What Makes Up Clarity?

When it comes to buying and selling diamonds, the clarity of the diamond plays a role. And when it comes to clarity in a diamond, it is important to know that nothing is perfect. But what makes up clarity in the eyes of the diamond market? Well, diamonds have internal features, which we call inclusions, and surface irregularities, which we call blemishes. These are the characteristics that make up the clarity of a diamond and how diamonds get priced. So the better the clarity, the more absent the inclusions and blemishes are. Exposing carbon to a tremendous amount of heat and pressure results in the creation of a diamond. So it is during this pressuring where the creation of inclusions or blemishes occurs.

Blemishes on diamonds includes scratches and nicks on the diamond’s surface. When it comes to inclusions, they are typically on the inside of the diamond, but sometimes they do break the surface of the stone. And sometimes a tiny diamond or another mineral crystal is trapped inside when the diamond forms. So, depending on where these blemishes and inclusions are, they might need to be cut and polished. This effects the appearance of the diamond, as well as the price.

Clarity in Terms of Diamond Value

The characteristics that make up the clarity may wind up having a negative impact on the diamond’s value. However, they are also have a positive impact. Clarity helps gemologists separate diamonds from imitations. This holds more true for included diamonds than flawless ones, since the included ones are harder to fake. No two diamonds have exactly the same inclusions. And why fake an included diamond anyway? On top of that, these inclusions can also help scientists learn how diamonds are formed.

The influence of the clarity on the price is directly tied to the rarity of it. So obviously the flawless diamonds sit at the top of the grading system. A flawless diamond does not have any visible inclusions or blemishes when examined by an authorized grader under a 10-power magnifier. A flawless diamond is very rare. It is actually so rare that many can spend their life in the jewelry industry and never see a flawless diamond. Understandably, these diamonds command top price points.

At the bottom of the system are diamonds with inclusions that can be easily seen by the unaided eye. Most diamonds fall in between the two extremes and make up the bulk of the diamond marketplace.

Clarity Grades

When it comes to the GIA clarity grading system, there are 11 clarity grades in total. Here is how the grading system works

  • Flawless (F)
  • Internally Flawless (IF)
  • Two categories of Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS)
  • Two categories of Very Slight Included (VS)
  • Two categories of Slightly Included (SI)
  • Three categories of Included (I)

The effect of a clarity characteristic on the clarity grade is based on its size, position, number, nature, and color or relief. There is often one factor that makes the biggest difference, negative or positive, when determining the clarity grade. But it is not always the same one, since the relative importance will vary from each diamond. An example is when there is an inclusion off to the side of the stone compared to one of the same size, but right under the table. This inclusion will likely be the determining factor due to where it is positioned. On rare occasions, the inclusion has the potential to damage the stone and thus can affect the grade. But this is rare and only applies to Included diamonds.

Fun fact, but professionals in the diamond industry used to use a set of terms that included the following: very very slightly imperfect, very slightly imperfect, slightly imperfect, and imperfect. However, in recent years, the term imperfect has been replaced with included. This move follows the GIA clarity grading system, that uses included.

Contact Us Today

Lieber & Solow has years of experience working in the diamond industry. We understand the importance of diamond quality factors and how they play a role in determining the price point for any given diamond. For more information about our price points and the diamonds we help sell, please get in touch with us today. The number for our office is 212-354-4060. When you call, we can go over our available price points.