What is diamond clarity?

The clarity of a diamond refers to the presence or absence of visible flaws (imperfections) in the stone- internal or external. Internal flaws are called inclusions while external ones are called blemishes.  Examples of blemishes include scratches, chipping of the diamond toward the surface, and pits (small holes). Examples of inclusions include pinpoint inclusions- small and usually white crystals found inside the diamond- and clouds which are simply clusters of pinpoint inclusions which create a sort of haziness within the diamond.

Does a diamond’s clarity affect its value?

When it comes to white diamonds, absolutely! In fact, clarity is one of the four primary determinants of a diamond’s value along with weight, cut, and color. In order to standardize the way in which we evaluate the clarity of diamond, the Gemological institute of America (GIA) developed a grading system based on the diamond industry’s standards. The highest grade on the GIA scale is “Flawless” (FL) and is defined as a stone “with no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification.” The lowest grade is called “Included” (I) and is defined as a stone with obvious imperfections, usually visible to the naked eye.

What about clarity’s effect on fancy color diamonds?

While clarity can potentially affect the value of a color diamond, it is not the most important factor. When dealing with fancy color diamonds, the most important determinant of value is color. If the color of the diamond is rare and the imperfections are not so noticeable, then those imperfections will not impact the diamond nearly as much as they would have the diamond been white.

Is there any way to improve the clarity of the diamond?

An experienced and skilled diamond professional may be able to remove blemishes by polishing the diamond further. However, because polishing the diamond literally scrapes away layers of the stone, polishing can affect both the weight and the shape of the diamond. Therefore, choosing to polish away flaws can be risky and every attempt to improve a diamond’s clarity at the expense of its weight or other factors should be subject to a proper risk-benefit analysis.