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Diamond Buying Made Easier > Diamond Clarity
Diamond clarity is one of the 4Cs that are used in setting the price of a diamond. When you are shopping for a diamond engagement ring, a diamond pendant, some diamond earrings, or any piece of diamond jewelry; one important factor is the clarity of the diamonds that you choose. However, the diamond clarity of the earrings that you choose could be different than the diamond clarity that you would like to have when you buy a diamond engagement ring.
Does a higher diamond clarity equal a more beautiful diamond? Good question! Some people feel that diamond clarity is everything, some others feel it is not as important. As for me, I'd place diamond clarity as being number 3... with diamond cut being number 1 and diamond color being number 2.
What is diamond clarity?
Diamond clarity refers to the presence of extra little goodies on the inside and on the outside of a diamond. The dictionary definition of clarity is "the quality or state of being clear".
Having a diamond without anything inside of it is extremely rare, especially in larger diamonds. Because of this rarity factor, a diamond that is "cleaner" (a high diamond clarity) is also more expensive. Of all the diamonds that are mined every year, only about 20% are "clean enough" (that is have a high enough diamond clarity to be considered “gem quality”) that could be used in diamond jewelry with the other 80% of the diamonds being used for industrial purposes.
So if you have a diamond with a very high diamond clarity grade (FL, IF, VVS) then it really is one in a million, making it even that much more special!
How can we communicate how "clear" a diamond is or isn't?
In the world of colored stones (gemstones other than diamonds), there are "word terms" which are used to describe the clarity of a gem. Terms like "clean", "eye clean", "almost eye clean", "included", etc.
Can we use the same type of system with describing diamond clarity? For many many years, word terms were used to classify the clarity of a diamond... which lead to a lot of confusion. Given the same diamond, one person would describe the diamond clarity as "almost eye clean" and another person would describe the diamond clarity as "clean"..... who was right?
Up until the early 1950s this had been a problem... a standardized diamond clarity grading system was needed!
The Diamond Clarity Grading System...
The Diamond Clarity Grading System was developed by GIA (Gemological Institute of America) in 1953 and is now the common international language when we talk about diamond clarity.
The following is from GIA's website and here is their definition of diamond clarity-
"Diamonds have internal features, called inclusions, and surface irregularities, called blemishes. Together, they're called clarity characteristics. A diamond clarity grade is determined by the relative absence of clarity characteristics."
The following are the diamond clarity grades that are assigned when a diamond is examined by a trained observer using 10X magnification under a controlled lighting environment-
Flawless (FL): no blemishes or inclusions when examined by a skilled grader under 10X magnification.
Internally Flawless (IF): no inclusions when examined by a skilled grader, and only insignificant blemishes under 10X.
Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2): contain minute inclusions that are difficult for even a skilled grader to locate under 10X. VVS1: extremely difficult to see, visible only from the pavilion or small and shallow enough to be removed by minor repolishing. VVS2: very difficult to see.
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2): contain minor inclusions ranging from difficult (VS1) to somewhat easy (VS2) for a trained grader to see under 10X.
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2): contain noticeable inclusions which are easy (SI1) or very easy (SI2) to see under 10X. In some SIs, inclusions can be seen with the unaided eye.
Included (I1, I2, I3): contain inclusions which are obvious to a trained grader under 10X, can often be easily seen face-up with the unaided eye, seriously affect the stone's potential durability, or are so numerous they affect transparency and brilliance.
If you would like more information and a quick visual demonstration of SI2 and I1 Diamond Clarity grades click on the following link...
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