NEED TO KNOW: DIAMOND CLARITY
One of the essential diamond Four Cs is clarity. This classification grades the degree of blemishes and innate inclusions present in a diamond, and in general how clear and flawless it is.
When a diamond is forming deep within the earth, tiny particles of other materials may be included within the stone, other minute diamonds may become trapped inside, or small cracks (known as feathers) may appear and create an opaque effect. These internal features are called inclusions. Cracks or features on the surface of the diamond are called blemishes.
Clarity is graded on a sliding scale, and is listed using combinations of letters and numbers. Flawless diamonds, or those with negligible inclusions, are the rarest and most valuable of all.
Although important, clarity is often one of the ideal categories to compromise on if you are trying to reduce the overall cost of your purchase. Inclusions are blemishes can be almost invisible to the majority of viewers, so ask to see some of the lower bands before deciding on the grade you would like.
Diamond Clarity Chart
When grading a diamond for clarity, lots of things are taken into account – how clear the inclusions or blemishes are under magnification, where and how they are positioned within the diamond, their size, their colour, and of course how many there are.
Diamonds are viewed from the top down when they are graded, and anything that is invisible from this position is ignored. Microscopes are used, but only up to 10 times magnification. These microscopes, and smaller magnifying glasses called loupes, are used to inspect the diamond and note the inclusions, their size and other details. Doing this creates a unique map of each diamond’s flaws, with the listed ‘plots’ allowing each individual diamond to be catalogued and identified.
Diamond clarity grades run from FL to I3. At Queensmith, we do not stock any diamond that comes in lower than SI2.