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What is diamond clarity-
Diamond clarity describes the type, size and location of a diamonds inclusions. "Inclusions" are small imperfections that occur in almost all natural diamonds when they were formed under intense heat and pressure, deep in the Earths mantle, over a period of approx. 1 billion to 3.3 billion years. The diamond cutter will try to polish out as many of these imperfections as possible, without sacrificing too much of the valuable rough diamond.
"Flawless" diamonds have no inclusions or blemishes and are extremely rare and valuable. I1, I2 and I3 clarity diamonds are heavily included and therefore, not sold by Diamond Exchange. In our opinion, I1, I2 and I3 clarity diamonds should be avoided, as they do not offer good value for money and almost always have large blemishes and imperfections that are easily seen with the naked eye and may affect transparency and lustre.
When a diamond is described as "eye-clean", it may have inclusions, however, these inclusions cannot be seen with the naked eye when the diamond is viewed from the top. For most people, clarity is more difficult to differentiate with the naked eye than cut and colour. In most cases, differences in clarity can only be seen under 10X magnification.
When diamonds are graded for clarity at any one of the 5 most reputable and respected diamond grading laboratories in the world (GIA, AGS, IGI, HRD and EGL USA), the clarity grade for a diamond will be determined by the size, amount, location, type, and color of the inclusions that can be seen under 10X magnification by a trained and certified expert gemologist.
DIAMOND CLARITY GRADE DEFINITIONS
FL - IF
"Flawless" or "internally flawless" with no external and/or internal inclusions, imperfections or blemishes. Extremely rare and very valuable.
VVS1 - VVS2
"Very, very small" imperfections that are difficult to see, even under 20X magnification. Near-flawless quality that's very rare and valuable.
VS1 - VS2
"Very small" imperfections that are not visible to the naked eye, except in the rarest of circumstances. Usually, inclusions are difficult to see under 10X magnification. VS1 and VS2 clarity diamonds are the most popular for the average consumer, as they offer exceptional quality, without the premium price tag of FL – VVS2 clarities.
SI1 - SI2
"Small imperfections" that are not visible to the naked eye in most cases, but are immediately visible under 10X magnification.
I1, I2 - I3
"Inclusions" that are obvious and can be seen with an untrained naked eye in most circumstances. Diamond Exchange Canada does not recommend or sell I1, I2 or I3 clarity diamonds.
What diamond clarity should I buy-
FL – IF clarity diamonds are for the perfectionist. If you want the very best and price is no object.
VVS1 – VVS2 clarity diamonds are for the discerning eye. If you don't want to spend the premium price for a flawless diamond, but want a diamond that looks just as beautiful.
VS1 – VS2 clarity diamonds are for the practical person. If you want a diamond that is very high quality, with no visible imperfections, but don't want to pay top dollar.
SI1 – SI2 clarity diamonds are very economical per carat, so they are perfect for people who don't mind sacrificing purity, in order to save money and/or get a larger carat weight diamond.
What diamond clarity is the best value for money-
VS1 and VS2 clarities are widely considered the best value for money, as they offer exceptionally high quality, but are much less expensive per carat than FL – VVS2 clarity grades.
SI1 clarity diamonds also offer great "quality vs. cost" and are more affordable than higher clarity grades, yet the difference in clarity is usually not discernible to the untrained naked eye.
How to buy a diamond on a budget:
For most people, clarity is the hardest of the "4-C's" to differentiate with the naked eye, and therefore; it is the easiest diamond characteristic to sacrifice on in order to save money.
VS1 and VS2 clarities are our best sellers and great value, as they've got the look of a premium clarity diamond, but without the higher price per carat of IF – VVS2 clarities.
SI1 and SI2 are the cheapest clarities we sell, which will allow you to save money or get a bigger diamond. However, before purchasing an SI1 or SI2 clarity diamond, we recommend emailing Service@DiamondExchange.ca or calling Diamond Exchange customer service toll free at 1 (866) 339-9988 to confirm the diamond(s) you are considering do not have any inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye.
Click HERE to take the GIA Interactive Tutorial: How To Buy A Diamond.