When purchasing an engagement ring, diamond earrings, or other diamond jewellery, you make your choice based on the overall design of the piece; however, you might also be interested in knowing more about the diamond or diamonds, which can be explained through the four Cs — cut, colour, carat, and clarity.
All of the diamonds used to create Robert Gatward Jewellers’ rings and jewellery in-house are hand-selected by us, so you can rest assured that each and every one of our diamonds is beautiful and valuable.
However, our diamonds are all unique, and so you still have a choice to make when it comes to finding the diamond that’s perfect for you and your budget.
In this article, we’ll take a look at diamond clarity, what it is, how it’s measured, and what effect it can have on a stone.
What is diamond clarity?
Diamonds are inspected for imperfections on the surface (known as blemishes) and within the stone (known as inclusions), and the diamond’s clarity level is then determined.
While the word “imperfections” gives the impression of huge, ugly marks on or within a diamond, the reality is often that the naked eye can’t see these blemishes and inclusions.
Examples of blemishes include scratches, pits, and breaks.
Examples of inclusions include feathers, crystals, and knots.
Collectively, blemishes and inclusions are known as characteristics.
Factors for grading diamond clarity
Each diamond’s clarity is graded through an assessment of five crucial factors, which are size, position, number, colour, and nature. All of these are taken into consideration during the grading process.
The larger a characteristic is, the more noticeable it is; the more noticeable it is, the lower the final clarity grade of the diamond.
Certain positions within a diamond can highlight a characteristic or make it appear larger than it really is, and these positions will lower a diamond’s overall clarity grade. For example, if a flaw is positioned below the diamond’s table, next to a pavilion, this can be troublesome.
The fewer characteristics in a diamond, the higher the final clarity grade.
The easier a characteristic can be spotted and the more the colour of the characteristic contrasts with the colour of the rest of the diamond, the lower the overall clarity grade.
Certain characteristics are less desirable than others, and some may impact on how durable the stone is — if so, this will result in a lower clarity grade.
Diamond clarity grading
There are officially six categories with 11 clarity grades within them, which we’ve outlined below for you.
FL and IF
FL diamonds are flawless with no characteristics inside or out, making them extremely rare.
IF diamonds are internally flawless, meaning they have no inclusions; they may feature some very, very minor blemishes, but these are certainly not visible to the naked eye or through 10 x magnification. IF diamonds are also very rare.
Jewellery featuring FL or IF diamonds is very expensive to purchase.
VVS1 and VVS2
VVS diamonds are very, very slightly included. These are diamonds with inclusions that are still difficult to see under 10 x magnification.
VS1 and VS2
VS diamonds are very slightly included, but these inclusions are typically not visible to the naked eye or under 10 x magnification.
SI1 and SI2
SI diamonds are slightly included. The inclusions within the diamonds in this category tend to be visible under 10 x magnification and sometimes by the naked eye. However, the inclusions in all of the SI diamonds we hand-select at Robert Gatward Jewellers are only visible under magnification.
SI diamonds are a favourite choice with our customers due to the value for money they represent — an excellent quality diamond at an affordable price.
I1, I2 and I3 or P1, P2, and P3
These diamonds are imperfect, with inclusions visible to the naked eye.
Get in touch if you have a custom order in mind; we’ll be delighted to help.