Diamond clarity is what gives a diamond its sparkle and perfection. The less flaws and imperfections inside or on the surface of a diamond, the better the clarity.
There are two types of imperfections that affect the clarity of a diamond. These are called blemishes and inclusions.
A blemish is an exterior flaw, often resulting from the process of cutting and polishing the diamond. Abrasions are also considered blemishes. These are usually caused by wear and tear or from coming in contact with other diamonds.
Flaws and imperfections inside a diamond are called inclusions. It could be in the form of a colored crystal, a black spot (carbon deposit) or a white spot. A crack would be an inclusion. Some cracks are not visible to the naked eye, but others can actually cause a diamond to split. Clouding is another inclusion that greatly affects a diamond’s clarity.
A Perfect Stone:
Perfect stones are very uncommon; however, many flaws are not noticeable unless the diamond is looked at under magnification. Flaws can also be camouflaged within a setting or with added facets in the diamond that deflect light away from the blemish.
Another influence on the clarity of a diamond is the geological environment that the diamond was formed in. Diamonds can also have tiny nicks from wear and tear and polish lines from excessive heat during polishing.
GIA Clarity Grading Scale:
The diamond industry has official grades for the different degrees of clarity:
Flawless (FI) is the highest grading and is reserved for a diamond that is free from all inclusions and blemishes.
Internally Flawless (IF) means that there are no inclusions and only minor blemishes visible at 10x magnification.
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and 2) signify that there are minute inclusions that are extremely difficult to locate at 10x magnification.
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and 2) diamonds have minor inclusions that range from difficult — to somewhat easy — to locate at 10x magnification.
Slightly Included (SI1 or 2) have noticeable inclusions that are easy — to very easy — to locate at 10x magnification.
Imperfect (I1, 2, and 3) diamonds have obvious inclusions usually easy – to very easy — to locate with the naked eye. Some of these I1, 2, and 3 inclusions may even threaten the durability of a stone.
When purchasing a diamond, you should look at the diamond from the top, side, and bottom for blemishes and inclusions. You may even want to look at the diamond under magnification. Purchase your diamonds from a jewelry store with a good reputation. It is also helpful to have your diamond evaluated by an independent appraiser.