The 4 C's: Clarity
Welcome to part three of my four part series on The 4 C’s! Simply put, the 4 C’s are a mnemonic device used to characterize a faceted diamond – carat, cut, clarity, and color! Comfortability with these characterizations are really important when choosing a diamond because you want a beautiful one to grace her finger! Last week, we delved into the importance of Cut (www.angelacisneros.com/post/the-4-c-s-cut ), and this week, we examine Clarity!
Prior to Robert Shipley (founder of The Gemological Institute of America www.gia.edu ) creating the 4 C’s, every diamond seller had their own standards and language to describe a diamond’s characterizations. This made things confusing and very difficult for consumers to know what they were buying. Since their inception in the 1930’s, the 4 C’s have become a globally accepted standard giving consumers confidence in making a diamond purchase!
A diamond is graded under 10x magnification and will have one of the following grades:
Flawless (FL) - No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
Internally Flawless (IF) - No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) - Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) - Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification
Included (I1, I2, and I3) - Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance
*Inclusions are inside the diamond, and blemishes are on the surface of the diamond*
An important aspect of clarity is relief or contrast. Inclusions can be black, colorful, or clear depending on the type. I recommend a diamond with clear inclusions, as the black or colorful inclusions can be visible to the naked eye and stick out like a sore thumb, like an ink stain on a white shirt!
One thing to consider is that a diamond with a black inclusion and a diamond with a clear inclusion can have the same Clarity grade. That is why it is SO IMPORTANT to see a diamond in person, preferably with a microscope, BEFORE you buy one! I am a Graduate Gemologist who has been trained to grade diamonds and read lab reports, but even I would never buy a diamond without seeing it in person!
Inclusions are not always bad, though! If they are not prohibiting the beauty of a diamond, inclusions can be fascinating, even enhancing a diamond! I have seen an inclusion that looked like the profile of a humming bird which made the humming bird enthusiast very excited! I sold a ‘pregnant diamond,’ one with another diamond crystal inside the diamond! Inclusions are also a great way to identify your particular diamond because of the size, shape, color, and placement of inclusions are unique to each diamond.
Due to the nature of inclusions, I can’t stress enough how important it is to see a diamond in person before you buy it! Just as you can’t get an accurate view of a person based entirely on their online dating profile, it is very difficult to know what kind of diamond you are buying based solely on its online profile.
I know that diamond and engagement ring shopping can be intimidating, and a bit overwhelming to some. With my education, I’d love to help guide you in choosing a ring that you are confident and proud of! Book your appointment in my private showroom that is safe and clean! Why shop with the crowd when you don’t have to? www.angelacisneros.com/book-appointment