One of the things that makes diamonds so desirable is their uniqueness – no two diamonds can ever be identical so the wearer can be sure that he or she has something that nobody else in the world possesses.
But what makes a diamond unique? A number of factors are involved, some the result if human intervention including its cut and carat weight and some natural, such as color and clarity.
What Is A Diamond Clarity?
A diamond’s clarity refers to the absence or presence of impurities and/or flaws that affect its transparency. Pure or flawless diamonds are extremely rare and therefore extremely valuable and the vast majority of diamonds exhibit some flaws. These flaws have a contribution to make to the stone’s final value and its final shape and brilliance. However, no two diamonds will have the same impurities or flaws (internal flaws are known as inclusions, surface flaws as blemishes) just as no two people have the same fingerprints so these imperfections can be used to accurately identify your diamond amongst all others. In fact, these inclusions and blemishes, as well as much more scientific data, is included on your diamond’s gemological certificate. Because these characteristics are unique to your diamond, this is an unforgeable ID and can be used to verify the authenticity of the diamond.
A diamond’s clarity is determined by five factors. These are internationally accepted and used standards which ensures that clarity grades will be uniform across the globe.
- Size – the size of the diamond’s inclusion or blemish. Not all imperfections are visible to the naked eye but, as the diamond is microscopically inspected in a geological laboratory, all details will appear on the diamond’s certificate.
- Number– the number of inclusions and/or blemishes found in or on a specific diamond. Whilst the same number of imperfections can obviously found in different diamonds, this is an essential factor in clarity classification.
- Position – another crucial factor in classifying a diamond’s clarity is the position of the imperfections within the stone. This also has an effect on the clarity grade for that particular stone. For example, inclusions and blemishes found in the top half of a diamond (above its girdle) have a greater impact on clarity rating than those found beneath the girdle.
- Nature – This refers to the type of inclusion and its depth inside the stone and to surface blemishes. Some inclusions, known as “feathers”, may even cause physical damage to the stone.
- Relief – Relief assesses the visibility of any imperfection usually by size, position and by color. Darker imperfections are more visible than lighter ones and therefore receive a higher grading. As a rule, the higher the relief grading, the greater the effect on the final clarity rating.
There are five, internationally recognized standards for describing a diamonds clarity:
FL - IF : stones with no imperfections visible to the naked eye or at 10X or less magnification. (Also known as Flawless or Internally Flawless)
VVS1 - VVS2 : Stones with minute inclusions that even an experienced grader using a microscope at 10x magnification has difficulty identifying. (Also known as Very Very Slightly Included)
VS1 - VS2 : Minor inclusions visible under 10x magnification. (Also known as Very Slightly Included).
SI1 - SI2 : Small inclusions and blemishes easily viewable under 10x magnification and sometimes obvious to the naked eye. (Also known as Slightly Included).
I1 - I2 - I3 : Diamonds with significant impurities obvious at 10 magnification and sometimes to the human eye. These stones are usually used for industrial purposes and do not find their way onto the consumer market.