Should I Care about Diamond Clarity?
Clarity is one of the 4Cs. Inclusions and flaws can make a diamond look less polished and brilliant, which is one of the 4Cs.
You've probably noticed how some diamonds sparkle and shine while others sit motionless and dullly like foggy ice.When light penetrates the diamond and reflects off the facets' planes, a flash results. However, if anything blocks the light's path, the reflections and refractions will be compromised. Clarity, one of the 4Cs, enters the picture here.
Inclusions and imperfections are two things that can happen to stop the light in its tracks.
- The minuscule flaws known as inclusions are accumulated inside practically every diamond during its formation under extreme heat and pressure deep beneath. Mineral fragments and feather-like stress fractures are among them. An assortment of inclusions can occasionally cause a diamond to look hazy when magnified.
- Cavities, nicks, scratches, and "naturals," which are minute fragments of the original rough diamond left on the polished diamond after the diamond cutting process, are examples of blemishes on the surface of the diamond.
Under the scope
When you're selecting a diamond for an engagement ring, a jeweler will probably use a loupe or a gemological microscope to show you the inclusions and flaws. Keep in mind that practically all diamonds have flaws or imperfections. Many, nevertheless, can only be seen up close and do not detract from a diamond's beauty when viewed with the unaided eye.
Why do faults impact diamond value differently if almost all of them exist? Consider the five elements a diamond grader looks at to determine clarity:
SIZE: The clarity grade and value decrease with the size of the inclusion or imperfection.
NUMBER: The clarity grade and value decrease as the number of inclusions or imperfections increases and as they become more obvious.
LOCATION: When viewing the diamond top-down, the visibility of inclusions depends on their position. There are instances when one fault can appear to be several when looking at something up close. In order to minimize their impact on the clarity grade, diamond cutters try to place these internal flaws close to the girdle or behind the crown facets.
NATURE: This simply shows if the "characteristic" (another term for inclusions and imperfections) is internal or external and whether it poses a risk to the durability of the diamond.
Why it matters
A grader will choose a grade from a scale with six categories and 11 grades after considering all five variables (if using the Gemological Institute of America system). Take a moment right now to familiarize yourself with the available grades:
A 10X magnification cannot reveal any imperfections or flaws in FLAWLESS (FL) diamonds.
The only flaws that can be seen by a grader using a 10X magnification are present in internally flawless (IF) diamonds, which lack any inclusions.
very, very slightly included
Under 10X magnification, it is very hard for a grader to see the inclusions in VVS1 and VVS2 diamonds.
Very Slightly Included
When seen under a 10X magnification, VERY SLIGHTLY INCLUDED (VS1 and VS2) diamonds exhibit minute inclusions that can be challenging to moderately easy for a grader to see.
A grader using a 10X magnification can see inclusions in diamonds that are classified as Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2).
Diamonds marked as "INCLUDED" (I1, I2, I3) have inclusions that can typically be seen without the use of a magnifying glass.
The American Gem Society assigns grades for clarity on a range of 0 to 10, and the results are largely consistent with the GIA system. The categories of flawless and internally flawless are merged, and if the diamond has any external flaws, it is noted. The four grades on the AGS scale are further separated into the three included grades on the GIA scale.
Enhancement and treatment
You may have heard that certain diamonds undergo additional treatments or enhancements to enhance their beauty. Reputable vendors are required to make this permanent treatment clear.
Meanwhile, fractures can be repaired. Respectable dealers disclose this procedure, and reputable filling businesses utilize a substance that flashes color when viewed up close. Because a torch used to set diamonds into a piece of jewelry repair might melt the filler and remove it, fracture filling is not as durable as the diamond.
What makes you care?
Naturally, clarity affects how light moves within the diamond, producing the flash and the desired illusion that the diamond is lit internally. It influences both the rarity and the overall cost. The value and cost of clarity increase with improvement.
You can overpay if you don't know whether your diamond has received treatment to improve its clarity.
Knowing what clarity is and what the evaluation on a lab report means will help you make better, more educated decisions when purchasing diamonds.