The clarity of a stone refers to the absence of blemishes, and impurities or a number of other identifying characteristics. The clarity characteristics is what separates one diamond from the other, because there are no two that are the same. There are five identifying factors that laboratories like AGSL and GIA use to identify clarity grade, these include:
- Size: Exactly how small or large the inclusion is in the diamond?
- Number: How many different inclusions can be found in the diamond?
- Position: What is the location of the inclusion? Are the inclusions located near the table, or heart of the stone? This can affect the grade more if the inclusions are near the side facets.
- Nature: Will the inclusions affect the diamond’s durability? Often large feathers will be hazardous depending on the size and position of it within the diamond.
- Relief: Exactly how visible are these inclusions? Darker inclusions are easier to find than white or clear inclusions and so may be graded harshly.
GIA Clarity Grades
GIA has provided us with a number of universally understood methods of being able to describe clarity grades for diamonds. That said there are five different clarity grades as we will look at below.
- FL/IF Diamonds: These are flawless, with no inclusions even under 10x magnification.
- Internally Flawless: There are either no or very insignificant blemishes on the service with no inclusions when looked at under 10x magnification. Usually, blemishes can be removed using minor polish. These are very rare yet beautiful and also expensive diamonds.
- VVS1/VVS2 Diamonds: This stands for Very Very Slightly Included. These often contain very minute inclusions that are difficult for the inexperienced grader to see even under 10x magnification. VVS diamonds are very rare.
- VS1/VS2 Diamonds: Stands for Very Slightly Included. These diamonds have minor inclusions which range from being difficult to easy to see under 10x magnification. These include feathers, distinct clouds and small crystals. Very rarely does a VS stone contain an inclusion visible to the naked eye. These are excellent quality stones.
- Very Slightly Included: Contain minor inclusions that range from difficult to somewhat easy to see under 10x magnification. Typical VS inclusions are small crystals, feathers or distinct clouds. In some rare cases, a VS stone can contain an eye–visible inclusion. Excellent quality diamonds.
- SI1/SI2 Diamonds: These are Slightly Included. The Inclusions can easily be seen under 10x magnification. But they offer great value.
I1/I2/I3 Diamonds: These are Included. These diamonds have many inclusions.
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