A Closer Look at ClarityNov 16th, 2018
If you’re preparing to make a large jewelry purchase in time for the holidays – hint hint, nudge nudge fellas – then it’s important that you feel confident and prepared to make your selection. Back in July, we published a detailed engagement ring guide to help you get started. Now we’re taking a deeper dive with a look at one of the most widely misunderstood elements of diamond purchasing – gemstone clarity.
To begin, let’s just refresh ourselves on the definition of clarity in this context. When jewelers and diamond experts refer to the clarity of a stone, they’re talking about the presence or absence of characteristics called inclusions and blemishes. Blemishes are surface defects in the stone, while inclusions are internal flaws. They may be caused by small crystals of a foreign material trapped inside the diamond during its formation or may be structural imperfections such as tiny cracks. Regardless, these imperfections can impact the appearance, quality and, therefore, the value of a diamond.
In order to determine how the inclusions and blemishes impact value in diamonds, jewelers use a grading scale from the most rare, Flawless (FL), to the least rare, Included (I3). The entire clarity scale includes six categories, some of which are subdivided to make a total of eleven specific diamond grades. Stones with a Flawless grade will be free from any inclusions or blemishes under 10x magnification. Meanwhile, the next grade – Internally Flawless (IF) – may have some blemishes visible under 10x, but will have no inclusions visible.
The distinctions between the grades are very slight, and often a trained gemologist is needed to make the determination between one grade and the next. While we don’t expect you to be expert graders just to make one purchase, we think it’s important to know that your diamond will be graded on the basis of five clarity factors: size, number, position, nature, and color. All of these factors will ultimately play a role in the diamond’s final clarity grade, and in the end, only 20% of all diamonds mined will be awarded a clarity rating high enough to be considered appropriate for use in jewelry.
To learn more about diamonds, and how the right setting can make your diamond truly precious, come take a tour of our Southern Indiana showroom! Our in-house experts will be happy to help you make an educated and confident choice in your next jewelry purchase.