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Diamond Clarity

One of the 4Cs that defines a diamond and its brilliance is the clarity the stone possesses. Diamond clarity assesses the small and big imperfections that might act like a boulder in reducing the sparkle and brilliance of the stone both on the surface and within the stone. 

The imperfections on the surface are termed by gemologists as blemishes while the internal deformities are called inclusions. Often inclusions are also termed as internal characteristics that determine the natural occurring of the diamond. In most of the cases, the aesthetic appearance of the diamond stone remains unchanged as they stay hidden to the naked eye. These diamonds perform well as solitaire jewellery. Another important aspect of diamond clarity is that the value of a stone increases as its inclusions are less.

Blemishes and Inclusions

Both blemishes and inclusions play a vital role in determining the diamond clarity and in turn, its market value. While fewer blemishes make a diamond smoother and visually appealing, fewer inclusions result in better reflection, thereby high brilliance and sparkle of the stone. 

In simple terms, a diamond’s clarity refers to fewer instances of blemishes and inclusions, which improves its overall brilliance and sparkle, thereby impacting its market value and consumer demand.

Factors Affecting Diamond Clarity

Yes, blemishes and inclusions are two only significant factors that affect the diamonds’ clarity. But there are several elements that impact blemishes and inclusions and result in their occurrence in a diamond stone. 

Types of Blemishes

Scratches, breaks, nicks, pits, dark/light spots, visible polish lines, and chips are a few of the blemishes on the diamond surface that impact its appearance.

Most of these blemishes can be removed by re-polishing the diamond or cutting it to give it a new shape that is devoid of any surface irregularities.

Types of Inclusions

Knots, crystals/minerals, air clouds, cleavage, feathers, cavities, and internal graining are the different types of inclusions that are found within the diamond. Some of these inclusions even contain colour that reduces the brilliance of a colourless diamond and decreases its value. These irregularities are often formed during the earth surface when a diamond is still in its formation stage. 

Diamond Clarity Grade

Similar to the diamond colour grade, even diamond clarity is mapped on a grade scale that displays how blemish and inclusion-free stone is. The grading scale spans through six categories, which have a total of 11 clarity grades on the scale.

Flawless on Surface, Flawless Internally (Grade FL and IF)

As per the name, diamond stones that fall under this category are flawless, in and out. Even the 10X magnification does not show any signs of inclusions, making these stones the clearest and brilliant in the world, although they might or might not contain surface irregularities.

Very Very Slight Inclusions (Grade VVS1 and VVS2)

Next to FL and IF, diamonds stones that show the signs of some inclusions with 10X magnification (although they might be difficult to locate sometimes) fall under VVS1 and VVS2 inclusions. The inclusions are visible in VVS1 from bottom-up, while it is visible in face-up for VVS2 grade stones.

Very Slight Inclusions (Grade VS1 and VS2)

Diamond stones get the grading of VS1 and VS2 when small inclusions, such as crystals and other elements show up under 10X magnification. Often gemologists have to look hard and clear to locate the inclusions. Among VS1 and VS2 grade, the latter indicates less clarity than the former.

Slight Inclusions (Grade SI1, SI2, and SI3)

These stones show a clear presence of inclusions under magnification and have low clarity grade.

Inclusions (Grade I1, I2, and I3)

Diamonds that contain inclusions visible under 10X magnification as well as naked eye come under this category. These stones have the lowest clarity among all the graded diamonds and lack brilliance.

Note: The clarity of a diamond determines its market value as well as the demand. Clear enough that diamonds with high grades have fewer inclusions (often fewer blemishes), increasing their price value. Thus, more clear and flawless a diamond, high its market value.

Quick Tips to Buy Highest Clarity Diamond

Here are a few quick tips that you must follow before you enter a jewellery shop to buy diamonds:

For budget-friendly shopping, opt for diamond stones between VVS and VS grade, as the inclusions in them are hardly visible.

In case you’re looking to buy diamond stones that are heavy in weight and clear, then go for FL and IF grade diamonds and shape (princess, emerald, or Asscher). But you might have shell out more money to own such stones.

If you are going to buy a diamond stone that has low grade, then always check for the inclusion location. Any internal irregularities at the side of the diamond affect the sparkle and brilliance less compared to at the middle.

Although not advised, but if you’ve set your heart on a diamond that with more carat weight but less price, then look in the SI and I clarity grade.

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