Diamond clarity explained
What is Diamond Clarity?
Diamond clarity is a measure of the presence of internal inclusions and external blemishes within a diamond. It's graded on a scale from "Flawless" (no visible imperfections) to "Included" (visible imperfections). Clarity affects a diamond's quality and price, with clearer diamonds being more valuable.
Diamond Clarity Scale
The diamond clarity scale is a standardized system used to assess and grade the internal and external imperfections, known as inclusions and blemishes, within a diamond. It provides a way to communicate the extent and visibility of these flaws.
What affects the Clarity of a Diamond?
The clarity of a diamond is primarily affected by the presence of internal inclusions and external blemishes. These factors are influenced by a combination of natural processes and conditions during the diamond's formation. Here are some key factors that affect the clarity of a diamond:
- Natural Formation: Diamonds are created deep within the Earth under extreme heat and pressure. During this process, various minerals and elements can become trapped within the diamond's crystal lattice, forming internal inclusions.
- Crystal Growth: The rate of crystal growth and the surrounding conditions can impact the number and size of inclusions. Rapid crystal growth can lead to more internal imperfections.
- Pressure and Temperature: Variations in pressure and temperature during diamond formation can lead to structural irregularities and inclusions.
- Nearby Geological Activity: The presence of other minerals and nearby geological activity can introduce external blemishes as the diamond moves closer to the Earth's surface.
- Geographic Location: Diamonds are mined from various regions around the world, and the geological conditions in each location can affect the presence and type of inclusions and blemishes.
- Cutting and Polishing: The cutting and polishing process can also influence the clarity. In some cases, cutting can remove or hide inclusions, but it can also reveal previously concealed ones.
- Wear and Tear: Over time, diamonds can develop wear and tear, leading to additional blemishes on the surface.
It's essential to have a diamond graded and certified by a reputable gemological laboratory, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), to assess its clarity accurately. The clarity grade is an important factor in determining the diamond's quality and value, and it can help you make an informed decision when purchasing a diamond.
What causes inclusions in Diamonds?
Inclusions in diamonds are caused by various natural processes and conditions during a diamond's formation deep within the Earth. These internal imperfections are often referred to as "birthmarks" of the diamond. Here are some factors that lead to the formation of inclusions:
- Mineral Inclusions: During the diamond's growth, other minerals or elements can become trapped within the diamond's crystal structure. These foreign materials, such as tiny crystals or mineral fragments, create internal inclusions.
- Internal Stress: Extreme heat and pressure deep within the Earth can result in internal stress and structural irregularities within the diamond, leading to inclusions.
- Pressure Changes: As diamonds move from deep within the Earth to the surface, changes in pressure can cause inclusions to form. These pressure changes may result in tiny fractures or voids within the diamond.
- Liquid Inclusions: In some cases, small pockets of liquid, such as water or other fluids, can be trapped within the diamond as it forms, becoming internal inclusions.
- Crystal Growth Irregularities: The rate of crystal growth can vary, leading to irregularities in the diamond's structure and the formation of inclusions.
It's important to note that while inclusions can affect a diamond's clarity and value, they are also a part of what makes each diamond unique. The type, size, and location of inclusions can vary widely, and gemologists use a specific grading system to assess and categorize these internal features when determining a diamond's clarity. The rarity of a diamond with fewer and less noticeable inclusions often results in a higher value.