Diamond Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Diamond Clarity

Diamond Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Diamond Clarity

Selecting a diamond is often a precursor to one of the most exciting, memorable, and important times in your life. A diamond can represent the deep love between two people or act as a symbol and celebration of the commitment and dedication a relationship has had through the test of time. A factor to consider when selecting your dazzling diamond is diamond clarity. Let us help you learn all there is to know about the clarity of diamonds, so you can make your most educated diamond selection.

What is Diamond Clarity?

The Studio Collection Round Center Diamond with Diamond Gallery and Shank Engagement Ring

The clarity of a diamond refers to how flawless a diamond is. Diamond clarity is one aspect used to determine the quality of a diamond. The other factors are cut, color, and carat weight. These factors are frequently called the 4C’s of diamonds.

Clarity of a diamond is determined by the size, number, and appearance of inclusions and blemishes in a diamond. Inclusions are flaws in the diamond itself, and blemishes are imperfections on the surface of the diamond. 

Types of Diamond Inclusions

  • Feather – Crack created during diamond formations, which can affect durability.
  • Pinpoint – Small mineral crystal within a diamond that looks like a tiny dot.
  • Crystal – Crystal within the diamond.
  • Needle – A long thin crystal in the diamond.
  • Cloud – Grouping of pinpoints, which creates a hazy appearance.
  • Twinning wisp – A result of a diamond stopping its formation and then starting again later. Twinning wisps appear as groups of feathers, pinpoints, crystals, and clouds.

Types of Diamond Blemishes

  • Polish lines – Tiny lines and ridges left by a diamond polishing wheel.
  • Scratches – Scratches on the surface of a diamond.
  • Nicks – Small area where an impact has caused a small part of the diamond to break away.
  • Pits – Small cavity on a polished diamond that appears like a white dot.
  • Chips – Small pieces of the diamond that have broken away, typically the result of wear and tear.
  • Breaks – A broken stone, typically a result of a poor diamond cut, compromised ring setting, or everyday damage.
  • Dark or light spots – Often called carbon spots, which occur due to carbon not fully crystallizing in the diamond.

What is the Clarity Scale for Diamonds?

The Studio Collection Trellis Cushion Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

The GIA is the most well-established and used guide for diamond clarity and diamond grade. Most diamonds have some type of imperfection, but many are not visible to the naked eye. The type of characteristics of the flaws determines where the diamond lands on the diamond’s clarity scale and what its diamond grade is. 

Clarity Scale for Diamonds

  • FL (Flawless) – No internal or external flaws. These diamonds are rare and valuable.
  • IF (Internally Flawless) – No internal flaws but some surface flaws. These diamonds are still very rare and valuable.
  • VVS1, VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included) – Minor internal flaws, which are difficult to see even when using 10x magnification.
  • VS1, VS2 (Very Slightly Included) – Minor internal flaws barely visible with 10x magnification. The naked eye cannot detect these flaws.
  • SI1, SI2 (Slightly Included) – Some internal flaws that are visible with 10x magnification and may also be visible to the naked eye.
  • I1, I2, I3 (Included) – Flaws typically affect transparency and brilliance in these diamonds. Less desired.

Does Clarity of a Diamond Matter?

It is important to remember that no diamond is alike, and due to the natural formation process of diamonds, most have some type of flaw or distinct characteristics. While diamond clarity is one of the factors to consider when selecting a diamond, most imperfections that affect the clarity of a diamond are not visible to the naked eye and sometimes cannot even be detected under extreme magnification.

Each diamond is unique, and inclusions or blemishes can add to the one-of-a-kind diamond you are looking for. In many instances, these “flaws” can also be seen as unique features and distinguishing characteristics helping your diamond truly be just for you. These imperfections can also help identify your diamond should it ever be lost or stolen, as most flaws are noted on diamond grading reports.

The Studio Collection Oval Center Diamond with Side Diamond Accents Engagement Ring

Clarity of a diamond can play an important role in a diamond’s appearance and value, especially if the diamond is a larger size, as flaws can be larger or more noticeable in a larger diamond.

5 Variables Affecting Diamond Clarity

  • Number
  • Location
  • Size
  • Color and relief
  • Nature

Clarity of Diamond and Number of Flaws

If there are a number of flaws in the diamond, especially if they are visible, this will affect its diamond clarity and diamond grade. But remember, many flaws cannot be detected under magnification or the naked eye.

Diamond Clarity and Location on Stone

The location of an imperfection is important, as its position can affect how visible it may be. If it is under the diamond table or close to the pavilion, these flaws are often more visible, which can have a bigger impact on diamond clarity.

Clarity of Diamond and Diamond Size

As noted previously, larger diamonds can have more sizable imperfections or be more noticeable. Larger diamonds have more facets, which can sometimes make imperfections more evident. If you are selecting a larger diamond for an engagement ring or other special occasion, it is a good idea to focus on higher clarity scale for diamonds.

Diamond Clarity and Relief

In the world of diamonds, relief means how easily a flaw or imperfection can be seen and the contrast between that characteristic and the rest of the diamond. The higher the relief, the darker the imperfection may appear in contrast to the surrounding diamond. This may result in a lower diamond grade.  

Clarity Of Diamond and Nature

Nature of a diamond describes the type of inclusions that a stone may have as well as how deep they are in the diamond. It also refers to how the inclusion may affect a diamond’s durability.

Best Diamond Shapes for Diamond Clarity

Fink's Exclusive Emerald Cut Engagement Ring with Baguette Side Diamonds

As you are perusing the jewelry cases to find your ideal diamond, it is helpful to know what diamond shapes and cuts bring out the best clarity of a diamond. If sticking to a budget is a priority, diamonds with many facets, like round, cushion, and oval cut options, are excellent choices. These multi-faceted diamond cuts are very efficient at hiding imperfections in lower diamond grades.

If the lovely lady in your life has her heart set on a diamond that is over one carat or is obsessed with an emerald or Asscher cut diamond, it’s a good idea to invest in a diamond with a higher clarity grade. Flaws are more visible in fancy-shaped diamonds as well as higher-carat stones.

Our experts at Fink’s Jewelers are always happy to walk you through all there is to know about diamonds and the clarity scale for diamonds. We know how important and meaningful selecting the perfect stone is. Now that you’ve educated yourself on diamond clarity, stop by one of our Fink’s Jewelers locations and see for yourself what unique diamond catches your eye!