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Clarity


Clarity denotes the presence or absence of certain internal characteristics called inclusions and external anomalies called blemishes (usually scratches and nicks on the surface of a diamond).

Clarity is probably one of the most misconstrued criteria, as it is popularly assumed to have a negative impact on valuation. In fact, measures of clarity can help distinguish real diamonds from artificial ones.

The Presence or
Absence of Blemishes



Normally, inclusions have more of an impact on a stone's beauty and value than blemishes, as in most circumstances, blemishes are relatively easy to remove. Inclusions close to the surface can be removed, but their removal reduces the diamond's weight. On the other hand, removing a blemish by recutting or repolishing the diamond normally increases its value. Any loss of weight is usually offset by the enhanced clarity of the diamond.

How Clarity is Graded



There are five factors attributable to characteristics of imperfections
that determine the clarity grade of a diamond,
based on their visibility to a grader.

SIZE
Large or small inclusions.

NUMBER
The number of inclusions that are prominent. Minor inclusions may or may not be taken into consideration.

RELIEF
The visibility of the inclusions. Darker inclusions are more visible than lighter ones; therefore they have a greater impact on the diamond's clarity grade.
NATURE
The type of the inclusions. For instance, large feathers that reach the table or stretch from the crown through the girdle may significantly lower the value of the diamond. The presence of feathers has possibly the largest impact on a diamond's value among all inclusions.
POSITION
The location of the inclusion affects the clarity grade. For instance, inclusions immediately beneath the table of the diamond are more visible than those in other locations. A small inclusion in a location that causes it to be reflected in the facets or other parts of the diamond may also have a negative impact on the value of the diamond.

GIA Clarity Grading Scale



The GIA grading scale for clarity is as follows, from the highest to lowest:

FL

IF

FLAWLESS
No inclusions or blemishes,
and considered the
highest grade.
INTERNALLY FLAWLESS
No inclusions, and
blemishes limited to the
surface. FL and IF
diamonds are rare.

VVS1

VVS2

VS1

VS2

SI1

SI2

VERY VERY SLIGHTLY
INCLUDED (2 GRADES)
Inclusions may be very difficult
to observe even through a 10X
magnification device.
VERY SLIGHTLY INCLUDED
(2 GRADES)
Inclusions such as crystals, small clouds,
or small feathers that may only be visible with great effort under 10X magnification.
SLIGHTLY INCLUDED
(2 GRADES)
Inclusions that are visible to an
experienced grader under 10X
magnification. May also be visible
to the naked eye depending
on their position.

I1

I2

I3

INCLUSIONS (3 GRADES)
Inclusions readily visible under 10X magnification and sometimes
to the naked eye. May also include large feathers or crystals,
negatively affecting the transparency and brilliance of the diamond.
At Hattons, we do not carry this grade of clarity.

Clarity influences value
just as the other 3Cs.
It all boils down to rarity.

A diamond categorized as Flawless (FL) in terms of its clarity is considered extremely rare, as FL is the highest grade assigned by the GIA and connotes the absence of any inclusions or blemishes when viewed through a 10X magnifying device. Most diamonds have inclusions that are visible only under 10X magnification.