Anyone who has ever been presented with a diamond by a professional jeweler was likely introduced to the four C’s. These represent cut, color, carat weight, and clarity. While each metric is obviously important, clarity will have a massive and undeniable impact upon its overall appearance. The only issue is that the concept of clarity can be a bit tricky to understand at first glance.
What exactly is clarity? Why is clarity so important when grading diamonds? Are there different levels and if so, how will these affect the price of a stone? If you are curious to learn more, you have come to the right place. Let’s examine these questions below.
Diamond Clarity Defined
The majority of gemstones will have certain flaws which are known as “inclusions” by industry professionals. Inclusions are small imperfections which impact the clarity of the stone in question. Some of these can be seen by the naked eye while others are only visible once the gem is placed under magnification. As you might have already guessed, any natural diamond is partially assessed based upon the number, size and location of these inclusions. This is how clarity is ultimately determined.
How Clarity Impacts the Grade of a Diamond
Any diamond will partially be graded based upon its natural clarity. There are actually numerous different grades which will be assigned to a stone in accordance with this clarity. Here is a breakdown of clarity grades:
- Internally Flawless
- VVS (very, very slightly included)
- VS (very slightly included).
- SI (slightly included)
- I (included)
Flawless and internally flawless stones are extremely rare. Therefore, these are also the most expensive options on the market. As we descend through the table above, the inclusions (flaws) become more apparent. Therefore, the price of the diamond in question is also impacted.
Types of Flaws
There are many types of flaws which can impact the clarity of a diamond. Some may appear as hair-like features around the periphery (known as “bearding”) while others include cavities, cloudy regions and separate crystals which are actually found within the main diamond itself. The size of these flaws and where they are present will all affect the outer appearance of the stone.
Making the Right Decision
Even diamonds of lower grades (such as very slightly included or slightly included) are still stunning to behold. Of course, those who happen to be on a budget should choose these options due to their relatively cost-effective nature. Another important point to keep in mind is that smaller stones are more likely to visually mask the flaws highlighted above. Other factors include the cut and color. This is also why a growing number of consumers are turning to the online community in order to find the right diamond for their particular taste and budget. We can now see why selecting the right clarity is the “clear” way to pick a winner!