What’s your diamond’s clarity—the second of the 4Cs

Clarity personified

Clarity personified

Diamonds are under a lot of pressure. Literally. Because they grow deep in the earth, and experience massive heat and pressure, they naturally have certain amount of what the GIA calls “birthmarks”: internal, which are called inclusions, and external, referred to as blemishes.

The GIA Clarity Scale

The fewer the inclusions and blemishes, the higher a gem’s clarity. Perfect diamonds without any flaws are extremely rare. Accordingly, they’re extremely expensive.

There are 11 grades available in the GIA Clarity Scale, with the majority of diamonds ranking VS (very slightly included) or SI (slightly included). The Scale considers the “size, nature, position, color or relief, and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10× magnification.” It ranges from Flawless, VVS (Very, Very, Small), VS (Very Small), SI (Slightly Included), to I (Included). These clarity characteristics generally can’t be seen to the naked eye.

Diamond clarity scale

Diamond clarity scale


Determining clarity when you’re buying a diamond

When you’re looking to buy a diamond, the goal is to get the most for your money. That includes the highest clarity rating you can afford. Slightly included diamonds (SI1 and SI2) have markings that can be seen under the microscope, and sometimes even by eye. They may look like a good value, but the flaws can detract from the brilliance of your stone. At the very least, try to buy a stone that is what’s called “eye-clean,” where the flaws aren’t visible to the naked eye.

Diamonds can have inclusions and blemishes

Diamonds can have blemishes

As always, your best bet is to deal with a reputable jeweler to get the most diamond for your money. You should also consider having a professional appraiser examine the stone.

We’ll be covering the other two “Cs” in upcoming blogs. In the meantime, if you have any questions, or if I can help you with your diamonds, gems, and antiques, let me know.

Brilliantly yours,



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