Diamond clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes in a diamond.
A natural diamond forms over millions of years, through the intense heat and pressure exerted onto carbon, deep beneath the earth’s crust. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called ‘inclusions’ and external characteristics called ‘blemishes’.
Clarity is graded on a scale (shown above) and the categories are defined by GIA as follows:
Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification.
Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification.
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor.
Slightly Included (SI1, SI2 and SI3) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification.
Included (I1, I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance.
Clarity is a measurement of the relative number, size, nature and positioning of inclusions within a gemstone. When being officially certificated and graded, they are examined under 10x magnification by a skilled grader in a controlled laboratory setting. The irregular nature of inclusions means that an assessment is subjective and can vary from grader to grader. As with colour grading, a gemstone’s apparent clarity can differ when mounted in a piece of jewellery and assessed by the naked eye.
The position of inclusions can play a significant and vital part in a diamonds appearance and cost. Often diamonds have inclusions in the pavillion region which cannot be seen, when the diamond is mounted, allowing the buyer to purchase a diamond of similar visual appeal to a higher clarity grade, for a far lower cost. The term’eye clean’ refers to a diamond that has no inclsuions visible to the unaided eye when viewed from the top down with Si clarity diamonds often yielding excellent quality at very reasonable prices.
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