Diamond clarity is another very important factor of the 4Cs. This component greatly affects the price of a diamond. A flawless 0.5 carat diamond will cost way more than a SI2 1 carat diamond.
That being said, clarity is even harder to judge objectively compared to cuts. While there may be some calculations to help us is judging cuts, the clarity of a diamond is totally observation based. Even professional bodies like GIA can rate the same diamond differently at different grading time or by different person. Although the variation is seldom more than 1 grade difference if done by trained eyes.
The grading that we see are essentially grading done under 10 times magnification by experts who are trained in assessing the clarity. It is important to get a reputable certification for your diamond.
The grading generally goes like this
FL/IF- Flawless or internally flawless: No inclusions seen
VVS1- Very very small inclusions: Considerable effort needed in 10x magnification to scrutinize the diamond for inclusions
VVS2- Very very small inclusion: Considered spotless to the naked eyes and very difficult to spot in 10 times magnification
VS1 – Very small inclusions: invisible to the clean eye.
VS2 – Very small inclusions: 1% of the population can see these inclusions with their clean eye under close examination.
SI1 to SI2 – Small Inclusions: These are generally easily visible under 10 times magnification and generally difficult to spot to naked eyes of people with good eyesight
I1 and I2 – Inclusions: These are visible to most people under the naked eye.
From the above, we can see how we can optimize your money by choosing the right clarity, rather than the best clarity. Most people do not hold IF diamonds unless it’s for investment/ heirloom etc. Many diamond companies would love you to believe that you need a VVS1 or VVS2. But really, it is unlikely you will be spending much time looking at the diamond under magnification. Therefore, it makes economical sense that a VS grade is all you need for most purposes. That being said, even a SI1 is a good investment especially if it is to be set in a piece of jewelry that will “hide” the flaw well.
There will be other considerations and tips with regards to clarity but I’ll leave that for the later articles. Please post any questions you have below and I’ll be glad to answer.