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Diamond Clarity

The Four Cs: Clarity

Clarity refers to the imperfections and inclusions contained within the diamond and on the surface of the diamonds. Imperfections or internal feature contained within the diamonds are called inclusions and surface irregularities and imperfections on the surface of the diamond are called blemished. Collectively these are referred to as ‘clarity characteristics’. Clarity refers to the relative absence or presence of these clarity characteristics (inclusions & blemishes). Clarity like the other Four Cs is a value contributing factor to a diamond. Clarity is often interchangeably used with the words ‘quality’ and ‘purity’.

Common Type of Inclusions:

Crystal: Another mineral that is contained entirely within the diamond and formed with the diamond during the formation stages.

Cloud: A collection of tiny-points grouped with each other and difficult to distinguish individually but give a hazy look at the part where they occur.

Feather: A crack or a break in a diamond and gives a feathery and white appearance.

Internal Graining: Line, angle or curves that might appear whitish, colored or reflective or affect transparency at 10x caused by irregular cystal growth.

Knot: A cystal that extend to the surface of the diamond.

Indented Natural: A portion of the rough’s original surface that dips below the polished diamond’s surface.

Needle: Thin elongated cystal that looks like a needle.

Pinpoint: A tiny crystal size of a dot.

Twinning Wisp: A series of pinpoints, clouds or crystals that formed during diamond’s growth in a diamond’s growth plane.

Common Type of Blemishes:

Abrasion: A series of minute scratches and pits along a fashioned diamond’s facet junctions producing white or fuzzy appearance.

Burn: Hazy area on a diamond caused by exposure to heat during polishing or occasionally from a jeweller’s torch.

Extra facet: A facet that’s not common of the cut type. A misplaced facet which otherwise does not form part of the diamond’s faceting plan. Usually found near the girdle of the diamond and may affect diamond symmetry.

Lizard Skin: Wavy or Bumpy area on the surface of a polished diamond.

Natural: A portion of the original rough diamond left on a polished diamond.

Nick: A small notch on a facet junction with no readily apparent depth at 10x, usually along the girdle edge or at the culet.

Pit: A small opening that looks like a tiny white dot at 10x.

Polish Lines: Fire parallel grooves and ridges left by polishing.

Scratch: A dull white line across diamond’s surface without apparent depth.

Surfance graining: Similar to internal graining, except it appears on the surface, results from irregularities in crystal structure.

The GIA Clarity Scale:

The GIA clarity scales grades diamonds for their clarity on the scale of :

Flawless, Internally Flawless, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, I2, I3 

Flawless Diamonds are those which have no inclusion or blemishes while internally flawless are those which may have some tiny blemishes but no internal clarity characteristics.

VVS diamonds contain minute inclusions which are extremely difficult (VVS1) to very difficult (VVS2) to observe at 10x magnification. Typical characteristics are pinpoint, needles, internal graining, tiny feathers and chips.

VS diamonds contain minor inclusion that range from difficult (VS1) to somewhat easy (VS2) to see at 10X magnification. Typical inclusions that might set the grade include small cystals, distinct clouds, feathers etc.

Slightly Included diamond contain noticeable inclusions that are easy (SI1) and very easy (SI2) to see at 10x magnification. Typical inclusion that might set the grade include crystals, feathers, clouds and twinning wisps. However all inclusion types are possible.

Included diamonds are those having obvious inclusions under 10x magnifications and often these inclusions are visible to naked eye. These diamonds lack durability and transparency. They may appear hazy because of the clouds and twinning wisps and may pose a durability risk while being set into jewellery.