What Does Diamond Clarity Mean?

May 20, 2019 By swj-eric

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If you’ve ever purchased, received, or looked to sell diamonds, you’ve likely heard of the 4Cs of Diamond Quality: carat, color, clarity, and cut.

The 4Cs are the worldwide standard for determining the overall quality of a diamond.

Carat is the weight of a diamond; color (or absence of) is how well light reflects off a diamond; and cut is the style (i.e., princess, round, oval), as well as the most technically complex feature of a diamond that influences the stone’s brightness.

So, what does diamond clarity mean?

According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), diamond clarity refers to the “absence of inclusions and blemishes” within the diamond. To fully understand what inclusions and blemishes are, you need to know how a diamond forms.

How diamonds form

Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to heat and pressure. This happens deep within the earth, hence “diamond mines” are where diamonds are excavated, in countries such as Botswana, Russia, and Canada.

As carbon heats to a high temperature under great pressure below the surface of the earth, the process often results in both internal and external imperfections within the diamond. The internal imperfections are called “inclusions” and the external characteristics are called “blemishes.”

The diamond clarity scale

As part of the universal grading system to determine a diamond’s worth, diamonds have their own clarity scale: The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale. This system has six main categories with sub-categories, for a total of 11 specific grades of diamond clarity, as follows, from highest quality to lowest:

  1. Flawless (FL) A flawless diamond is shear perfection. It has no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification. This is the rarest diamond of the highest clarity.
  2. Internally Flawless (IF) An internally flawless diamond has no inclusions visible under 10x magnification. These are also rare and of extremely high quality and clarity.
  3. Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) VVS1 and VVS2 diamonds have such minor inclusions that they are often difficult for even a highly skilled diamond grader to see under 10x magnification.
  4. Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) While a trained gemologist can see these inclusions with effort under 10x magnification, VS1 and VS2 diamonds are still considered very minor inclusions and high clarity.
  5. Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Diamonds with S1 and S2 clarity rating have inclusions that are noticeable under 10x magnification. Some are visible to the naked eye as well.
  6. Included (I1, I2, and I3) The inclusions of I1, I2, and I3 diamonds are obvious under 10x magnification and can affect their brilliance and transparency to the naked eye. In most cases, diamonds with these inclusion clarity grades aren’t recommended for diamond jewelry.

Diamond clarity matters when you get an appraisal

If you’re interested in selling your diamond jewelry, clarity matters — and so does the expertise of your appraiser. You want top dollar for your diamonds and other precious gemstones, and here at Southwest Jewelry Buyers, our highly skilled gemologists are certified by the GIA.

We know exactly what to look for when we inspect your diamonds under the microscope, grade them, and assess their value. That way, you know you’re getting the highest prices for your diamonds, gold, platinum, and silver jewelry.

Since 2000, Southwest Jewelry Buyers has specialized in appraising and buying diamonds from .50 carats to 10+carats for our clients in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona. And our award-winning customer service, backed by our A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau is second to none.

Find out about the clarity of your diamonds, and get an honest, no-obligation, confidential appraisal today. Call us or click to schedule an appointment.