Diamonds are known for their beauty, rarity, and value. However, not all diamonds are created equal. One of the most important factors that determine a diamond’s value is its clarity. In this article, we discuss one of the less well known of the 4Cs of diamonds, the importance of clarity, how it is graded, and what the different clarity grades mean.
What is Diamond Clarity?
Diamond clarity is the presence or absence of inclusions in a diamond. Inclusions are internal or external flaws that affect the diamond’s appearance. The size, position, number, and severity of these inclusions determine the diamond’s clarity grade.
Since most inclusions are too small to be seen with the naked eye, diamonds are graded at 10x magnification. Diamond graders plot the inclusions they see on a diagram, which is included in the diamond grading report. The clarity grade is then determined on a scale of decreasing clarity from Flawless (FL) to Included 3 (I3).
The clarity scale was created in the 1950s by Richard T. Liddicoat Jr., a former president of GIA, to standardize the way diamonds are graded. The scale consists of 11 grades, from FL to I3. The verbal descriptors most commonly used are Flawless, Internally Flawless, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, I2, and I3.
What do Clarity Grades Mean?
Flawless or Internally Flawless (AGS 0)
Flawless diamonds have no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification. Internally Flawless diamonds have no inclusions visible under 10x magnification but may have very minor blemishes that are confined to the surface only.
VVS (AGS 1 or 2)
Diamonds with a clarity grade of VVS1 or VVS2 have minute inclusions that are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.
VS (AGS 3 or 4)
Very Slightly Included diamonds with a clarity grade of VS1 or VS2 have minor inclusions that are visible under 10x magnification.
SI (AGS 5, 6, or 7)
Slightly Included diamonds with a clarity grade of SI1, SI2 have noticeable inclusions that are fairly easy to see under 10x magnification. Sometimes, these inclusions can be visible to the naked eye.
I (AGS 7, 8, 9, or 10)
Included diamonds with a clarity grade of I1, I2, or I3 have inclusions that are obvious at 10x magnification. Sometimes, they can be seen with the naked eye. At the lower clarities, these inclusions may have an effect on the diamond’s durability.
Why is Clarity Important?
Clarity is important in the value of a diamond because it affects its appearance and rarity. Diamonds with a higher clarity grade are rarer and more valuable than diamonds with lower clarity grades. Inclusions can also affect the diamond’s brilliance, fire, and sparkle, which are important factors in determining its beauty.
In conclusion, diamond clarity is an important factor to consider when purchasing a diamond. The clarity grade indicates the presence and severity of inclusions in a diamond, and it affects its rarity and value. While diamonds with higher clarity grades are more valuable, the choice ultimately depends on personal preference and budget. It is important to consult with a reputable jeweller and understand the 4Cs of diamonds to make an informed decision.
Clarity at Commins & Co.
In Ireland, diamonds with the clarity grade of SI1 or SI2 are the most commonly purchased diamonds. It is important to note that the quality of an SI2 varies from diamond to diamond. Some SI2’s are eye clean, with others having visible blemishes. At Commins & Co Jewellers, our experts hand pick the best SI2’s. This is through our network of diamond suppliers making sure they are the eye clean diamonds our customers look for.