Diamond Clarity

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Diamond Clarity Grading

 

Diamond Clarity

The least important diamond grade is clarity. Unfortunately, it is what many jewelers claim is most important, because it is the easiest to demonstrate. Anyone can put a diamond under a microscope and see if it has inclusions. It takes gemological knowledge to cut and/or color grade a diamond. Jewelry merchants with little or no formal gemology training often resort to a quick demonstration of clarity, which has made it the most important grade to many consumers. This could not be further from the truth.

By definition, any grade diamond of SI2 and above requires magnification to see the inclusion. How often do your friends look at your diamond under a loupe? Since any diamond of SI2 clarity and up is considered "eye clean," meaning you must have magnification to see any inclusion, why worry about clarity above the SI2 range? Of course, if you are told you are getting a VS1 you want make sure you actually are. But you can save lots of money by buying a diamond that is well proportioned, with good color, but is in the SI1 or SI2 clarity range. To put it another way, a perfectly cut diamond of D color and SI2 clarity will look the same to everyone around you as a perfectly cut diamond of D color VS1. However, the SI2 diamond could save you thousands of dollars.

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Diamond Clarity Examples

 
Explanation About Each Clarity Grade

 

 

Below is a breakdown of the diamond clarity grading scale. Be aware that these are only used to demonstrate the general level of inclusions that qualify a diamond to fall into any one grade. The study of diamond clarity is lengthy and involves many types of inclusions. Please note that the red colors indicate internal features, while green colors indicate surface or surface breaking features.


Diamond Illustration

 

 


No inclusions visible using 10x magnification.



Diamond Illustration

 

 


One tiny inclusion on the very upper outer edge of the diamond

 

Diamond Illustration


Additional pinpoint inclusion but still on outer perimeter of diamond


Diamond Illustration


Small pinpoint and small feather on outer edge of diamond


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Small cloud of pinpoints and small feather, all on outer edge


Diamond Illustration


Larger cloud of pinpoint inclusions and feather on outer edge


Diamond Illustration


Cloud of inclusions, feather, and small feather located in the table of stone

 


Note: Any diamond from the SI2 clarity grade and up is considered eye clean, meaning that you should not be able to see any inclusions without magnification. If you can see an inclusion without magnification, it is not in the above grade

 

 

 


There are three rules of thumb to go by regarding the I1-I2-I3 grades:

 

 

1.) Any diamond with an eye visible inclusion should be classified as an I1.
2.) If the diamond has an eye visible inclusion that significantly detracts from the beauty of the diamond, or could potentially endanger the stone, it should be classified as an I2.
3.) If the diamond has an eye visible inclusion that detracts from the beauty of the diamond and endangers the diamond, that stone should be classified as an I3.


Diamond Illustration

 

 

The above features but large fissure that is visible to the naked eye aross table

 

Diamond Illustration

 

 

Large fissure that breaks surface of diamond and caused minor surface chips

 

Diamond Illustration

 

 

The above features but large fissure that is visible to the naked eye aross table

The I1 to I3 graded diamonds are the primary diamond grades you should consider. Many jewelry stores only promote the clarity and color grades, in that order. This is not the proper approach. Diamond values are set more on cut and proportion than on clarity and color. Cut and proportion determine a diamond's value and should be considered first when buying a diamond. Leave clarity for last. It's the one area where you can save a lot without giving up beauty.


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Diamond Clarity

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