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How to Understand Diamond Clarity Grading

Learn about diamond clarity grading from private jeweler Kate Hemphill in this Howcast video.


We're going to talk a minute about diamond clarity which measures the amount of inclusions or lack thereof inside a diamond. And clarity might sound a little confusing at first, but it's actually quite straight forward.

So the GIA is also established a scale on how to grade clarity, and there's 11 possible classifications ranging from flawless all the way down to included.

Diamonds are graded under a 10 power magnification, so sometimes when you're shopping, or you're in a store, or working with a retailer, you will see them using a jewelers loupe, and this is so that they can take the stone, and look at it under a 10 power magnification to see the inclusions.

So every grade is determined by the presence of the inclusions, so flawless, and internally flawless you really can't see anything.

VVS one and VVS two means very, very slightly included. Again very hard to see under 10 power magnification. Then we move down to VS, very slightly again very difficult to see especially under the naked eye. And then down to SI, slightly included, and I is included.

You really want to stay away from I stones, as you do tend to see dark spots, blemishes, crystals, when looking at it with the naked eye.

So even though an internally flawless stone, and a SI stone may look similiar to you when you first look at it, or to the untrained eye, it makes a huge difference when it comes to price.

Something else to consider when you're looking at settings, and a stone. Say you fall in love with a specific stone, and it has a little bit of an inclusion, a black spot, or crystal, a feather in jewelers speak there is a creative way to hide some of these with prongs, or settings. So don't let that distract you if you fall in love with something.

So, when it comes to clarity when choosing a diamond, you want to stay something above the SI range, so that you don't want any inclusions visible to the admirer, or the recipient.

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