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How to be clever with clarity

Planning is never more important than when it comes to diamond clarity. Here’s why.

Clarity refers to a diamond’s natural tiny internal flaws known as “inclusions” or “birthmarks” that should typically only be seen under an eye loop, but often through the naked eye.

These birthmarks are generally the traces of black carbon that remain after the diamond is formed under powerful heat and pressure from inside the earth over a period of millions of years.

If you’re like most people, you probably always thought it important to buy a stone with the highest grade of clarity possible. Well prepare to be shocked.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to buy a diamond that is anywhere near internally flawless!

Let’s talk about why.

The higher the grade of diamond clarity, the more expensive the stone. Yet the simple truth of the matter is that in most cases, the diamond’s internal flaw is so tiny that they can’t be seen by the naked eye. You would need an eye loop, or a trained diamond grader to identify the birthmark(s).

So, if you’re keen to maximise your budget and achieve the biggest stone you can, does a diamond’s internal flaw(s) really matter if you can’t see it with the naked eye?

Clarity can quickly gobble up a budget and force you to compromise on the size of your stone. Opting for a lesser grade of clarity can achieve a bigger diamond size.

Diamond clarity is graded across seven categories, from FL (Flawless), where less than 1% of diamonds feature inclusions that can’t be seen under a 10x magnification loop, to 12 – 13 (Heavily Included Diamonds) where carbon traces can generally be seen by the naked eye.

Acceptable clarity is identified by the naked eye under specialist laboratory conditions set up and certified for appraisals.

So which grade of clarity will give you the best bang for your buck?

The grade of clarity known as SI1 – or if you are very lucky and have a great supplier, an SI2 – would be the ultimate achievement in maximising the size of your diamond while making sure its birthmark is invisible to the naked eye.

Planning ahead and giving your diamond search enough time can help locate that special diamond that has been mistakenly classified and is actually a SI1 instead of an SI2, for example.

Other ideal inclusions known as feathers, which are the same colour as the diamond itself, will also help you save money and are particularly relevant to the larger diamond where you can see inside the stone.

Naturally coloured inclusions are more sought after however, so once again, it is important to take your time and plan ahead to find that special stone and a dedicated supplier who has your interest at heart.

Reeling from this revelation about clarity? The next blog in my series takes a look at diamond cut – and a little-known industry secret that could save you hundreds!

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