Learning About Diamond Clarity

December 7, 2015
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Three ‘Cs’ down, just one more to go. Today we are going to be discussing the final C on our list, ‘clarity.’ If you have read the pervious entries on our blog, then you are probably already familiar with the elements of color, cut, and carat. With this, the last piece coming into place, you should feel well enough educated that you can start shopping for your perfect diamond. Remember, this isn’t an easy job, so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask the jewelers at Stewart Kuper.
The Basics of Clarity
Diamonds are graded on clarity based off of the visual appearance of internal characteristics called inclusions, and external flaws called blemishes. There are many different types of inclusions, in fact like snowflakes, no two are the exact same. Inclusions can be the result of foreign material inside the diamond, or it could be a structural flaw. Cracks inside the diamond can occasionally lend it a whitish, cloudy look. Other types of inclusions are knots, cavities, internal graining, and feathers. Inclusions rarely if ever impact the structural integrity of the diamond.
Grading for Clarity
The Gemological Institute of America performs grading based on clarity just as it does for the other of the 4 Cs. Diamonds can receive a grading of flawless, internally flawless, very very slightly included, very slightly included, slightly included, and included. Diamonds which have been graded as flawless are termed ‘FL’, the most included diamonds are termed ‘I3’. In its grading process, the GIA inspects a diamond using a powerful 10x microscope and darkfield illumination. The inspection is incredibly thorough as the diamond is analyzed from every angle. There are other organizations which grade diamonds by clarity, such as the American Gem Society and the European Gemological Laboratory, while they use their own grade scale, they look for the same things as the GIA.