What to look for in diamond clarity when shopping for lab-created diamonds
Lab-created diamonds are no different from natural diamonds as far as chemical composition goes. The only difference is they’re formed in a lab via a special process that combines carbon growing at high temperatures and a compression process. They then become complex structures that can be cut into any desired carat weight and shape.
In spite of the fact that the growth and cutting process of lab-created diamonds requires several weeks, only a very few of them end up being in perfect condition. In most cases, they are imperfect, with varying amounts of internal inclusions and surface blemishes. There are many variables, just like when a diamond is formed beneath the Earth’s surface.
What Is Diamond Clarity?
It refers to the inclusions and blemishes in a diamond has, and the fewer there are, the higher the clarity grade. Although clarity does impact the value of a diamond, those minor imperfections generally can’t be seen with the naked eye.
Diamond clarity is the assessment of imperfections on and within a stone. Blemishes are called surface flaws, while internal defects are called inclusions. Most of the time, a diamond is not affected by these since most inclusions can’t be seen with the naked eye. Gemologists often use the term “internal characteristics” when referring to inclusions instead of flaws. These Internal characteristics give a natural diamond its character. Additionally, it’s also important to remember that diamonds with the fewest and most minor inclusions get the highest clarity grades—and a higher price tag to reflect that too.
How Are Diamond Clarity Grades Determined?
They’re determined using the IGI Clarity Grading scale (from best to worst):
IF= Internally Flawless
VVS1= Very Very Small Inclusions- One
VVS2= Very Very Small Inclusions- Two
VS1= Very Small Inclusions- One
VS2= Very Small Inclusions- Two
SI1= Small Inclusions- One
SI2= Small Inclusions- Two
I1= Inclusions- One (I2= Inclusions- Two
An expert will visually examine the diamond under 10x magnification with the stone face-up to evaluate a diamond’s clarity. With the help of a microscope, the diamond is reviewed for the purpose of determining if any internal inclusions are present. They’ll also closely examine the diamond to determine if it has any surface blemishes.
Experts generally look for five main factors when determining any diamond’s clarity grade. Those five factors include size, as well as location, nature, number, and relief of any inclusions. Each and every one of those characteristics makes up the diamond’s clarity grade.
Different Types of Inclusions
There are a number of inclusions to be considered when evaluating a diamond’s clarity. A few common types include:
Bearding: This type of inclusion forms close to the girdle and could be causing a fuzzy or blurred appearance.
Diamond cavity: Diamond cavities differ in color depending on the inclusions present within the diamond. Colored crystal inclusions within the cavity will be more obvious and often even visible to the naked eye.
Feather: Feathers are small cracks that are often found within diamonds. Depending upon the angle of the feather, it could appear to be transparent or could capture the light, creating a white appearance.
Graining: Internal graining in diamonds is caused by irregular crystal growth, and this causes white, colored, or reflective lines within the diamond, giving it white, colored, or reflective lines, resulting in a hazy diamond.
Other Factors to Be Considered Include:
Where inclusion is located will also affect its clarity grade. For example, an inclusion that is close to the edge of the diamond (aka girdle) is not quite as noticeable. If the imperfection is located in the center of the diamond, it’s much more obvious, detracting from the beauty of the stone.
The inclusion’s nature is also important. If it’s deep within the stone, it impacts the diamond a great deal more than if it’s simply a surface blemish.
The fewer imperfections there are, the better the clarity grade. Any diamond that possesses numerous inclusions will be more likely to have a lower clarity grade, like an SI2, than diamonds that only have one or two inclusions.
An inclusion’s relief refers to exactly how noticeable it may be as related to the rest of the stone. Also, a blemish that is dark, is more likely to stand out much more than a lighter blemish.
A diamond’s inclusions are a very important factor. The larger the inclusion is, the lower the clarity grade of the diamond. If it’s just a small inclusion, it’s not likely to impact the diamond’s overall beauty quite as much.
Not all inclusions in diamonds are created equal. Some of them can be shiny, while some others will be almost completely clear. Some will be pure white, but others can be stark black. Some are located at a diamond’s center, and others will be pushed off to the side.
A few diamond shapes need a higher clarity grade than the others. Like Emerald and Asscher-shaped diamonds (referred to as step cut) are designed with rectangular facets that emphasize transparency and allow you to see further into the diamond, which makes the inclusions more visible. These diamond shapes should have a clarity grade of VS1 or better to make sure the inclusions are not visible.
When someone says clarity plots, they are referring to diagrams that pinpoint the location of clarity characteristics—spotting the blemishes on a diamond’s surface and inclusions within a diamond’s interior. The inclusions are identified by a professional diamond grader.
While the extremely rare flawless or Internally flawless diamonds are considered the highest quality diamond clarity, some might want to consider diamonds that don’t break the bank. Select a diamond with inclusions that cannot be seen without magnification, like diamonds that have an SI or VS clarity grade. These types of diamonds are less expensive and visually look the same as the higher grades.
The Bottom Line
The facts show exactly why it’s so important to only purchase lab created diamond rings from a trusted online vendor. This is because they only provide images of each and every diamond that are high-quality. This is essential for reviewing each stone closely to look for any visible imperfections.