Diamonds are graded on 4 C's: clarity, cut, color, and carat.
What is Clarity?
Clarity refers to the visual appearance of a diamond. It is measured through both a magnifier and eye visibility and is graded by examining the appearance of inclusions and blemishes in a diamond. Inclusions refer to the internal imperfections and blemishes refer to the flaws that affect the diamond's surface. The absence of inclusions and blemishes creates a higher clarity grading.
Natural Diamonds are formed when carbon is exposed to heat and pressure deep within the earth. Thus, inclusions and blemishes are apart of the natural formation of diamonds.
A diamond's clarity is graded from Flawless (FL) to Included (i3).
Flawless diamonds have no inclusions or blemishes, even under a 10x magnifier. They are their name: flawless. A FL diamond is the top clarity grading. Internally Flawless (IF) diamonds have no visible inclusions; however, they have very minor blemishes inside the diamond underneath a 10x magnifier. FL and IF diamonds are very rare, making them premium and high price diamonds.
Anything from VVS1 to Si1, you will need to have a high power magnification to see inclusions in the diamonds. They are clean to the naked eye, but when viewing through a 10x magnifier, have inclusions. For these gradings, the lower the clarity grading, the more inclusions the diamond will have.
Many inclusions and blemishes are too tiny to be seen by anyone other than a trained diamond grader. To the naked eye, a VS1 and an Si2 diamond may look exactly the same, but these diamonds are quite different in terms of overall quality.
For the clarity grading of i2 and i3, the diamonds tend to start looking like a salt and pepper diamond, meaning you will start to see the inclusions with your eyes without a magnifier.
Who Grades the Diamonds?
GIA (Gemological Institute of America) has the highest grading in the industry. IGI (International Gemologist Institute) does not grade as strategically as GIA and, when compared, grades higher. All that to say, if you see the same clarity grade on a cert from IGI, the diamond will not be the same quality as the same clarity grade on a cert from GIA.
All of our natural brilliant cut diamonds are GIA certified. When you purchase your diamond, you will get a diamond cert that tells you the diamond's clarity, color, cut, and a map of its inclusions.
Both GIA and IGI grade a diamond's clarity by humans, and although we trust the GIA grading, we also know that since they are graded by humans, it's important to double check the quality and make sure we stand by the clarity as well. Working with a jeweler in the industry that has a trained eye and knows their diamonds is crucial to providing you the diamond clarity you desire.
With 20+ years of learning and working with diamonds, and occurring a brilliant trained eye, we are all about getting you the best! (And also, the best for your budget.)
The Importance of Working with a Jeweler you Trust
As we have been working with diamonds for 20+ years, we have a trained eye to double check and provide you with the diamond clarity you desire and can afford.
Clarity affects the brilliance of the diamond as well. A great entry level, eye clean diamond that is super great on the budget is going to be i1- but an i1 that we have hand selected. Not all i1’s are the same; however, we have a knack for curating i1 diamonds that are completely eye clean. This is not always the case and emphasizes why you need a trusted jeweler who has eyes on your diamond to select the absolute best. This is a great budget friendly clarity option. If you're wanting a larger diamond, but a better price point, this is one area to save. We have worked with some beautiful i1's that would give a VS2 a run for its money.
(When a diamond receives its grade, it is graded on the clarity, but also the other 3 C's. This is why a diamond's clarity can be absolutely breathtaking in an i1; because the other C's have contributed to its overall appearance in the diamond.)
A great entry level diamond for clarity is an Si1. If clarity is super important to you, and you are only interested in the best for the one you love, VS1 is a great clarity to consider. We can also make recommendations for you based on your diamond desire because everyone (and their budget) is so different. We are happy to help you navigate in all areas!
If you are planning to buy a diamond from us and you’re not near by, it's always a great idea to go into your local jewelry store to see some of the clarity options in person to see which one you prefer.
What's the price difference?
The price goes up incrementally every time you go up in clarity.
What are the Different Kinds of Inclusions?
As described above, clarity is graded by a diamonds visual appearance and if it has inclusions and/or blemishes. There are different kinds of inclusions that affect the grading of a diamond's clarity. Here are a few:
Feather inclusions look like a white vein.
Cloud inclusions cause a diamond to not be as vibrant, but rather appear cloudy. A cloud inclusion lessens the sparkle of the diamond.
Black ink inclusions are created from when carbon never fully crystalized in the diamond and the diamond now appears with a black marking or spot.
There are also lots of other inclusions, such as: pinpoint, twining wisps, internal mineral crystals, needles, extra faucets, polish lines, laser drill hole, chip, cavity, bruise, etch channel, indented natural, natural and pits. There are many different types of inclusions, but ultimately what matters is where the inclusion is located in the diamond as to how it will affect the clarity. Inclusions are not as noticeable if they are not in the table (the center of the diamond), but rather if they are in the girdle (the outside of the diamond).
So, how do you decide which Clarity is for you?
The determining factor in deciding your diamond's clarity is the amount of inclusions you desire in a ring and whether you have a preference if they are visible to your naked eye or not. The differences in clarity can be so subtle, so you have to know what’s important to you and your desired budget.
We acknowledge understanding clarity can be a lot, so we are here to help you! Click on our Custom Design Request to start the exciting process of finding your dream diamond. It's our joy to help you and bring your love story to life!