The 4Cs - Diamond Clarity

What To Look For When Choosing A Diamond Clarity Grade

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to what they think their ideal diamond is. While choosing a diamond is a personal affair, and not everyone will have the same opinion, most people will get more enjoyment from a higher quality 'cleaner' diamond than from a fairly ordinary stone with not much going for it because of its low clarity.

The purpose of this information is to help you to gather enough of an understanding to make an informed decision when choosing a diamond clarity grade so you are not overwhelmed by this purchase.

What Is Diamond Clarity

Clarity is the term referring to the presence or absence of identifying characteristics in or on a diamond. Called 'blemishes' on the surface and 'inclusions' within a diamond, most are not discernible to the naked eye and require magnification to become apparent. Inclusions normally have a greater impact on grade, value, beauty, and durability than do blemishes. Since not all diamond clarity characteristics are created equal, a standard clarity range was developed by G.I.A. which is used worldwide to assist in determining the overall value of a diamond.

How Is Diamond Clarity Determined

Diamonds are clarity graded face up (looking at the top of the diamond), not from the side or bottom of the diamond. A clarity grade is assigned to each diamond based on the appearance (size, number, colour, nature, and position) of any inclusions or blemishes under 10x magnification. Because an inclusion can interrupt the path light takes, heavy inclusions can affect light return and thus the beauty of a diamond. Therefore, a lower clarity grade is given to those with more noticeable clarity characteristics and a higher clarity grade is given to those with less noticeable characteristics. While the presence of these clarity characteristics (inclusions and blemishes) does lower the clarity grade of a diamond, they can also be viewed as proof in determining if the diamond is natural and untreated. They can also aid in identifying that diamond from all others. These are a few reasons why, at Australian Diamond Network, we prefer to use the term 'clarity characteristic' rather than 'imperfection' or, as you may hear/read quite often, 'flaw'. Clarity characteristics are not necessarily detrimental to owning very beautiful diamonds.

Example of diamond clarity grades

Inclusions Are Only Problematic When They Are Visible Without Magnification.

What Diamond Clarity Is Appropriate For Me?

When shopping for a diamond, the goal is to decide what level of these clarity characteristics is appropriate for your purchase. If you cannot tolerate the thought of not having the best, choose a diamond with vvs2 or better clarity grade.

VS1 and VS2 clarity graded diamonds have very slight inclusions that are difficult to find even when viewed with 10x magnification by the untrained eye. Typical inclusions in this clarity range do not affect the diamond's beauty and are still very high clarity diamonds. Remember, in most instances for diamond clarity grades from FL through to VS, the clarity grade has an impact on the value of a diamond but not on the diamonds appearance and beauty. High diamond clarity grades are usually considered by people that are willing to pay the price for higher quality, knowing that it does not necessarily have an impact on overall appearance. When considering a diamond with step cuts (emerald, asscher, baguettes), you need to remember that these are a little less forgiving with clarity than brilliant cut diamonds, and extra care should be taken to ensure the stone is 'eye clean'. It is therefore recommended that you stay within the VS+ clarity range for these types of shapes. 'Eye clean' means the clarity characteristic(s) can't be seen with the unaided eye when viewed looking at the crown.

A Diamond Does Not Have To Be Flawless To Be Beautiful.

Many people who wear a diamond are more interested in how the diamond looks, not the exact diamond clarity grade. Having said that, you certainly don't want to ignore diamonds in the Slightly Included (SI) range. In the SI clarity range, the location of an inclusion is quite important. Since the position of an inclusion affects how easily it can be seen, diamond cutters make every effort to cut a stone so that inclusions are not visible through the table of the finished diamond. The preferred position for inclusions is under the bezel facets or near the girdle because they are harder to see and can potentially be hidden when set in a piece of jewellery. Brilliant cut diamonds (round, princess, cushion, oval, pear, marquise, etc.) hide inclusions better than step cuts.

Since you, your family or friends aren’t likely to pull out a loupe for an in-depth diamond clarity examination, an eye clean SI clarity grade makes a great choice. It can lower the price of a diamond, making it affordable without affecting its brilliance, fire, or scintillation.

I1-I3 Clarity Graded Diamonds Are Very Heavily Included

Sometimes the eye visible inclusion(s) that gave an I1 diamond its clarity ranking is insignificant and the overall appearance is still pleasing. In this case you can often get a 'show for dough' diamond...more carat weight for less money if clarity is lower on your priority scale for the 4cs.

While shopping for a diamond, if you are ever given a clarity range (e.g. SI1-SI2) as opposed to a specific SI1 or SI2 grade, the diamond is likely not certified. The seller is either estimating the diamond's clarity using GIA terminology or is using a ‘parcel’ of diamonds that have been put together with similar clarity grades. This is very common with most pre-set jewellery and is fine. There are many reputable people that deal in uncertified goods, especially at the wholesale business-to-business level or if you are buying jewellery with diamonds already set. Buying diamonds uncertified is fine if you have absolute trust in the honesty, integrity, and diamond grading ability of whomever you are dealing with. But if there is any ever any question or doubt when you purchase your diamond(s), ensure they come with a certificate from an independent and reputable diamond grading laboratory.

A Diamond Is A Symbol Of Love, Beauty And Elegance, And They Are Treasured For Their Rarity.

As a symbol, what could be more appropriate for marriage...being able to see and appreciate the beauty within, despite a few, unimportant characteristics.

Australian Diamond Network can help you select the right diamond. We pride ourselves on being trustworthy and able to establish long standing relationships with our customers. We take satisfaction in providing you with the best quality diamonds for your requirements. We are knowledgeable and accessible, and we can explain the 4cs, including diamond clarity, as well as offer you a selection of diamonds in a range of prices to fit your budget.

Still have Questions?

Australian Diamond Network
P: 1-800-639-505