CLARITY refers to the optical quality or purity of a diamond and is determined according to the presence, or lack thereof, of any internal or external imperfections. The more optically pure, the higher a diamond is valued.
A diamond's clarity rating is based on the presence and visibility of internal flaws (called inclusions) and external flaws (called blemishes). Inclusions are naturally occurring impurities that can become embedded in a diamond during its formation. Blemishes can occur during cutting, polishing and wearing.
Clarity improves when a diamond has fewer flaws. A clarity grade is assigned based on the overall appearance of the diamond under 10x magnification.
Clarity is of the utmost importance when considering colourless diamonds, this is due to its effect on light entering and reflecting within a diamond. The higher the clarity, the more freely and efficiently light can travel, resulting in a more optimal light performance. However, clarity is less important when considering coloured diamonds. As the intensity of the colour increases, particularly within the fancy colour range, clarity becomes even less important.
There are five factors that determine how a major laboratory will assign a clarity grade to a specific diamond -
- Size: How large or small the inclusion is within the diamond.
- Number: How many inclusions are found within the diamond.
- Position: The location of the inclusions within the diamond. Inclusions located under the table or "heart" of the diamond (the upper flat facet of the stone) impact the clarity grade more than inclusions located under the side facets.
- Nature: The degree to which the inclusions affect the durability of a diamond. Large feathers (miniscule fissures) in a diamond can be hazardous depending on their size and position.
- Relief: The degree to which the inclusion is visible. Dark inclusions are easier to locate than white or clear inclusions and may be graded more harshly.
A note about internally flawless stones:
No inclusions and only insignificant blemishes can be seen under 10x magnification. These diamonds are very rare, beautiful and expensive and their blemishes can normally be removed by minor polishing.
- Clarity is a measure of the number and size of the tiny imperfections that occur in almost all diamonds.
- Many of these imperfections are microscopic, and do not affect a diamond's beauty in any discernible way.
BUYER'S TIPS - Which clarity should you choose?
- It is important to select a diamond that does not have any inclusions that affect overall beauty and durability. If you want to be certain that your diamond is "eye clean" (i.e. no inclusions are visible to the unaided eye), select a diamond that is graded VS2 or higher.
- There are great values to be had when shopping for SI quality diamonds. To be certain that a diamond is free of inclusions visible to the naked eye, we recommend that you have it reviewed by our expert staff before finalising your order.
It is always a good idea to balance the clarity grade of your diamond with its colour. If you are interested in diamonds in the D-F colour range, focus on clarity grades of VS2 or higher. For excellent value, look for G-I colour range diamonds with SI clarity.