A Simple Way to Understand the Clarity of Diamonds

a beautiful lake in the Kings Canyon Wilderness
a beautiful lake in the Kings Canyon Wilderness

Lake Marjorie, Kings Canyon National Park by SteveD via Flickr

Clarity is important.

It’s the difference between swimming in a crystal-clear lake fed by spring runoff and swimming around the Jersey Shore.

Years ago, a group of diamond graders and gemologists at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) came up with a system of defining clarity in diamonds so that diamonds could be evaluated consistently.

That way, buyers knew what they were buying.

When it comes to diamonds, knowing the language of clarity can mean purchasing a diamond that’s closer to a crystal-clear lake rather than a questionable Jersey Shore.

We at The Diamond Supplier want you to know what you’re getting into, so to speak, because buying diamonds online is easy. With a few clicks on our web site, you can purchase beautiful loose diamonds at insanely affordable prices, all with free shipping.

But this means you need to know all about clarity. Here’s an easy way to figure it all out.

Your Blemishes Aren’t Showing

Diamond graders check diamond clarity at 10X magnification. Talk about close-up.A vintage style engagement ring

Graders primarily look for two kinds of flaws in diamonds, inclusions and blemishes. Blemishes relate to surface marks, things like nicks and chips and scratches.

Inclusions relate to more internal characteristics, things like cavities, knots, and growth crystals.

Blemishes and inclusions aren’t all bad. Just like pretty faces, certain blemishes and inclusions give diamonds character and uniqueness.

Don’t Be a Perfectionist

When you think about buying a product, finding a flawless version of that product would be challenging but well worth it, right?

You may need to think more broadly when buying a diamond. Sometimes called “museum-quality” diamonds, flawless diamonds are very rare, so you’ll most likely be considering stones that are less than perfect.

Don’t worry. Most imperfections in diamonds can’t be seen with the naked eye and I don’t know too many people who carry around jeweler’s magnifying glasses in their pockets.A table showing the levels of clarity in diamonds

If you notice the chart, VVS diamonds have inclusions that can’t be seen easily under 10X magnification. That means superb quality, especially to the naked eye.

Diamonds in the IF category cost more but can only be discerned under magnification. If I were on a tight budget, I would keep my search in the VS and SI categories because I could buy a stunning diamond at an affordable price.

If price weren’t an issue?

I may still shop in the VS and SI categories so that I could spend that extra money on a trip for two to a cabin overlooking a crystal-clear mountain lake.

We hope this guide helps you understand clarity when it comes to diamonds next time you buy. This is the third part of a four-part blog series: The 4Cs Diamond Buying Guide.

You can read the first part about color here or the second part about cut here.

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