When a jeweler speaks of the clarity of a diamond they are referring to the amount of and types of inclusions and/or blemishes a diamond has. Inclusions and blemishes are naturally occurring in the mineral and most diamonds will have some sort of inclusion or blemish. Inclusions are imperfections internally and blemishes are external or on the surface of the diamond. The fewer inclusions and blemishes the diamond has the “cleaner” the diamond will be. Diamonds with a very high clarity level are both rare and expensive.
Grading diamonds for clarity is done with either a 10x (power) loupe with a triplet corrected lens or a stereo-optic gem scope. It should be noted that the final grade assessment is given with the diamond table toward the viewer and under 10x magnification. A good direct light source should be employed during grading. At 14 Karat we have private viewing rooms with excellent light sources to accurately examine a diamonds clarity level.
Flawless or Internally flawless diamonds are both extremely rare and expensive. These diamonds will have no inclusions or blemishes (Flawless) or slight blemishes (Internally Flawless).
VVS1 and VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included) are also very clean. Most cannot detect the inclusions even under 10x magnification. These diamonds are best suited to the step-cut variety diamonds such as the Emerald and Asscher as those diamonds do not hide inclusions very easily due to their minimal facet work.
VS1 and VS2 (Very Slightly Included) graded diamonds have very small inclusions which under 10x magnification should be visible and most customers can find them with some practice and patience. They give you a diamond that is virtually guaranteed to be completely “eye clean”.
SI1 and SI2 (Slightly Included) diamonds are the most popular grades. The SI1 grade will produce a diamond that has inclusions visible less than 10x that is fairly easily seen. Most SI1 diamonds will still be clean to the naked eye therefore yielding a great “bang for the buck”. SI2 graded diamonds will also generally be eye clean but can contain inclusions that will be seen with the naked eye under certain lighting conditions. It is best to buy these diamonds on a case by case basis and not assume they are definitely eye clean. They do represent tremendous value if no inclusions are visible.
I1 and lower diamonds are will have large, very noticeable inclusions that can be seen readily with the naked eye.
14 Karat Recommendation on CLARITY
While certain customers are more particular about clarity than others. Most will agree that the goal is to buy a diamond that is clean to the naked eye. Buying a VS1 versus SI1 diamond will not make much sense if both diamonds look the same without a 10x loupe in your hand. A good bang for the buck is always the VS2, SI1 and SI2 graded diamonds.
Clarity “Enhanced” & Laser Drilling/Fracture Filling
14 Karat does not sell diamonds that have been altered from their natural state. We do not suggest you buy diamonds that have been laser drilled/fracture filled or enhanced by any method. You should be wary of any jeweler that sells a diamond by using the term “enhanced” in a positive way or implies that the diamond is better because of these man-made methods. Specific FTC guidelines apply to the sales of these diamonds. If you are looking for a diamond of this nature 14 Karat will not be able to help you.