Out of the 4 C’s Clarity generally has the least impact on a diamond’s overall appearance. Clarity simply refers to the small, natural imperfections that occur in all but the finest diamonds. These imperfections are often referred to as inclusions or blemishes. Inclusions are flaws within the stone itself such as air bubbles, cracks, and non-diamond minerals; blemishes are surface flaws such as scratches, and pits.
The fewer inclusions or blemishes there are in or on the diamond, the higher the clarity grade and therefore value. As these imperfections tend to be microscopic and therefore not visible to the naked eye, they do not generally affect a diamond’s beauty in any noticeable way.
For the purposes of grading diamonds, all imperfections are called ‘inclusions’. Diamonds are graded for clarity under 10 x magnification. Grades range from ‘Flawless’ (completely free of blemishes and inclusions), to ‘Included 3’ (diamonds which possess large, heavy blemishes and inclusions that are visible to the naked eye).
The clarity chart below shows the different clarity grades you can purchase in a diamond:
FL (Flawless) is the best clarity grade and therefore the best to buy, and also the most valuable clarity grade.
The average person can’t tell the difference between FL and VS1 clarity diamonds, therefore to strike the best balance between quality and cost, select the VS1 or VS2 clarity grades that are “eye-clean” diamonds with no inclusions visible to the unaided eye.
Imperfections in diamonds graded slightly included (SI) are not always visible to the unaided eye, making them excellent value option. If you’re considering a diamond with an SI clarity grade, bear in mind that there can be visible differences between two diamonds with the same SI clarity grade, and this will depend on the number, type, size, and location of the inclusions.
• Finest quality: VVS1/VVS2
• Best balance for quality and cost: VS1/VS2
• Biggest size for price: SI1
Now that you understand clarity, learn about a diamond’s certificate.
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