Diamond Clarity: Why Should I Care?
Clarity — one of the 4Cs — can be dimmed by blemishes and inclusions, resulting in less sparkle for you.
Go For The Flash
What's a diamond without the twinkle? A diamond with poor clarity can look like a sad rock made of cloudy ice. It means light's been trapped inside, instead of bouncing and sparkling for your pleasure!
So you should definitely care about diamond clarity — because you don't want that twinkling light trapped by inclusions and blemishes.
And what are those?
- Inclusions are tiny imperfections, ranging from pieces of mineral to stress fractures called feathers; they can make a diamond look cloudy.
- Blemishes are on the surface and include nicks, cavities, scratches — things that have happened during the cutting process.
Ask your jeweler to show you your diamond, magnified.
Any reputable jeweler should be happy to give you a look at your diamond through a gemological microscope or loupe. Just remember, almost every diamond has inclusions and/or blemishes. It's only an issue if you can see them with the naked eye.
Learn How Flaws Affect Diamond Value
Hear are factors of clarity:
- Size. The bigger the inclusion or blemish, the lower the grade and value.
- Number. More inclusions or blemishes - and their visibility - can lower clarity grade and value.
- Position. Where inclusions appear can affect how easily they're seen. Skilled diamond cutters know this and position these imperfections where they have less effect on clarity grade.
- Nature. Whether the imperfections are internal or external also plays a role in clarity.
Discover What Your Diamond Grade Means
Your diamond will be assigned a grade using the Gemological Institute of America system, based on 10X magnification:
- Flawless (FL) — No inclusions or blemishes visible
- Internally Flawless (IF) — No inclusions, blemishes only visible under magnification
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2) — Inclusions that are very difficult to see under magnification
- Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2) — Minor inclusions from difficult to somewhat easy to see under magnification
- Slightly Included (SI1, SI2) — Inclusions noticeable under magnification
- Included (I1, I2, I3) — Inclusions clearly visible, usually without magnification
Know If Your Diamond Has Been Treated or Enhanced
Any reputable dealer must let you know if diamonds have been treated in some way to enhance their appearance, which is considered permanent. Also, fractures can be filled, which is not seen as permanent, since torches used in setting diamonds can melt the filler. Again, let your jeweler be your guide.
Yes, you should care about your diamond's clarity.
As we've seen, clarity is important if you love the way light moves within a beautiful diamond. And it's a factor in rarity and price. Better clarity means a more valuable and expensive diamond. So make sure you're informed — and make flashing diamond light your friend for life!