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What is diamond Clarity?
A Clarity grade is applied to a diamond based on the number, size and position of naturally occurring inclusions and blemishes present in and on the diamond. A diamond inclusion is an internal diamond characteristic and a blemish is external.
Grading the Clarity of a diamond involves determining the number, size and position of the inclusions or blemishes along with how those characteristics affect the overall appearance of the diamond.
The Clarity is one of the key measurements of a diamonds value. The less inclusions or blemishes present in a diamond, the higher the Clarity grade applied to the diamond.
The scale which is used to grade diamond Clarity was created by the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA). This scale helped to standardise the way diamonds are graded across the world.
Almost all diamonds have some inclusions present but there are some out there which don’t have any inclusions. They’re called Flawless diamonds but those diamonds are so rare many experienced jewellers will never have seen one.
What causes inclusions?
As natural diamonds are exposed to intense heat and pressure while they form under the earth’s crust, small imperfections form. These imperfections or inclusions are like birthmarks to the diamond and give each diamond its own uniqueness. When you hear people say ‘no two diamonds are the same’ this is because of the inclusions. Even two diamonds with the same Clarity grade won’t have the same number, size and position of inclusions.
While Lab Grown diamonds aren’t created under the earth’s crust they do still require intense heat and pressure to grow. For this reason, they will also have inclusions in the same way a natural diamond will. They are also graded by the same scale.
The Grading Scale
Diamond Clarity is graded on a scale from FL to I3. Diamonds with a higher grade are rarer which makes those more valuable and higher in cost.
The diamonds we offer here at Angelic Diamonds range from VVS1 to I1 Clarity.
Diamonds graded VS2 and over will often be referred to as ‘eye-clean’ as you won’t see any inclusions visible to the naked eye.
Very very slight inclusions - Diamonds rated VVS1 do not have any visible inclusions even under 10 x magnifications. An excellent quality diamond
Very very slight inclusions - Diamonds rated VVS2 barely have any visible inclusions that are very difficult to see under 10 x magnifications
Very slightly included – Diamonds rated VS1 will have very minor inclusions barely visible under 10 x magnification. A high quality diamond
Very slightly included – Diamonds rated VS2 will have minor inclusions only visible under 10 x magnification.
Slightly included - Diamonds rated SI1 have inclusions that are visible under 10 x magnification but are mostly clean to the naked eye. SI1 clarity diamonds offer very good value for money
Slightly included - Diamonds rated SI2 have inclusions clearly visible under 10 x magnification and likely visible to the naked eye.
Included 1 - Diamonds rated I1 will have inclusions clearly visible to the naked eye. They do however offer incredible value for people that don’t mind the presence of inclusions in a diamond.
Choosing your diamond's Clarity
In most cases, the clarity grade you choose will come down to both personal preference and budget. We say personal preference as there are customers that don’t mind some visible inclusions, they are what make your diamond unique. Having said this, most customers do prefer their diamond without any inclusions visible to the naked eye.
For customers who don’t wish to see any inclusions to the naked eye we always recommend VS2 Clarity as a minimum for diamonds up to 1.00ct. For diamonds over 1.00ct we would recommend VS1 Clarity as a minimum for an eye clean diamond.
For diamonds with a large open table, like the Emerald and Asscher, the shape of those diamonds will highlight any imperfections so we would always recommend opting for an eye-clean diamond such as VS2.