No two natural diamonds are identical. Clarity refers to the number of natural markings found inside every diamond from the various events in the “life” of a diamond. The natural creation of a diamond by Mother Earth results in each diamond having “clarity characteristics” (aka. blemishes or inclusions).
Most diamonds contain natural ‘inclusions’ that resemble tiny crystals, which are trace elements of other minerals that got trapped when the diamond was being created. These are the birthmarks that make each stone unique. Like a person’s features, a diamond’s “clarity characteristics” also make a diamond unique and identifiable.
The number, size and position of these inclusions affects the value of the diamond. The clarity scale of the Gemological Institute of America ranges from Fl (flawless) to I3 (many inclusions visible without magnification). The interesting note about clarity is that there is no direct link between clarity and beauty of a diamond. “Cut” is the C that determines a diamond’s beauty and brilliance.
Here’s where it gets interesting: Under 40x magnification, these microscopic crystals can be seen within every so-called “flawless” diamond. And without magnification, not even a jeweler can detect the clarity difference between a “flawless” diamond and the much-less-expensive SI1. Clarity, like color, is a measurement of rarity, not beauty. And in the absence of magnification, the less rare SI1 is visually identical to the higher clarity grades, but significantly less expensive, so… We leave it to you to make the right decision for your needs…
Defined by the Gemological Institute of America Diamond Clarity Grade Scale, there are 6 main categories.
- Flawless (FL) – No blemishes or inclusions visible under 10 power magnification
- Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions and only minor blemishes visible under 10 power magnification
- Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Minute inclusions that are extremely difficult (in VVS1) or very difficult (in VVS2) to see under 10 power magnification
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Minor inclusions that are fairly difficult (VS1) or fairly easy (VS2) to see under 10 power magnification
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Noticeable inclusions that are easy (SI1) or very easy (SI2) to see under 10 power magnification
- Included (I1, I2 and I3) – Significant inclusions that are usually visible (I1), easily visible (I2) or obvious (I1) without magnification
If we know one thing in the world, it’s diamonds. Whereas many jewellers have you examine your diamond through a hand-held loupe, Spence’s diamond education includes the use of 10 power magnification Gemscopes , GIA Facetware Cut Estimate software and other certified Gemological Institute of America specialty tools to show you the true colour, cut, and clarity of your diamond. We’re trained to take the mystery out of your diamond hunt – and we’re passionate about helping you find just the right diamond. When you’re finished at Spence, you’ll know diamonds too.