Clarity is a measure of the cleanliness or purity of a diamond.
• Defines the extent of flaws in the stone
• Determines the diamond's ability to allow free passage of light without obstruction or absorption
• Determines the value of the diamond
Flaws in diamonds are of two types:
• A diamond’s natural imperfections
• Permanent tiny spots found within the diamond, mostly invisible to the naked eye
• A diamond’s fingerprints, which contribute to its identification
• Can be white, black, colourless, red or green
Inclusions are not flaws in the strict sense of the term. They are nature's signature on a diamond, akin to birthmarks. Like fingerprints, no two diamonds are identical. Your diamond is identified by inclusions if it is ever lost or stolen.
A diamond's clarity rating is determined by the number, size, type and location of inclusions under 10 x magnifications. The Gemmological Institute of America (GIA), the authority in diamond certification, has developed a professional scale to determine different clarity grades.
• A diamond need not be completely clean to be highly attractive
• Most diamonds bought have varying amounts of internal/external flaws
• Please note that less than 1% of diamonds mined are flawless, and hence the most expensive
Some inclusions affect a diamond's clarity, making it less brilliant, as they interfere with the light reflected. Others can make a gemstone vulnerable to shattering. You don’t have to worry about diamond inclusions as long as they do not affect the stone's strength or seriously impact its appearance.
Diamonds with VVS and VS grades are very good choices. Diamonds with lower clarity grades (S1, S2, and I1), but that are still eye-clean—that is, with no visible inclusions, are more affordable. They are indistinguishable from a higher-clarity diamond when viewed with the naked eye.
The GIA grading of clarity of diamonds translates as follows:
• FL: Completely flawless
• IF: Internally flawless; external flaws present can be removed by further polishing
• VVS1 - VVS2: Only an expert can detect flaws with a 10X microscope. By definition, if an expert can see a flaw from the top of the diamond, it is a VVS2. If the expert can only detect flaws while viewing the bottom of the stone, then it is a VVS1.
Note: VVS1 Clarity Diamonds do not have any internal black marks. They also fall in the "No Dosham" or "No Black" category.
• VS1 - VS2: You can see flaws with a 10X microscope, but it is not obvious (takes more than about 10 seconds to identify the flaw)
• SI1 - SI2: You can see flaws readily with a 10X microscope
• I1 - I3: You can see flaws with the naked eye. Eminently avoidable.
Blemishes are imperfections on a diamond’s exterior surface. Many exterior flaws— nicks, pits, trigons, and polishing lines—are a result of the cutting and polishing process. Depending on their location and size, most blemishes can be polished away, or the diamond can be re-cut to eliminate them.
Surface blemishes can affect a diamond’s clarity and value, but many blemishes have little or no impact on a diamond's appearance.