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Diamond Clarity Education

The clarity of a diamond is essentially a measure of its purity. Because the value of a commodity is determined by its quality and not purely by its size, clarity is a much sought-after and precious measure when it comes to finding the stone that will be with you for a lifetime.

When it comes to clarity, imperfections and inclusions are what truly matter. Diamonds are created out of carbon atoms that are subject to intense pressure and temperature, deep inside the earth, over the course of millions of years. Their unique sparkle and brilliance results from a particular arrangement of the carbon atoms, and any departure from that arrangement, results in reduced clarity or purity of the overall stone.

The standard way inclusions are measured by an expert using a 10x magnification eyepiece. By standardising how inclusions are assessed, the diamond community has created a highly objective measure to check the quality and purity of any given precious stone.

The Grading System

You have seen a quick breakdown of the scale and how it works on the homepage, but what does it mean in practice? Let’s take a look at what it means.

Popularity: VS1-VS2 is the most popular grade of clarity in the diamond world. They appear flawless to the naked eye and only come in at a small fraction of a genuinely excellent diamond price. This makes them the perfect balance between aesthetics and cost.

Value: For the shopper on a budget, the SI1 range is by far the most popular. This clarity grade has minimal inclusions visible to the naked eye, allowing for a stone that retains its natural beauty with minimal degradation.

Cut Choices: It’s essential to know that brilliant-cut diamonds do better at suppressing the negative aesthetics of inclusions than step-cuts. This can allow you to come down one or two clarity grades without sacrificing the overall look and brilliance of the stone.

Diamond Clarity Grading

Click on clarity grades to view sample images of different diamond clarity grades.

I1

Inclusion

Diamonds have numerous inclusions that can easily be seen. Diamonds of this clarity represent incredible value compared with higher clarity grades. These diamonds are perfect for people not sensitive to the presence of inclusions, but want a larger size (or weight) of diamond.

GIA Clarity Scale

What About Bracelets?

This is a question we are often asked. The issue with bracelets is that they need to match many stones very closely in terms of their clarity. Failure to do so will result in sections of the piece appearing slightly dull compared to the others, which will affect the overall balance. In this case, every effort is made to match the clarity of the individual stones as closely as possible, and a group grading certificate is issued to cover the clarity of the overall piece. This is a more open and reliable approach than rating the clarity of a multi-stone piece based solely on the highest quality stone in the comprehensive piece.

What Types Of Inclusions Are There?

The last thing we would like to look at is the specifics of the different types of inclusions. They are:

Laser Drill Holes: To bleach darker inclusions, a tiny hole is drilled into the stone and acid is used to recolour the diamond.

Beaded Girdle: This is where tiny feathers are positioned around the edges of the stone, extending from the girdle.

Knot: A foreign body near the surface can result in a rough texture.

Indented Natural: A part of the original rough diamond that remains on the surface, causing a minor indentation.

Cavity: A larger dent or opening in the stone.

Chip: A small surface opening, sometimes caused by poor craftsmanship during the cutting process.

Chipped Culet: A small visible spot, which is usually man made.

Cloud: Large cluster of inclusions.

Included Crystal: A stone within a stone.

Pinpoints: Tiny black or white crystals that are included in the diamond; they can occur individually or in larger groups.

Feathers: They are of various types, and all look like minor fractures, like cracked ice or glass.

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