Think about the first thing which comes to mind when envisioning a diamond ring or necklace. The chances are high that you will be quite impressed with larger stone sizes (the weight in carats). Of course, other variables such as the cut, color, and clarity might play additional roles. We should nonetheless mention that the clarity (purity) of a diamond is one of the most important factors when determining its value. Let’s take a closer look.
Clarity in Relation to a Diamond
Most naturally formed diamonds will contain inclusions. These are small imperfections such as foreign crystals that become trapped within the stone while it is being formed deep below the surface of the earth under tremendous heat and pressure. While inclusions are common, the fact of the matter is that they can have an impact upon the appearance (and value) of the stone.
How is Clarity Graded by the Experts?
It is always prudent to purchase a stone that has been officially graded by accredited institutes such as the American Gem Society (AGM) or the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Their ratings are highly transparent (no pun intended) and they are recognized by nearly all gemologists. While the PriceScope forum can teach you more about clarity, here is a simple breakdown of the different grades:
- F: A diamond with no flaws even when viewed under high magnification.
- IF: Internally flawless (no inclusions are visible when viewed under 10X magnification).
- VVS1 and VVS2: Small inclusions may be visible under 10X magnification but they cannot be seen with the naked eye.
- VS1 and VS2 (very slightly included): Minor inclusions are present under 10X magnification but they are still invisible to the naked eye.
- SI1 and SI2 (slightly included): Flaws can be seen under magnification and may be visible to the naked eye.
- I1, I2, and I3 (included): Flaws of varying degrees can be seen without a microscope. I3 represents diamonds with the most prevalent flaws.
So, it only stands to reason that diamonds with a grade of F or IF are considered to be very valuable due to their relative rarity.
How Clarity Affects the Appearance of a Diamond
Diamonds are known for their amazing ability to reflect light. However, those with many inclusions can cause light to be scattered in different ways. This may adversely affect the other characteristics of the stone to varying degrees. The size and shape of the inclusion will also determine how it is perceived by the naked eye or under magnification.
High-Clarity Diamonds: The “Clear” Winners
Stones with a flawless or internally flawless rating are obviously quite expensive as a result of their rarity. However, you can also choose diamonds graded a VVS1 or VVS2 due to the fact that they are still truly brilliant examples that may fall within your price range. While color, cut, and carats are always important, never forget that stones of a higher clarity are the “clear” winners.