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Diamond Clarity: A Complete Guide

Diamond clarity refers to the visual appearance of internal inclusions in the gem. Clarity falls under the 4 Cs of diamonds and contributes to the valuation of the gemstone. We delve into exactly what diamond inclusions are, how they occur, and the grading scale used to define them.

Meaning of Diamond Clarity

Diamonds are formed when carbon comes under extreme heat and pressure. During this process the diamond clarity occurs. A diamond's clarity is affected by inclusions and blemishes to the stone. Inclusion refers to internal features of the gem, whilst blemishes are those that are on the surface. Inclusions and blemishes can affect the overall appearance of the diamond. Due to the nature in which this precious gemstone is formed, no diamond is perfect, however the closer it is to perfect the greater its clarity.

diamond clarity refers to how flawless the stone is
inclusions in diamonds affect its clarity

The diamond clarity can affect how the stone sparkles. Having inclusions with this gem can impact the refraction of the light, making the diamond less clear and sometimes to even have a cloudy appearance.

Types of Diamond Inclusions & Blemishes

There are a number of different inclusions and blemishes that impact diamond clarity.

Types of inclusions:

  • Bearding - this occurs during the diamond cut and is small hair-like lines that go into the surface of the gemstone.
  • Cavity - a large opening in the gem's surface.
  • Feather - a small fracture internally within the stone, this can be invisible from certain angles and resemble a feather in others.
  • Cloud - refers to a cluster of crystals near to each other. If a cloud is prominent it can affect the diamond's clarity and appearance.
  • Crystal - when a mineral crystal is within the diamond. As these crystals can contrast in color with the stone, this level of diamond clarity is often undesirable.
  • Chip - this is a small opening on the surface of the gem and is manmade by accidental knocks.
  • Knot - a knot is a clear crystal that is present on the surface of a polished diamond.
  • Graining - this too refers to crystals within the gemstone, in this case they have a hazy appearance and can be seen as lines.
blemishes are flaws on the surface of a diamond
there are 11 grades to diamond clarity in 6 categories

Types of diamond blemishes:

  • Polish Line - these occur in the polishing of the diamond - this is how the diamond shape happens. These will only be present on one facet and do not extend to the next.
  • Abrasion - these are a group of small nicks on the surface that can cause the edges to have a white appearance.
  • Natural - this is where an edge has been left as the original surface, e.g. the rough diamond.
  • Nick - this is a small indent on a facet junction.
  • Scratch - a thin line across the diamond's surface.

Diamond Clarity Scale

The Gemstone Institute of America has a diamond clarity scale. This scale is what expert graders will use to identify the clarity of an individual diamond. The scale for diamond clarity is split into 6 categories with 11 grades total within those.

  • FL - These diamonds are flawless
  • IF - Are internally flawless
  • VVS1 & VVS2 - Very, very slightly included
  • VS1 & VS2 - Very Slightly included
  • SI1 & SI2 - Slight included
  • I1, I2, & I3 - Imperfect

When choosing your precious stone, you'll want to pick an eye-clean diamond. This is a diamond that has no inclusions or blemishes visible to the naked eye. After all, it's very unlikely that you'll be examining the diamond clarity of your studded rings under a jeweler's magnifier on a frequent basis.

5 Diamond Clarity Factors

There are 5 factors that go into determining diamond clarity. Each of these is taken into account when grading the clarity of the stone based on its inclusions.

  • Color - The color of blemishes impacts how easily it is seen within the gem compared to the diamond color surrounding it.
  • Size - larger inclusions or blemishes will cause the diamond clarity to be lower.
  • Position - the position of flaws is also taken into consideration. For example, a blemish under the table has a bigger impact on diamond clarity than ones placed elsewhere.
  • Number - how many natural birthmarks the stone has is also an essential factor in determining diamond clarity.
  • Type - the type of inclusion affects not just the diamond clarity but also the durability of the stone.

What are Diamond Clarity Plots?

When grading a D - Z colored diamond, a clarity plot is an important part of the process. A diamond clarity plot is essentially a map to the features of the diamond. The chart will look like the individual stone, reflecting its facets and shape. Each clarity plot has a top and bottom diagram of the gemstone with the imperfections marked on each. Different colors and symbols are used to specifically identify each type of blemish.

The 4 Cs of Diamonds

The 4 Cs contain not only diamond clarity for grading, but three different aspects that all begin with C. These are used by jewelers to determine the quality of each individual precious stone.

  • Carat - diamond carat refers to the weight of the gem.
  • Cut - diamond cut is how the gem is polished and what its facets look like.
  • Color - diamonds range in color, including near colourless, such as H color diamonds. As well as vibrant hues including blue diamonds and black diamonds.
  • Clarity - diamond clarity refers to how many and what type of inclusions and blemishes the gemstone holds.
5 factors that go into grading diamond clarity
eye clean diamonds have inclusions that are not visible to the naked eye

When choosing a diamond gift, you may want to take into consideration each of these 4 Cs to find the gem perfect for your loved one.

Ethical Diamonds at Monica Vinader

In addition to the diamond clarity, another important factor in selecting a dazzling stone is to ensure it is ethical. We only use ethical diamonds in our jewelry. These stones are mined in conditions safe for workers with them paid a fair living wage for their work. All ethical diamonds, including our own abide by the Kimberley Process.

ethical diamonds are essential for fair conditions for miners
 indulge in sparkling diamond pieces with beautiful clarity

Whether you are looking for necklaces laced with diamond pendants, or classic stud earrings housing the gem, we have wearable, modern designs that you'll adore wearing every day.

Why Choose Monica Vinader?

Our collection of stunning jewelry combines sustainable materials with contemporary design. From subtle bracelets, to statement rings, boost your confidence with your new favorite piece today!

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