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Clarity of a Diamonds Facts

Hacking the 4Cs: Clarity of a Diamond

Coined to denote the coherence of a diamond, Clarity has evolved to mean many technical nuances, today. As diamonds are not a factory product or GMO, every precious rock retains the fingerprints of how it evolved thousands of years ago.

Clarity is one of the omnipotent factors that decide the value of a diamond. With naked eyes, only so much is seen and even then, certain diamonds appear blurred or foggy at places due to low clarity. Clarity of a diamond does not merely judge the aesthetic outlook of the precious rock, but its strength as well. Often we pick out jewelry based on its shine and even the haziness of the diamond at times adds to the shimmer.

What does Clarity of a Diamond Mean?

Diamond is made deep underneath the earth in the presence of millions of other substances than carbon. Often, many minerals and nitrogen creeps into the diamond during the process of crystallization and form the birthmarks. Commonly referred to as blemishes or inclusions, these are existent for every natural diamond.

Diamond clarity denotes the lack of these flaws in a diamond. 100% clean and clear diamonds are sparse, and when you do find one, the price will be higher than the unclear ones. This is because the flaws constitute the incompletion or imperfections within the diamond, which obstructs or detours the light and causes cloudiness than brilliance.

It is not a surprise that most diamond cutters manufacture their stones to hide the flaws as much as they can, while an 11 Pt Clarity scale will easily determine the all inclusions within any rock.

Although some diamond geezers advocate that the beauty of the diamond is untouched by the absence or presence of clarity, it is for you to decide if you want a poor clarity diamond or one that glitters without blocks! Nevertheless, these inclusions are of many types and same decides how malignant or benign they are to the beauty and strength of the diamond.

History of Diamond Clarity

First introduced by GIA as a parameter to grade diamonds, the clarity of a diamond was academically vouched as important by Richard T. Liddicoat alongside four other diamond vendors. The four men worked on ‘diamond grading and evaluation appraisal’ project to dissect and grade the value of a diamond in a transparent and systematic way.

The team headed by Liddicoat brought forth the first clarity scale that included refinements such as Flawless, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, and I2, where V stood for Very and S for slightly and I for Imperfection. It was after 20 years in 1970s that Internally Flawless grade was added to the same scale by GIA. During the late 90s, GIA also changed I for Imperfection to Inclusion.

Clarity Scale of Diamonds

With a 10 magnification, GIA conducts and provides a detailed report on each diamond evaluated. The grading system is also followed by other notable labs such as the American Gemological Society or AGS and International Gemological Institute or IGI.

The 11 Pt scale of clarity grading according to GIA parameters are-

·         Flawless

These are literally the rarest diamonds, with 90% of diamond jewelers claiming to have never seen or handled one. Abbreviated as ‘F’, Flawless refers to the cleanest diamonds sans any blemishes, blotches or inclusions. When viewed under a 10X magnification lens, the diamond looks stark clear!

·         Internally Flawless

Abbreviated as IF, these imperfections are not visible to the naked eye as well. Internally Flawless diamonds appear almost flawless and include no imperfections reported. The blemishes reported are fine and observed only under a 10x loupe.

Even the poor skill of diamond polishing can lead to these inclusions. Furthermore, you can also correct the flaw by polishing the diamond further as these are external inclusions.

·         Very Very Slightly Included

Also known as a VVS1 or VVS2, Very Very Slightly Included diamonds refers to diamonds that are almost clear to the naked eye. To skilled diamond jewelers, the inclusions are clear when observed under the magnifying loupe of 10.

·         Very Slightly Included

The easiest inclusions that can be traced by a magnification loupe of 10, Very Very Slightly included diamonds appear to be slightly smudged as well. Abbreviated as VS1 or VS2, depending on the rate of inclusions, these are diamonds are drastically cheaper than the aforementioned clarity grade of diamonds.

·         Slightly Included

These diamonds look cloudy to the naked eye and are not the best buy if you’re looking for an engagement diamond that can lost forever or preserve as an heirloom. Slightly included diamonds are referred to as SI1 and SI2 and are also easy to notice and locate for a skilled diamond grader.

·         Included

Diamonds were initially graded to have imperfections, but were later changed to inclusions because of the nature of the flaws. Today, there are 3 categories of the lowest clarity diamond of Inclusions- I1, I2 and I3. Affecting the shimmer, fieriness and brilliance of a diamond, Included diamonds are easily noticeable as hazy and veteran diamond geezers discourage buying such rocks.

What you should worry about?

An occasional news-item about diamonds that we hear is how they can break. Considered to be the hardest substance on Earth, diamonds are not 100% invincible. An important factor that adds to the breakability of diamonds is that diamonds with inclusions can chip easily.

·         Inclusions

Internal flaws of a diamond are referred to as the inclusions within and external to a diamond. These self-defects based on the internal characteristics of a diamond are as Crystal or Mineral, Feathers, Grain Lines, Cleavage, Cloud, Knots, Needles, Pinpoint, Intergrowths, Bearding and Etch channel.

Based on the external characteristics, the inclusions on a diamond can be described as Blemishes.

To read more about Inclusions in diamonds, follow the tab-The secret behind Diamond chipping, from DPA, click here.

·         Blemishes

An important under-researched topic within diamond clarity is blemishes. These are usually the natural imperfections noted on the surface of the diamond. Mostly occurring due to the problem of the diamond polisher or the natural wear, these can be removed easily as well.

Sometimes, diamond cutters also add too many facets in order to eliminate the external blemishes on a diamond, which adds as another flaw called nicks to the diamond. Blemishes comprise of further categories such as nicks, pits, breaks, dark spots, light spots, naturals, scratches, polish lines and grain boundaries.

While Inclusions occur during the crystallization stage of a diamond, a blemish is created during the processing of the rock or during the wear and tear. Inclusions are marked in red and the blemishes are marked in black or green, within the diamond reports by GIA. Not such a shameful buy, both inclusions and blemishes are often unnoticeable and does not mar the beauty of the precious stone.

What you should be proud of?

There are many reasons to be proud of your rock’s clarity. One such parameter is the rarity factor of being eye clean. Undoubtedly, a diamond of flawless clarity is too rare; however, there are many other characteristics that add to better the clarity of a diamond.

The price of a diamond shoots up for every higher step of clarity as only 20% of the total diamonds are certified for use in gemstones in the first place, with the remnant left for industrial use!

Eye clean is defined as diamonds having no obvious or notable inclusions that appear to the naked eye at a least distance of 6 inches. Nevertheless, visible lack or presence of flaws, are not conclusive. The best solution is to get a GIA report of your precious rock.

How does the grading of Clarity of diamonds take place?

Performed under the analysis of high-end equipments, GIA grading procedure for the clarity of diamond is not a sophisticated one. With a backdrop of darkfield illumination within the analysis room, the clarity grading is done with a 10x magnification. The grading is accompanied by a light that is UV treated at the head of the grader. Unlike a 10x hand loupe, the darkfield is to work with and provides lucid inferences.

The light placed is sheltered from exposure to the crown of the rock while simultaneously being lit from the side of the stone. The observation must be continued in steps with table observations as the first, followed by the girdle, pavilion, facets and crown of the rock for blemishes and inclusions. The primary categories of clarity that a grader divides diamonds into are- None (or FL), Minute (or VVS), minor (or VS), Noticeable (or SI) and Obvious (or I).  Another significantly popular grading chart of a laboratory named CIBJO is as follows, Loupe Clean, Very, Very Small Inclusions, Very Small Inclusions, Small inclusions and Pique (or Inclusions).

What clarity of Diamond will look good for just-engaged Couples?

An engagement ring must be of high durability as well as shimmer. The same is why you must always select an eye-clean diamond with an appreciable quality for your nuptial baubles. A poor quality of diamond clarity will also make your rock weaker.

A diamond sans an imperfections or haziness when looked through the crown is a good choice for your priceless event. Although higher clarity of diamonds demand higher prices, it is better to select a diamond with VVS2 or S1 as the last choice of clarity.

The considerations for Clarity Grading

All grading processes of diamonds are conducted by the 10x loupe and higher loupes as well as angles are sought dependent on the characteristics of inclusions in the rock. A little known truth behind the clarity grading of diamonds are that not all inclusions and blemishes are mentioned within the 4Cs of the diamond report. Often, the insignificant flaws that are unnoticeable are ignored. However, all imperfections are noted within the plot chart.

·         Size

The first most important characteristic that a diamond undergoes for clarity check is the size of its defects. If the inclusion or blemish is noticed to be larger, it is easy for the grader to locate and remark and hence, having a higher chance for the diamond to be dumped as low-quality rock.

·         Number

The secondary factor that affects the diamond’s clarity grading process is the quantity of inclusions or blemishes. If the diamond is noted to have many flaws under the 10x magnification, bigger powers are sought after. Usually, if the diamond is found to have many flaws, the clarity grade lowers.

·         Position

Depending on where an imperfection is located, the value of the rock dwindles! If the clarity flaw is located within a visible periphery of the rock, then it is categorized of lower quality. For example, an inclusion that is formed at the table or crown facet will reflect the light countless times. These are referred to as ‘reflectors’, noted as one inclusion per reflection.

These inclusions are more prone to breakage and weakening of the diamond than other ones.

·         Nature

The nature of inclusions whether it is intrinsic or extrinsic to the diamond decides its grading into superlative categories. While a bruise is an internal characteristic of the inclusion, an abrasion is an external aspect of the inclusion.

·         Color

Also termed as relief of the diamond, the color of the diamond with respect to its environment determines the relief of the inclusion.  One notable example of color inclusions are white pinpoint and black pinpoint, of which the black is daunting to see than the white flaw.

The Bottom Line

Clarity is the supreme category of a diamond that evaluates its worth. With many examples of clarity enhanced diamonds in the market, it is important to know that the diamond you possess is of the clarity that you’ve been told it has.

Make sure to pick out diamonds that are clean and of clarity grading higher than I1, I2 or I3. Moreover, you must also make sure that the inclusions or blemish in your diamond is not life-threatening to your diamond itself. Being one of the 4Cs of diamonds, clarity forms the backbone of the strength and value of a diamond.

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