonly hired to grade lab grown diamonds.

What level of diamond clarity should I get?

The term lab grown diamonds refers to the process in which diamonds are created by man in laboratories. Lab grown diamonds are indeed diamonds and maintain the same quality ranges and characteristics as mined diamonds. While they are valued 30-60% less than mined diamonds, the product is the same. Lab grown diamond means a diamond was created above ground, and mined diamonds were created in the ground.

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