Diamond Clarity: Inclusions and Blemishes

Since diamonds are made by natural processes, they usually come with certain clarity characteristics, or imperfections, which affect their appearance. In particular, surface irregularities such as scratches, nicks, and polish lines are called blemishes while internal features such as knots, cavities, and crystals are called inclusions. The fewer of these imperfections the diamond contains, the higher we consider its clarity.

Evaluation of Diamond Clarity

When trying to evaluate the clarity of a particular diamond, a gemologist will carefully examine the stone’s inclusions and blemishes and take note of their:

  • Size
  • Number
  • Position
  • Nature
  • Colour (Relief)

In particular, nature refers to whether the characteristic extends into the interior of the stone or only affects its surface. With regards to colour, an imperfection is said to have relief when it contrasts with the diamond surrounding it. All of these qualities are examined under a 10x magnification to give the gemologist an excellent idea about clarity of that particular stone. After examination, a diamond with fewer imperfections will be deemed of higher quality and rarity.

The GIA Clarity Scale

In the 1950s, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) made the world’s first clarity scale for diamonds. This has been modified over the years until today we have the following grades:

  • Flawless (FL)
  • Internally Flawless (IF)
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2)
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2)
  • Slightly Included (SI1, SI2)
  • Included (I1, I2, I3)

A “flawless” diamond has no inclusions or blemishes under 10x magnification. These stones are so rare that an experienced jeweller may never see one in his or her lifetime. An internally flawless diamond is free from inclusions at the same level of magnification. The other grades vary as the clarity characteristics affect the overall gem quality. For instance, VVS1 stones feature inclusions and blemishes which are highly difficult to see while I3 diamonds will have clarity characteristics that are very obvious.

The Importance of Grading

Without a trained eye, it can be difficult to see the difference between a VS1 and an SI2 graded diamond. The rarity, quality, and value of the stone can thus vary quite significantly without any noticeable external effects. For this reason, it is important to get a stone evaluated by a qualified diamond grader before you purchase jewellery. ARMANS is one of the most experienced jewellers who can provide you with an assessment of your diamond earrings or engagement rings in Sydney. With a proper assessment of a diamond’s clarity, quality, rarity, and value of the stone can be evaluated and the final price of the piece accurately provided.