The 4 C’s: Clarity

Clarity ChartIf you are just starting in the process of engagement ring shopping, it’s likely you have heard of the 4 C’s. The 4 C’s are a standard measurement scale of the qualities of a diamond: clarity, cut, carat, and color. To better understand clarity, one of the grading categories, we will outline the classifications and role of clarity on the quality of the diamond.

Clarity may pertain to colorless or colored diamonds. It is determined by the, size, color, severity, and number of inclusions in a diamond. There are five different classes that a diamond may fall in: flawless, very very slight, very slight, slightly included, and included. Within these parameters they are further divided; flawless is split between internally flawless and flawless, and the other categories are separated by numbers. It is common to see them as abbreviations followed by numbers i.e. IF, VVS1, SI2, etc.

Most inclusions present in gem-quality diamonds do not affect the diamonds’ performance or structural integrity. However, if inclusions are large and severe enough it may affect the diamond’s ability to reflect and scatter light.

When choosing a diamond, keep in mind that clarity is the factor that will have the biggest effect on the price. While it may be nice to have a flawless diamond, in truth you will not be able to see the difference between an IF graded diamond and a VS2 or even SI diamond. That is because for a diamond to achieve a grade of VS2 or higher its inclusions can only be visible under 10X magnification, and therefore undetectable by the naked eye. Depending on the stone, SI diamonds may or may not be “eye clean”.

Inclusions will also help you in identifying your diamond. Included in your diamond’s lab certificate is usually a diamond plot, showing a virtual map of your diamond’s inclusions and their locations.

For more information about clarity and choosing a diamond, come down to Secret Sapphire. GIA certified gemologist Monica Tsao can source your perfect diamond and help you custom make it into an engagement ring. Monica is also qualified to give appraisals of loose diamonds and finished jewelry.