How to buy a diamond Part 2: Diamond Clarity

Introduction to Diamond Clarity Part 1

 

One of the most talked about issues we address with clients is clarity. Now there is a lot of information out there about clarity and what it does to affect the cost of a stone. So I decided to show some of our own examples here at CM Weldon up close and personal and hopefully dispel some of the myths surrounding the topic. Buying a diamond engagement ring, whether it is an antique engagement ring or a modern, one can be a tricky process albeit an enjoyable one. When you get past the pretty and sparkly nature of the stones themselves and get down to the core of what it is you are putting your hard earned cash into we find all sorts of confusion and messy information spewed out from all sorts of sources. This is part 1 of my Clarity posts. There will be follow up posts and videos to discuss in greater depth the types and nature of these inclusions.

 

So lets cut to the chase. Here it goes.

The following are your clarity grades:

 

Flawless

Internally Flawless

VVS1

VVS2

VS1

VS2

SI1

SI2

I1

I2

I3

The following images are actual certified diamonds I have in stock which have been graded with the above system

 

Internally Flawless (IF)

IF

 

 

 

Ok this is an obvious one. The stone is internally perfect. There are no inclusions visible both internally and externally. There are no blemishes. The stone is perfect. This does not however mean the stone is perfectly cut. This merely indicates that the crystal is devoid of any imperfections. A flawless diamond is a very rare.

 

Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 + VVS2)

vvs1 vvs2

If you have been presented with a VVS1 graded diamond and you start looking at it through a loupe trying to find inclusions I wish you the very best of luck. VVS1 clarity graded diamonds are almost flawless or near flawless. You should not be able to spot anything. If you do give Superman a call and tell him your eye set is better than his. The major difference between VVS1 and VVS2 is mainly opinion based and I have seen heated debated between collegues about the criteria for qualifying one against the other. In any case the difference is so minute that once a VVS grade has been given you can be assured that your diamond is in the top 1% of stones and that it will command a premium because of it. VVS graded stones are what I like to call “Clarity Investment” grade.

 

VVS2

vvs2

 

Very Slightly Included 1 (VS1)

vs1

Above is a good example of a VS1. Again the difference between the VVS2 and VS1 grades again is slight but there are more definitive. Inclusions should be somewhat visible with a 10x lens.

Very slightly included 2 (VS2)

vs2

As we approach the VS2 range inclusions within a stone become slightly easier to see with a 10x lens. Note the grouping under the table facet (the centre facet). While there could possibly be some debate over the grading of this particular stone the lab certified is a VS2.

Slightly included 1 (SI1)

si1 si1

Eye visible inclusions like these make this stone a definitive SI1. While the image below is magnified far more than a 10x lens it is a good representation of the distribution, size and colour of some the included crystals. In a later post I will detail the nature of these inclusions

 

Slightly included 2 (SI2)

SI2 2 SI2 3 SI2

Above is an SI2. Note the slightly more fractured nature of the “Feather” type inclusions within this stone along with some included “Crystals” while some of these inclusions can appear white they can also be black carbon deposits.

Included 1 (I1) or SI3

i1

 

Included stones like these are easy to spot. Face up without magnification the naked eye should be able to spot imperfections all over the stone. This applies to I2