Diamond World explains you all you need to know about Diamond Clarity.
   
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Home > Diamond Education > Clarity

diamond education clarity

Level of imperfection
Virtually all natural diamonds contain identifying characteristics, many of which are invisible to the unaided eye. Clarity is the degree to which a stone is free from external marks called blemishes and internal features called inclusions. Inclusions normally have a greater impact on grade, value, beauty, and durability than do blemishes.

When shopping for a diamond, the goal is to decide what level of these imperfections is appropriate for this particular purchase. A certain level of imperfections can be to your advantage since they act as a fingerprint to help identify your diamond. These imperfections can lower the price of the diamond to make it affordable without affecting its beauty to your eye.

The position of an inclusion affects how readily it can be seen. Cutters call the area seen through the table the heart of the stone and make every effort to cut a stone so that inclusions are not visible through the table of the finished stone. The preferred position for inclusions is under the bezel facets or near the girdle because they are less noticeable there.

Sometimes inclusions are located where they cause multiple reflections in the pavilion facets when you look at the stone from the top. Such reflectors lower the clarity grade more than similar non-reflecting inclusions.

Clarity rating system
What follows is the clarity rating system used by diamond laboratories:

I.F.: internally flawless:
free from internal blemishes visible under 10x magnification (small external details tolerated);

V.V.S.1: very very slightly included:
inclusions and/or external blemishes very very difficult to locate under 10x magnification;

V.V.S.2: very very slightly included:
inclusions and/or external blemishes very difficult to locate under 10x magnification;

V.S.1: very slightly included:
inclusions and external blemishes difficult to locate under 10x magnification;

V.S.2: very slightly included:
inclusions and external blemishes rather difficult to locate under 10x magnification;

S.I.1: slightly included:
inclusions and external blemishes rather easy to locate under 10x magnification;

S.I.2: slightly included:
inclusions and external blemishes easy to locate under 10x magnification;

P.1- I.1: imperfect:
inclusions and external blemishes very easy to locate under 10x magnification;

P.2- I.2: imperfect:
inclusions and external blemishes easy to locate with naked eye; and

P.3- I.3: imperfect:
heavy inclusions located with naked eye.

The last two clarity steps are not sold at Diamond World.

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The following diagrams show what inclusions and blemishes look like in the different clarity grades when viewed with 10X magnification. You can use a loupe or microscope to see these characteristics, many of which will not be visible to the unaided eye.


Clarity perception
An untrained person will have a very difficult time trying to find inclusions or blemishes in FI, IF, VVS1, or VVS2 grades even with a microscope. There is no visible difference in beauty or appearance once the clarity is clean to the eye with VS clarity. These high clarity grades should only be considered if you are willing to pay the price for higher quality knowing that does not have an impact on appearance.

VS1 and VS2 graded stones have very small inclusions that are difficult to find even when viewed with 10X magnification. Typical inclusions are small crystals or feathers, distinct clouds and groups of pinpoints. They do not impact the diamond's beauty and are very high quality diamonds.

SI1 and SI2 are the two most common grades for the typical buyer. These grades have inclusions or blemishes when viewed with 10X magnification. Most SI1 clarity diamonds should be "eye-clean," which means the flaws can't be seen with the unaided eye when viewed from the top. These are good quality diamonds and provide great beauty at a very reasonable price. Most SI2 clarity diamonds have inclusions visible to the unaided eye.

Caution! There are some SI clarity diamonds that have inclusions easily visible to the unaided eye and should only be used for earrings or pendants, not for engagement rings.

Advice: For diamonds with many facets (i.e., round brilliant), it is extremely difficult to see the difference between SI1 and higher grades even with a loupe or microscope. Therefore, target SI1 or VS2 as the best clarity values with outstanding beauty. For step cut shapes like emeralds and Asschers, we recommend at least VS2 clarity diamonds since these stones are so transparent and inclusions are easier to see with the eye.

Diamond care
A diamond is the hardest thing in the world, but not the toughest. Diamonds can get abrasions or even chipped through normal wear and tear. When diamonds rub together while being stored, they may get scratched or abraded (minute scratches and pits along facet edges). Be careful any time that diamonds might come in contact with another diamond. Diamonds are valuable objects and should not be abused. Read more on Diamond Care diamond care

How to look
Diamonds are clarity graded face up (looking at the top of the diamond), not from the side or bottom of the diamond. We have the most problem with clarity where the inclusions are not visible with the eye from the top of the diamond but are visible from the side. When viewing a diamond from the side, the middle third of the diamond is generally very transparent.

If an inclusion is in this part of the diamond and happens to be turned broadside to your view, it can be much more visible than when viewed from the top where there are many facets to hide its appearance. If the diamond is going to be visible from the side in the setting, make sure your diamond is clean to the eye from the top and the side, regardless of what clarity grade it has.

If you did not find your Diamond answer here, please have a look at our Diamond Tutorial.

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Diamond World offers Designer Engagement Rings, Loose Diamonds, Handmade Jewelry, Diamond Rings, Wedding Bands, Engagement Rings, Diamond Bracelets, and Diamond Earrings.

NOTE: On January 1, 2003 many countries around the world have 'Kimberley Process' established by world governments and the diamond industry to eradicate the trade in conflict diamonds. All the diamonds used in our engagement rings, earrings and jewelry are purchased form legitimate sources in compliance with the United Nations resolution. We do not and will not ever sell conflict diamonds.