When viewing a GIA diamond report, clarity is one of the aspects that most people pay attention to (well, mostly because of the plot diagram since we are mentally more receptive to images).
While it’s true that the clarity rating listed on a grading report affects the overall value of a diamond, they don’t quite tell the complete story about the stone or the imperfections look like in reality.
Clarity refers to the surface irregularities (blemishes) and internal (inclusions) features of a polished diamond. Collectively, these blemishes and inclusions are termed as the diamond’s clarity characteristics.
A flawless diamond is one with the highest clarity grade (FL), which means there are no visible inclusions or blemishes on the stone (seen at 10x magnification). In real life, this is something that is rarely encountered as the vast majority of diamonds have some degree of imperfections.
Needless to say, the fewer clarity features a diamond has, the rarer it is and the more valuable it becomes. It should come as no surprise that some of the world’s most expensive diamonds have a good combination of color and clarity ratings.
Having said that, I want to point out that a high clarity or color rating does not guarantee a stunning looking diamond. Instead, the beauty a diamond is largely determined by the cut quality it possesses.
Clarity characteristics are an integral part of a naturally formed diamond. During its formation process, imperfections are created in a sequence of chaotic events deep within the Earth and it doesn’t end there. Besides forces of nature, the rough diamond mining and polishing process also constitute towards the ultimate condition of the diamond.
Since no two diamonds are alike and do not have the same exact flaws in similar locations, clarity characteristics behave like fingerprints. This unique feature allows you to accurately identify one diamond from another easily.
During the grading process, clarity characteristics are identified by trained graders and their locations are plotted onto representative diagrams. Blemishes (marked in green) and inclusions (marked in red) are indicated clearly in both the diamond’s face-up and pavilion views.
For first timers, it may look a little complicated due to the different types of symbols used to depict inclusions. Don’t worry, that’s what I’m going to address shortly. To help you get a better understanding of various inclusion types, check out the photographs and illustrations on the following page…