Before you shop for any diamond, it would serve you well to be aware of the "4 C's" as they relate to the vast array of diamonds on the retail market. The 4 C's are what determine the durability, appearance and value of this precious gem. They include: color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. In this segment we will cover 'Clarity'. The information will allow you to be that much more informed when making that special choice.
Diamond Clarity refers to the presence, or absence, of irregularities or flaws either inside the diamond or on the surface. A word synonymous with clarity would be clearness. Keep in mind, virtually all diamonds, even the most costly, possess some kind of flaw.
A flawless diamond is very rare and would be utterly expensive. The good news is that most flaws that exist in jewelry-grade diamonds are virtually undetectable, and would require the intervention of a jeweler's special microscope in order to be seen.
These refer to imperfections inside a diamond which can be tiny specks or crystals of various colors, as well as cracks which have the potential to cause a diamond to actually split.
These flaws, unlike inclusions, are apparent on the outside surface of the diamond. These are the result of the artisan's cutting and polishing efforts. Many external, surface blemishes can affect the value and clarity of the gem, but may not affect the overall appearance.
Grading the clarity of a diamond, as determined by The Gemological Institute of America, involves a spectrum of different criteria to determine how high, or low, a diamond ranks on the spectrum scale. 'IF - Internally Flawless' is the coveted rank since no internal or external flaws would be present.
Again, these types of diamonds are rare! The grading scale continues in descending order ending with the lowest grade labeled, 'I1 & I2 & I3 Included' meaning there are very evident inclusions that could, easily, minimize the diamond's transparency and the travelling light's ability to flash and dazzle off the stone.
There are several treatments that are utilized to increase the clarity grade of a stone. It's important to ask your jeweler if a prospective diamond has been subjected to any enhancement procedures. Some diamonds could be sold for more, due to a seemingly higher level of clarity, when in reality, the stone should be sold for less.
Here, inclusions can be removed through the use of a laser. This treatment is permanent. Interestingly, if one knows what to look for, the path left behind by the laser is actually noticeable.
A colorless material is used to fill very small cracks. This flaw-hiding technique is temporary.
It's important to become knowledgeable on the remaining 3 C's that determine how diamonds are valued--color, cut, and carat weight. Become enlightened, educated and empowered with information on what constitutes the real value of a diamond; and avoid paying a hefty price for a gem that is worth far less.
No matter the jewelry you have your diamonds set in, make sure that you take proper care of them. Diamonds are meant to last forever. Take the time to consult your jeweler about the proper way to clean and care for your jewelry.