As diamonds are naturally occurring and formed deep within the earth, each diamond develops its own unique characteristics that influence the quality of the gem. One of the key characteristics that is developed is the varied degree of “inclusions” (inside the diamond) and “blemishes” (on the surface of the diamond). Clarity refers to the degree to which these characteristics present themselves. The occurrence of more flaws (inclusions and blemishes) can affect the brilliance of the diamond as the path of light through the diamond is disturbed. It is important to note however that the majority of these “imperfections” are microscopic and therefore invisible to the naked eye meaning they do not affect the beauty of a diamond to the common observer. There are five main factors that determine a diamond’s clarity: size, number, position, nature and colour (of inclusions and blemishes) – each of which is scrutinized by a professional gemmologist under 10x magnification and rated accordingly. The majority of diamonds are graded using the GIA’s 11-point diamond clarity scale that can be seen below.
GIA Diamond Clarity Scale
Choosing A Clarity
- We recommended that you choose an “eye-clean” diamond when purchasing your engagement ring or wedding band. Eye-clean diamonds simply refer to those that possess imperfections that are invisible to the untrained eye through the top of the stone. They also provide excellent value for money in comparison to flawless or internally flawless diamonds, which are incredibly rare and therefore tend to demand a higher price.
- If your budget isn’t an issue and you’re after perfection regardless of the cost, opt for flawless, internally flawless or VVS1 and VVS2 diamonds, these are the highest quality diamonds available and will ensure you get the perfection you desire.
- If you would like to see your money go a little further or are looking to get more value for money and want to emphasise the size and colour of the diamond you buy, it is worth considering a diamond with an SI1 or SI2 rating with small inclusions that appear high quality to the naked eye but might have slight imperfections under 10x magnification.
- We advise all clients to avoid l2 or l3 diamonds as they are the lowest clarity grades, lack brilliance and are a lot more prone to chipping and breaking due to inherent flaws in the structure of the diamond.