Clarity on Clarity
Clarity is one of the 4Cs, but what does it actually mean?
In simple terms, how easy is it to see through the diamond? Can you see anything visible and how often does it occur? Imagine a pond, one day it's crystal clear the next it maybe muddy and murky then it could go back to clear with leaves floating on the top. Each day the pond will be different, much like a group of diamonds, there will be a contrast of different characteristics.
Natural diamonds form deep below the earth's surface. Diamonds are made up of carbon atoms which are exposed to a high amount of pressure and heat. As it is a natural process, there can be other 'ingredients' which create internal characteristics known as Inclusions as well as external characteristics called Blemishes. By assessing these characteristics we can gauge the price of the diamond. Examination is done under a 10x magnifying glass, a jewellers loupe, where the assessor can determine the number, size, type and location of the characteristics.
Below is a diagram of the different Clarity ratings of diamonds with the retrospective diamond according to the GIA (Gemological Institute of America).
Flawless (FL): No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
Internally Flawless (IF): No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2): Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2): Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2): Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
Included (I1, I2, and I3): Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance
Other organisations can have different descriptions but all should follow the same principles for each grading.
Flawless is very rare and as a result will increase the price of the stone, whilst Included will obviously decrease the value. But there are other factors that can also impact the price.
The diagram I found above makes it fairly obvious what the differences are when going down