In the realm of diamond purchasing in 2024, understanding the 4C's—cut, color, clarity, and carat—is crucial. Among these, diamond clarity stands as a pivotal factor in assessing a diamond's quality and value. This guide will delve into the concept of diamond clarity, exploring its significance in determining a diamond's overall beauty and desirability.

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What is diamond clarity?

The grade assigned to a diamond according to its inclusions and flaws is known as diamond clarity. The fewer imperfections and flaws a diamond has, the higher its clarity grade will be. One of the four Cs, or the primary qualities of a diamond, is clarity, which may have a big influence on its price. Nevertheless, many flaws that lower a diamond's clarity grade are invisible to the unaided or untrained eye.

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What are the types of diamond clarity scales?

The clarity scale and diamond grading system of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) were developed in 1953 by Richard T. Liddicoat and associates. There are six categories and eleven diamond clarity grades on the GIA diamond grading system.

  1. I1, I2, and I3 Included Diamonds: I clarity diamonds have noticeable inclusions that will probably be seen and affect their beauty 
  2. SI1 and SI2 diamonds: are classified as slightly included (SI) diamonds. They may be identified at 10x magnification. If the eye is clear, SI diamonds are usually the greatest value. SI2 inclusions may be seen by an unassisted, sharp eye, especially when viewed from the side. 
  3. VS1, VS2 Very Slightly Included (VS) Diamonds: Minor inclusions visible at 10x magnification, ranging from challenging (VS1) to somewhat easy (VS2).  
  4. VVS1, VVS2 Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS) Diamonds: VVS clarity is uncommon and produces an eye-clean appearance. Features are minute and challenging to see under 10x magnification, even for trained eyes. 
  5. Internally Flawless (IF) Diamonds: May have a few minor surface imperfections that are detectable under a microscope. Only surface features determine the grade for IF diamonds; no impurities within the stone. 
  6. Flawless diamonds (FL): have neither internal nor exterior flaws, and less than 1% of all diamonds have FL clarity. Because it is practically hard to locate a diamond that is 100% devoid of inclusions, perfect diamonds are extremely rare. 

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How is Diamond Clarity Graded?

Natural diamonds are created in the earth's mantle layer between 80 and 120 miles below the surface, where they are subjected to 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit of intense heat. Only the rarest diamonds emerge in flawless shape, and their development takes anywhere from one billion to three billion years. They are often flawed, with differing degrees of surface imperfections and interior inclusions.

Heat and pressure are the common causes of inclusions, whereas wear affecting the diamond's surface or the cutting and polishing procedure are the leading causes of blemishes.

While grading a diamond's clarity using a clarity scale, professionals observe its appearance while it is face up, magnified 10 times using a microscope, and visible with the naked eye. However, a power greater than 10x will be employed to detect any potential diamond inclusions. If not, the answer could be too complicated to figure out.

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How are clarity grades determined?

The way a diamond is graded and assigned a "score" on the diamond clarity chart is mostly influenced by five criteria. The size, kind, quantity, placement, and relief of the inclusions are the five factors that go into diamond grading.

  1. Size: One of the most crucial elements in establishing a diamond's clarity grade is the size of its inclusions. The influence of inclusions on a diamond's look increases with its size.
  2. Nature: The term "nature" describes the kinds of inclusions that are visible in the diamond as well as their depth.
  3. Number: The quantity of inclusions a diamond has is another factor considered by grading organizations. A diamond's clarity and look can be greatly affected by a significant number of imperfections, no matter how little. 
  4. Location: An inclusion's position describes where it is situated inside the diamond. The inclusion will be more noticeable to the eye and have a greater influence on the clarity grade if it is located closer to the table's center.

Relief: To put it simply, the relief is the amount of contrast between the inclusions and the diamond, or how prominent the inclusions are in relation to the diamond. Diamond grading may be impacted by how deeper the color appears in relation to the relief.

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How to choose the right clarity grade?

What is the best clarity grade for a diamond? That seems like a straightforward question to answer. The greatest grade a diamond may obtain in terms of clarity is Flawless (FL). You might think that you should aim to obtain one with that grade, or as near to it as possible, as that's the top grade. However, a diamond's clarity rating is essentially useless.

 

Many flaws and defects are too small for anybody to see other than a skilled diamond grader, according to the GIA. Thus, eye cleanliness matters more than clarity level. 

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Understanding purity through a Diamond Clarity Scale Chart

Understanding purity through a Diamond Clarity Scale Chart involves deciphering the grading system developed by institutions like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). This scale categorizes diamonds based on their inclusions and flaws, providing a standardized method for evaluating clarity. Diamonds are graded on a spectrum ranging from Flawless (FL) to Included (I), with various grades in between such as Internally Flawless (IF), Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS), Very Slightly Included (VS), and Slightly Included (SI). Each grade reflects the presence and visibility of inclusions under magnification, enabling buyers to gauge the purity and overall quality of a diamond. By referring to the clarity scale chart, individuals can make informed decisions when selecting diamonds, ensuring they acquire stones with the desired level of purity and brilliance.

 

 

AGS 0: Flawless

Under a 10x magnification, flawless diamonds are devoid of any imperfections or flaws. Internally flawless diamonds are devoid of inclusions that are visible at ten times magnification, however they may have very slight surface-only imperfections.

AGS 1 or 2: VVS

A professional grader will find it difficult to discern minute inclusions in a diamond with a clarity grade of 1 or 2 (VVS1 or VVS2), even at 10x magnification.

AGS 3 or 4: VS

Extremely Minimal Minor inclusions can be seen in included diamonds with a clarity grade of 3 or 4 (VS1 or VS2).

AGS 5, 6, or 7: SI
 

Under a 10x magnification, the inclusions in diamonds classified as slightly included (SI1 or SI2) are reasonably easy to observe and have a clarity grade of 5, 6, or 7. These inclusions can occasionally be seen with the unassisted eye.

 

AGS (8, 9, or 10):
 

At 10x magnification, inclusions in diamonds with a clarity grade of 7, 8, 9, or 10 (I1, I2, or I3) are clearly visible. They are occasionally visible to the unaided eye. may impact the durability of the diamond at lesser clarity.

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Buying tips for diamond clarity

There are a few considerations to make when buying a diamond in order to achieve the highest quality and beauty, particularly in terms of clarity.

 

  1. It's quite simple to overspend on clarity. Select the lowest clarity grade that nevertheless exhibits an eye-clean diamond rather than concentrating on a specific clarity grade. It would be wiser to allocate your spending towards elements that have a greater influence on a diamond's attractiveness, such as the diamond cut's quality.

     

  2. The shape of your diamond determines the optimal clarity grade. When it comes to concealing inclusions and other flaws, certain diamond shapes are far more effective than others.

     

  3. In addition to examining the clarity plot and certificate, thoroughly inspect the diamond to check for any obvious inclusions. See if you can see any inclusions or defects. Make a note of their location on the diamond if you spot any. Are they at the center of the table, where they will be seen, or close to the diamond's edge, where the setting could hide them?

 

In conclusion, navigating the intricacies of diamond clarity is essential for anyone seeking to purchase a diamond of exceptional quality and beauty. From understanding the various types of inclusions to selecting the optimal clarity grade, each step plays a crucial role in ensuring the perfect diamond choice. By grasping the nuances of diamond clarity, individuals can make informed decisions that result in acquiring a truly exquisite gemstone, worthy of admiration and appreciation for generations to come.

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