A DIAMOND'S CLARITY
Clarity is one of the most important C's out of 4C's, as out of 4C's clarity and the color is the first thing someone notices
Diamond clarity is a qualitative metric that grades the visual appearance of each diamond. The fewer inclusions and blemishes the diamond has, the better the clarity grade. Because diamonds formed deep within the earth, under extreme heat and pressure, they often contain unique birthmarks, either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes). Clarity describes the presence or absence of inclusions and blemishes within the diamond on its surface. These slight birthmark type indications make every diamond unique. However, they can also affect the beauty and value of the diamond.
These natural birthmarks are often referred to as inclusions. The fewer inclusions a diamond has, the rarer and more valuable it is. Diamonds that contain several inclusions are less brilliant because inclusions can interfere with light passing through the diamond.
Nearly all diamonds have some inclusions as evidence of the natural evolution of the original diamond crystal. Inclusions are like the fingerprint of a stone, but they're different in every diamond and are also known as indicators of a stone's origin.
The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades, they are: Flawless (FL), Internally Flawless (IF), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2), Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2), Included (I1, I2, and I3)
Though flawless diamonds are the rarest, a diamond does not have to be perfect to look amazing. Diamonds with VVS and VS clarity grades are excellent choices for both value and appearance. Even diamonds with an SI rating don't necessarily have visible inclusions and can be a more affordable option. The clarity grade is verified in a grading lab certificate that accompanies your diamond.
Diamond clarity grading is done with specially-designed microscopes, using ten-power magnification. Each diamond is evaluated by multiple gemologists and given one of the following clarity grades:
- Flawless (FL) - These stones have no imperfections inside or on the surface of the stone under the magnification of a loupe 10x magnification.
- Internally Flawless (IF) - No internal flaws. Exceptional, rare, and beautiful diamonds, which are quite expensive.
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2): Very difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification. An excellent quality diamond.
- VS1, VS2 - Inclusions are typically not visible to the naked eye. Less expensive than the VVS1 or VVS2 grades. Even properly graded VS2 diamonds can have visible inclusions in huge sizes or diamonds that do not have many facets that make flaws more visible such as an emerald shape.
- SI1, SI2 - These stones have inclusions that are easy to see under a loupe with a 10 power magnification or visible to the naked eye. Some SI clarity diamonds do have visible inclusions and should be evaluated carefully. SI clarity diamonds can be some of the best values since inclusions are not always visible to the naked eye, and prices are reasonable when compared to higher clarity grades.
- SI3 - Some grading labs can give diamonds an SI3 grade. GIA and AGS do not use this grade, but some other labs do. An SI3 diamond would probably be given an I1 grade by GIA.
- I1 - These stones have inclusions that range from barely visible to very easily seen by the naked eye, but there should only be one major flaw, which cannot be too obvious. Overall, the diamond should still look nice. However, I1 clarity grades vary quite a bit, so they should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis before purchasing them. If your budget only allows for an SI3 or I1 clarity diamond, be sure to examine it thoroughly before purchasing.
- I2, I3 - These diamonds have inclusions visible to the naked eye and can have any combination of black spots, clouds, feathers, or other inclusions that typically detract from the appearance of the diamond
How clarity affects pricing?
One of the most significant determinants for the pricing of a diamond is its clarity. The same diamond possessing an S12 clarity grade will have a lesser price than a diamond holding VVS1 grade on a clarity scale.
Take, for an example, if a diamond is of one carat of weight with a color grade of G and a clarity grade of S12 on the diamond, compared to a diamond of the same size and shape with all other grade scales being the same except the clarity grade was a VVS1. The second diamond sold for almost $10,000 retail, while the first diamond sold for less than half the price because of the quality of clarity rating.
Here, at Benadato, we thoroughly examine the clarity of a diamond with other 3C's for the valuation of a diamond, but we provide the best possible returns for your diamond.
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