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How is Diamond Clarity Measured?

Posted on Nov 20, 2015 by Lisa Garber

Diamond clarity is a term that sounds pretty straight forward, but is actually a highly involved and regulated aspect of diamond valuation. That’s because the clarity of a diamond plays a major role in the value of a stone.

In this article, we’ll go into a little more detail about what elements are taken into consideration when determining a diamond’s clarity.

Inclusions and Blemishes

One of the first things an appraiser will look at when determining the clarity of a diamond are inclusions and blemishes.

The term “inclusions” is used in the industry to describe imperfections within the stone itself. This includes clouds, feathers, minerals, cavities, cleavage and other inclusions that could impact a diamond clarity grade.

The term “blemishes” is used to describe external imperfections. These include scratches, grain boundaries, nicks, pits, chips and other issues.

How Does Grading Work?

The industry criteria for grading is established by the Gemological Institute of America. This grading scale sets a uniform set of standards across the industry to ensure stones are properly and fairly priced. It also sets up a precise process that leaves very little open to interpretation.

Flawless: a diamond is considered flawless when there are no visible inclusions or blemishes under 10x magnification.

Internally Flawless: There are no visible inclusions, but only small blemishes externally.

Very, Very Slightly Included: This grading would be given to a diamond with very small inclusions that are hard to spot under 10x magnification.

Very Slightly Included: More inclusions than the above-mentioned designation, but they are still very hard to spot.

Slightly Included: Inclusions and blemishes are easier to spot under magnification.

Included: Blemishes and inclusions are easily visible under 10x magnification and could even be seen by the naked eye.

What is the procedure for Grading Diamond Clarity?

All diamond clarity grading is done using 10x magnification and darkfield illumination. The diamond must be cleaned thoroughly before it is put under magnification. Once the stone is cleaned, tweezers are used to hold the diamond.

During the grading process, the stone will be carefully inspected from multiple angles to ensure the most precise appraisal and grading. Diamonds with the highest possible clarity rating are becoming extremely rare.

In truth, the grading is often much more important for a certificate or diamond investors. The vast majority of blemishes or inclusions are not visible to the naked eye. As a consumer, one should shop for diamond jewelry based on the appearance and design, not on factors that are indistinguishable to the naked eye.

If you are shopping for a diamond, get in touch with Galicia Fine Jewelers. We have a great selection of top quality and custom designed diamond jewelry for any style or occasion. Drop by our Scottsdale showroom or call 480-421-9688 to learn more. 

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