It is often advised to decide on the cut, color, and clarity first, and allow your budget to determine the carat weight of the diamond. Learn more about Carat Weight in our dedicated section..
Because diamonds form deep within the earth, under extreme heat and pressure, they often contain unique birthmarks, either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes). There are no two diamonds that will have exactly the same inclusions in the same location. Diamond clarity refers to the absence of these inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds without these birthmarks are rare, and rarity affects a diamond’s value.
There are 4 factors that determine how a major laboratory GIA, EGL or AGI will assign a clarity grade to a specific diamond. They include: the size of the Inclusion, the amount of the Inclusions within the diamond, the position of the Inclusion and the visibility of the inclusion (Dark or white inclusion).
The clarity scale ranges from Internally Flawless (IF) to obviously included (I3). Diamond Traces does not carry diamonds of lower than I1 clarity.
FL/IF Diamonds― Flawless/Internally Flawless No inclusions under 10x magnification. Very rare, beautiful and expensive diamonds.
VVS1/VVS2 Diamonds ― Very Very Slightly Included Contain minute inclusions that are extremely difficult for an experienced grader to locate under 10x magnification. VVS diamonds are very rare and beautiful.
VS1/VS2 Diamonds― Very Slightly Included Contain minor inclusions that range from difficult to somewhat easy to see under 10x magnification. Typical VS inclusions are small crystals, feathers or distinct clouds. In some rare cases, a VS stone can contain an eye visible inclusion. Excellent quality diamonds.
SI1/SI2/SI3 Diamonds ― Slightly Included Inclusions are easily visible under 10x magnification to an experienced gemologist and may be visible with the unaided eye. A great value.
I1/I2/I3 Diamond ― Included Diamonds with significant inclusions. Best suited for use in diamond jewelry.
Note: If you're considering an SI2 grade diamond or lower, please call to speak to a diamond and jewelry consultant who will review the diamond to ensure the inclusions are not visible to the unaided eye.
Types of Inclusions
There are two kind of inclusions: internal and external. External inclusions include: a natural, a scratch, a surface graining and a chip. Internal inclusions include: A crystal, a cloud, a pinpoint and a group of pinpoints, a crack and a feather. See diagram below for example.
A big factor in the value of the diamond is in its amount of inclusions. For this reason, buying a diamond with less inclusions can be very expensive for the customer. A great way of buying a eye-clean diamond for a better price is to look for a clarity enhanced diamond. A clarity enhanced diamond used a process that enhance its natural clarity by one or two grades. Their are two types of clarity enhancement process: laser drilling and feather filling. Laser drilling can be done only on carbon (black inclusion), the process is not reversible and it will show marks like water drops in the diamond. Feather filling can be done only on small feather in the surface of the diamond, this process is reversible (It means you can always bring back the diamond to its original clarity as it was before the enhancement).
Not all diamonds can afford clarity enhancement process, this special treatment can be made on one out of 5,000 diamonds. The biggest advantage for the consumer in buying a clarity enhanced diamond is that for almost the same price, you can get a VS-2 clarity diamond instead of a SI-2 clarity diamond before the enhancement.
Which grade is recommended?
A common term in the diamond business is “eye-clean” or “clean to the naked-eye”. This refers to a diamond that has no inclusions visible to the unaided eye. They are of excellent value, as they are significantly less expensive than diamonds of IF or FL grade but do not contain visible inclusions that detract from the beauty of the diamond. Clarity Enhanced Diamond also considers being “eye-clean”.
Clarity enhancement process is a process that applied on diamonds and simply make the inclusion that in the diamond less visible to the naked eye. The Diamonds stay natural earth mind and the process can be removed. Clarity enhanced diamonds provide tremendous advantages over non-enhanced diamonds and gives you the opportunity to get a 50% larger diamond or better quality diamond than non-clarity enhanced diamond.