During a diamond’s formation, carbon crystallises under immense pressures and temperatures to transform into a beautiful stone. Amidst these extraordinary conditions diamonds can form as flawless miracles or diamonds with more noticeable imperfections. These imperfections can be explained as tiny (often microscopic) inclusions and blemishes within the diamond. The measure of these inclusions are referred to as a Diamond’s Clarity, which relates to the internal and external characteristics of the diamond.
Assessing a diamond's clarity describes the inclusions and individual features of the stone to reveal each as a distinct work of art. The presence of inclusions or blemishes within a diamond provides a glimpse into the story behind their formation and reveals their unique characteristics. Clarity is a crucial factor that contributes to their allure, as it unveils the physical makeup of these precious stones and their distinguishing features.
Those diamonds with no visible inclusions/blemishes are the most coveted (Flawless Diamonds) as their ideal clarity allows light to refract with an unparalleled brilliance. The absence of any flaws within these diamonds creates the clearest and brightest sparkle as light can shine through unobstructed. On the other hand, diamonds which contain visible inclusions may appear to look cloudly, dull, contain dark spots or even show small cracks. The visible effect of these imperfections greatly varies based on many factors such as the type of inclusion, the size, and how many are within the stone. Their placement may compromise the sparkle and interfere with light passing through the stone or actually have very little influence at all.
To assess the clarity grade of diamonds, these inclusions are measured against the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) clarity scale. The tiers of Diamond Clarity range from Flawless and Internally Flawless (FL & IF), to Very, Very Slightly included (VVS1 & VVS2), to Very Slightly Included (VS1 & VS2), all the way to Slightly Included (SI1& SI2) and Included (I1, I2, I3). The scale classes diamonds inside categories from Flawless (no inclusion or blemish visible under 10x magnification) to Included (inclusions and marks that are visible to the naked eye) as a way to describe and compare diamond quality.
A trained gemologist will place the diamond under magnification x10 to produce a Clarity Plotting Diagram. The diagram image will closely resemble the shape of the stone and faceting arrangement with a view from above and below of the diamond. It is used to depict the position and type of any inclusions within a diamond. This is a map to help understand if an inclusion may affect a diamond’s transparency and sparkle. These clarity characteristics will be highlighted through different corresponding symbols and identify the type and placement of any inclusions contained within the diamond.
There are various types of diamond inclusions that all have a different impact on the diamond that will appear on the Clarity Plotting Diagram, these include: Crystal inclusions
Crystals are mineral deposits within the diamond that appear during the crystalisation process. They can vary in size and shape.
Clouds are clusters of pinprick-sized crystals that appear hazy when viewed under magnification. The density and size defines the impact on clarity of the diamond.
Needles are long thin crystals within the diamond. They can be clear or coloured and typically have a minimal impact on clarity. Large or densely packed inclusions may affect the brilliance and transparency.
Feather inclusions are microscopic fractures that resemble the texture of a feather. Large feathers/cracks within the diamond can affect the durability of the stone.
Pinpoints are tiny crystals that appear as small dots when viewed under a microscope. They can be single or clustered.
Twinning wisps describe a combination of inclusions formed by twisting or shifting of the crystals as they interlock during the diamond's growth. Lighter wisps are difficult to see.
Based on the position, density, and the amount of inclusions visible within the diamond, trained gemologists will define the stone under one of the following the 11 GIA grades.
The Diamond will be graded under one of the below GIA Clarity Scale classifications:
Flawlesss (FL) and Internally Flawlesss (IF)
The pinnacle of the clarity scale are Flawless Diamonds. These are diamonds which exhibit no inclusions or blemishes even when viewed under 10x magnification. Internally Flawless diamonds may have minor surface blemishes. Flawless Diamonds are the rarest and most prized of all diamonds, admired for their exceptional purity and transparency.
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)
The VVS category includes diamonds with tiny inclusions that are extremely challenging to detect even for skilled graders when placed under 10x magnification. Divided between VVS1 and VVS2 these diamonds maintain exceptional clarity and are highly sought after for their ideal appearances.
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)
Diamonds graded as VS have inclusions that are visible under 10x magnification but are considered minor. VS1 diamond inclusions are extremely difficult to detect and VS2 diamonds are also difficult to discover. Both of these categories offer excellent clarity and offer a great balance between high quality and value.
Slightly Included (SI1 & SI2) The SI category may exhibit inclusions that are visible under 10x magnification. Whilst SI1 is more difficult to detect, SI2 diamonds may have more noticeable inclusions to a trained diamond grader under 10x magnification.
Included (I1, I2 and I3)
Diamonds classified as Included feature inclusions and/or blemishes that are visible to the naked eye. I1 diamonds may have inclusions that are visible but do not detract from the overall beauty of the stone. I2 and I3 diamonds may have more pronounced imperfections that impact their visual appeal. These inclusions may influence a diamond's transparency and sparkle. They may appear cloudy or have a visible line or mark within the stone.
Based on this criteria most Diamonds will fall under the VS (very slightly included) classification, as the majority develop internal inclusions during their formation process. The Diamonds graded as Flawless will be far more scarce and consequently far more expensive.
These definitions will rather allow clients and jewellers to assess a diamond’s quality and be used to distinguish a diamond’s transparency and how it interacts with light. This clarity definition and diagram will provide essential insights into the quality of the diamond and contribute to their value. We always advise clients that it isn’t necessary to only seek and admire a flawless diamond. There are endless beautiful stones with microscopic inclusions (categorised as VVS or VS) that will also offer a spectacular brilliance, fire and scintillation. The naked eye will not see the same imperfections as under a x10 microscope and it will lead to far more available options for your Engagement Ring as well as offering better value for money. Our team can lead you towards Diamonds with optimal light performance and advise on which inclusions will impact the visual appearance of your diamond. Diamond Clarity rather is part of the “Four C’s” to consider which diamond is best suited based on personal preferences and budget. Every diamond has a subtle charm with their inclusions showing part of their formation and unique journey. Rather than flaws, these features are unique in defining the individuality of each diamond and provide a story behind the forces which shaped them. They add character and a distinct beauty to every diamond. When looking at Diamond Clarity you may instead appreciate the nuances of each diamond for the true masterpiece they truly are.
Our Diamond Specialists at Janai can further explain and guide you to choose the ideal diamond for you. To request your appointment with us please fill out the form below and our friendly team will get in touch with you.
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