Before a diamond is fitted into a piece of jewelry and made available to the general public, a brand first has to obtain a professional appraisal for the diamond. This process is conducted by a trained gemologist and usually through an institution that specializes in the appraisal of diamonds. There are numerous institutions that specializes in these services, but only a few of them are truly trusted – in most cases, the trustworthy institutions tend to include the AGS, or the American Gem Society, and the GIA, or the Gemological Institute of America.
While appraised, a gemologist will consider many properties of the diamond in order to provide the brand or the supplier who requested the appraisal service with an accurate overview of how much the particular diamond is worth. The first factor that is analysed is the carat weight of the diamond. After this factor has been determined, the gemologist will determine the color grade and the cut quality of the diamond. Another important factor taken into account is the clarity rating of the diamond, which we would like to discuss in this post.
Important Facts About Diamond Clarity
The clarity rating of a diamond refers to the amount of inclusions a gemologist was able to observe while the diamond was placed under a special gemological microscope. During the appraisal of a diamond, the gemologist will observe all sides of the diamond and look for inclusions that reach the surface, as well as utilize specialized tools in order to determine if any inclusions can be observed on the inside of the diamond – in many cases, inclusions may be present that does not reach the surface of the diamond.
The fewer inclusions and imperfections that can be observed during the appraisal process, the higher clarity rating the diamond is rewarded. A higher clarity rating obviously equals a higher price when it comes to determining the value and selling price of the diamond.
The problem here is, many people think that, since the clarity rating of a diamond refers to cavities, inclusions and other imperfections, they should opt for the highest clarity rating possible. Unfortunately, this may lead to a waste of money. Many lower quality clarity ratings look perfectly flawless to the naked eye, and tend to cost a lot less money than a diamond with a higher clarity rating.
The best clarity rating that a diamond can be awarded is known as “Internally Flawless”, often abbreviated as “IF”. A very similar grade is “Flawless” or “FL”. Other grades that can be awarded to the diamond’s clarity include:
- VVS – Also called “Very Very Slightly Included”. This includes VVS1 and VVS2.
- VS – Also called “Very Slightly Included”. This includes VS1 and VS2.
- SI – Also called “Slightly Included”. This includes SI1 and SI2.
- I – Also called “Included”. This includes I1 and I2.
The majority of diamonds rated SI and above usually do not possess any imperfections that can be observed with the naked eye; thus people are often advised to opt for a clarity rating above I, but SI is often a good choice. This allows them to spend more money on a heavier diamond or a better cut diamond.
There is often confusion amongst people looking to buy a diamond for the first time. Many different terms are referenced on a diamond grading certificate that comes with a particular diamond a person may be interested in, and a person often does not know what particular qualities that can opt for at a lower grade in order to obtain a larger diamond. In this post, we explained how the clarity rating of a diamond affects its price, and why it might be a good choice to opt for a lower clarity rating and rather to spend that extra money on another particular quality, such as carat weight.