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Diamond Clarity

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Gemological Characteristics - Four C's


The Four C's - Clarity

The clarity of a diamond is the third major characteristic used in determining its value.  "Clarity" is the measure of the internal imperfections of a diamond, known as "inclusions."  Inclusions may be structural imperfections, such as tiny cracks or crystals of a foreign material, or another diamond crystal.

The number, size, color, relative location, orientation, and visibility of these imperfections can all have a bearing on the perceived clarity of a diamond.  The GIA, for example, has developed a system to grade clarity based on the number of inclusions that are visible to a trained professional when viewing a diamond from above, under 10x magnification.  Thefollowing illustration is the Grading Chart:

Diamond Clarity Chart

As illustrated, the clarity scale ranges from FL (Flawless) to I-3 (Imperfect).  Diamonds in the I-3 clarity grade, usuallycontain so many inclusions that their brilliancy and sparkle are greatly reduced making them marginal as "fine jewelry." In fact, they are considered "Promotional Quality."  Even I-1 and I-2 clarity grade diamonds can be less than ideal asfine jewelry if a major imperfection is "eye-visible" (not able to be hidden by the setting).

Diamonds increase in value if they receive high clarity ratings.  Of all the diamonds mined, only 20 percent have a clarity rating high enough to be considered gem quality, and of that 20 percent, many contain one or more visible inclusions.  Those that do not have one or more visible inclusion are considered "eye-clean" and are preferred gemstones valued by consumers throughout the world. 

The Four C's:

Carat (weight)  | Color  |  Clarity  |  Cut


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