Ah, Clarity, that thing we all seek in our thoughts, day to day decisions and for this blogger, on my yoga mat… so what is Clarity in a Diamond?
Clarity is the degree to which a Diamond is free from inclusions, birthmarks, blemishes, or whatever you want to call them. Inclusions are internal characteristics, and blemishes are external characteristics. For example, a “feather,” or internal fracture that healed itself at the time of the formation of the crystal, would be an example of an inclusion. Something as simple as a scratch on a Diamond is considered a blemish. Easy right?
Remember when we talked about Color and much emphasis was put on Diamonds being graded face down? (I know it’s been a little while.) Well, for Clarity grading, it’s exactly the opposite, Diamonds are graded sparkle side up! They are graded for Clarity under 10 x magnifications preferably using a Microscope. This does take practice because Clarity grading is a professional opinion. The size, number of inclusions, location of them in the stone and whether they are low or high relief (light or dark) all determine the final Clarity grade that The Gemologist will assign to the stone. In the Jewelry trade it’s common practice for two Gemologists to view a diamond separately, each come up with a grade, and then discuss their reasons for grading the stone the way they did. If there is any discrepancy, they will be very close to one another, they will then discuss and then come to a consensus before assigning the final grade. Make sense so far?
So, what’s with all those letters and numbers? The GIA, once again, has come up with an international language for discussing the Clarity of a Diamond.
Here it is:
1.) Flawless (FL)
2.) Internally Flawless (IF)
3.) Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)
4.) Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)
5.) Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)
6.) Included (I1 and I2)
According to GIA grading standards, anything SI2 and up, should not have eye visible inclusions!
That’s right; you heard me, SI2 and up should look the same to the naked eye. There are a few exceptions. Sometimes in larger stones, or Step Cut Diamonds, like Emerald Cut, an inclusion could be noticed.
Under a microscope, one would certainly see the difference between an SI2 and, say a VS2, but otherwise, the difference will be seen in the price. Once again, the rarer a stone is in Clarity, the more expensive it will be. The larger the stone, the more small differences in rarity, will affect the price!
Whew, that was a lot of info! Do you have clarity on Clarity? Are there any questions?
Here is some more information:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond_clarity
UPDATE!!! The Customer shopping for a Sapphire did end up making a purchase from me, the ring is beautiful, and you know what? Not only did he not get “hosed,” he got an excellent value and was able to make an informed purchase, and had fun while doing so. I hope to have earned a customer for life! ~Lisa