What is Diamond Clarity?
This is a detailed technical page. Please see our diamond clarity page if you want just an overview. Please see our Guide to Buying Engagement Rings if you want to know more about our diamond quality policy that applies to all our engagement rings.
The chart below shows the clarity scale. FL grade diamonds are extremely rare and extraordinarily expensive. "I" grade have visible imperfections. The SI1 - VS2 level is an ideal level between price and quality because above this nobody will ever see the difference unless they examine the diamond very carefully with a 10x magnifying jeweller's loupe.
Is Clarity a Major Consideration When Choosing a Diamond?
The quality of a diamond is determined by its cut, colour and clarity. Its value is also determined by its size, or more accurately its weight as measured in carats. Good advice is to buy the size you want, within your budget, keeping cut at Excellent or Very Good, to ensure good sparkle, and a colour grade above J so that the diamond appears bright white, and the clarity of SI or better.
The Five Factors in Determining Clarity
Size of Inclusion
Larger characteristics will place a diamond in the lower grade even if they are so small they can't be seen by the naked eye.
Number of Inclusions
Generally the more characteristics the lower the clarity grade.
Position of Inclusions
An inclusion is most visible when it is directly under the table (the top, flat part) of the diamond. An inclusion under the table and positioned close to the pavilion facet, will reflect multiple times around the stone, and will therefore have a greater affect on the clarity grade. Inclusions become less visible when they are positioned under the crown facet, or near the girdle of the stone. These inclusions may often be more easily seen from the pavilion side of the diamond than from the crown side of the diamond.
Nature of Inclusion
The characteristic's nature determines whether it is internal (where they extend into the stone) or external (where they are limited to the surface of the stone).
Colour or Relief
Characteristics that contrast with the surrounding diamond are said to have relief. The degree to which this colour and relief are noticeable affects the clarity grade of the diamond. Coloured inclusions invariably show contrast and are more easily seen.
With all these factors taken into consideration, the diamond is then graded on a scale ranging from FL (flawless or 'loupe clean') to Pique (can see imperfections with the naked eye), with the grade assigned based on the overall appearance of the stone under 10x magnification.
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Hopefully we have covered all the important things you need to know about engagement rings. If you still have any questions, please use the enquire button at the top of the page.
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