A diamond’s clarity plays a very important role in its overall value. This is because one of the main aspects of the beauty of a diamond lies in its appearance, and the clearer the stone the more magnificent it looks. It is obviously ideal for the diamond to be as clear as possible and void of any blemish. However, with color diamonds it is a different ball game altogether. It is no secret that color plays the key role when talking about natural fancy color diamonds. Although, the level of clarity is still an important factor, it should not be considered be-all and end-all. The following will describe why the diamond’s clarity is so important and what clarity has to do with the value of the diamond.
Clarity Grades and the Clarity Scale
Diamonds are natural gemstones. Like anything in Nature, there are diamonds that are full of blemishes, diamonds that are basically flawless, and everything in between. The term diamond clarity refers to the amount of internal and external inclusions of the diamond compared to its overall appearance. Every stone is analyzed and then graded based on the GIA clarity grading system. Unlike the color scale, which is entirely different between colorless and fancy color diamonds, it is the very same clarity grading scale used for both. It is divided into six categories, some of which have several clarity grades. Below is the clarity scale complete with all of the various clarity grades.
FL – Flawless
|A stone that is completely flawless. This is an extremely rare find.|
IF – Internally Flawless
|A stone that has no internal flaws at all but does have surface flaws. Also, an extremely rare find.|
|VVS1/VVS2 – Very Very Slight Inclusion||A stone with very small internal inclusions. These inclusions can only be determined with a X30 magnification.|
|VS1/VS2 – Very Slight Inclusion||A stone with very small internal inclusions. These inclusions can be determined with a X10 magnification.|
SI1/SI2 – Slight Inclusion
|A stone that has slight inclusions that can be determined with a X10 magnification.|
|I1/I2/I3 (P1/P2/P3) – Inclusion or Pique||A stone that has inclusions most often visible with the naked eye. Inclusions of this level drastically bring down the diamonds value.|
Types of Imperfections within Color Diamonds
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Though the clarity is not as important with color diamonds as it is with colorless ones, it still plays a significant role. Here is a breakdown of the types of imperfections found in color diamonds.
‘White Spots,’ also known as ’icy inclusions,’ can have a negative impact on a color diamond. The spot creates a milky and opaque area in the stone and affects the overall visual appearance of the diamond. However, depending on the color and size of the inclusion, the color and size of the stone, as well as the location where the inclusion is found, especially in the case of a color diamond it may not be all that noticeable. Though the blemish will bring down the clarity grade, it will also bring down the price giving you a good deal for something that may not be discernible. Naturally, the higher the clarity grade, the greater the value will be. Only, as a result of how rare fancy color diamonds are, sometimes even a relatively low clarity diamond is the best one can find available in the market.
‘Black spots’ are parts of the diamond that never crystallized and unfortunately can be quite noticeable. Due to the nature of these blemishes, it is difficult to miss them. However, there are some occasions, where depending on the color of the stone, that even a dark spot will be hidden. Both White and Block spots can be found in many different forms (such as ‘feathers’ and ‘needle points’) but essentially all have the potential to ruin the luster of the stone.
How Inclusions Affect a Color Diamond’s Appearance and Value
Though the clarity level of a diamond is important to be aware of, there are other factors to bear in mind. For instance, how big is the inclusion and where is it located? It is preferred that the inclusion be along the girdle or in the pavilion and not in the table where it is far more noticeable. Inclusions found in the table are most often more obvious than those found among other diamond facets. Furthermore, if the diamond is set in a piece of jewelry, depending on the location of the blemish it could be hidden by the setting in which the diamond is placed. Any diamond with a substantial blemish will receive a lower clarity grade. This could affect your purchase negatively if it is an external blemish, but if it is something barely noticeable, it can work in your favor.
In regards to color diamonds, focus on unique and intense color diamonds. Most inclusions are less of an issue with color diamonds, as the stones’ are already so rarely found, not to mention that the diamonds natural colors can mask the blemishes.
This article was written by Benji Margolese, Marketing manager of Leibish & Co. Founded in 1979, Leibish & Co. is the world’s premier online resource for natural fancy colored diamonds. Based in Ramat Gan, Israel, and with customers around the globe, Leibish enjoys an unparalleled reputation for integrity and service. The Company offers a wide array of GIA-certified colored stones as well as a unique collection of multi-colored diamond jewelry designed in-house such as fancy yellow diamonds. The Leibish & Co. website features a comprehensive knowledge center for the Fancy Colored Diamond Industry, including informative articles about diamonds as an investment and also offers a direct purchasing channel for global buyers.
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