Diamonds, all you need to know (part 2) clarity
Perfect diamond, platinum & rose gold stacking ring set

Diamond Clarity: Diamonds, all you need to know (part 2) clarity

I have studied diamonds at The Gemological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A), passed their diamond grading exams, and been accredited DGA, (diamond member of the Gem-A) I’ve been buying diamonds for around 40 years, and have seen many hundreds of thousands…good and bad. Diamonds, all you need to know (part 2) clarity

As with the diamond (part 1), this is a brief guide as to why and how diamonds are graded. It is important that if you are buying a diamond, you look at the diamond you are buying, and love the diamond you are buying, rather than put faith in a piece of paper or certificate which isn’t a guarantee but a person (not always impartial) opinion on a specific day.

Diamond and rose gold stacking set
Diamond and rose gold stacking set D VVS1 diamond

The second of the 4 C’s is clarity, how free from flaws.

We grade diamond clarity with a loop of 10x magnification. The highest/ most desirable grading is flawless, going through various grades as shown on the diagram, until the flaws are so severe, that they are obvious with the naked eye and are detrimental to a diamond’s durability. Diamonds with higher clarity grades are more valued and extremely rare. Lower-clarity diamonds are less brilliant and if heavily flawed can be more prone to fracture. Like the colour scale, it’s non-linear, and the lower the grade the greater the differences. The GIA scale is most commonly used and has 6 categories, divided into 11 specific grades.

diamond clarity chart how pure is the diamond, how free from flaws

When clarity grading a stone, the diamond is held in tweezers, first, we look at it with just our eyes, if we can easily see the flaws then the diamond will be included or lower. Then we look at it with a loop, trying to connect our hands to try and minimize any natural movements of the body. We visually break the stone down into segments much like a clock face, working clockwise round from 12 o’clock, the longer it takes to see any flaws the higher the clarity. The number size and position together help determine a diamond’s clarity. Inclusions may be crystals of a foreign material or another diamond crystal, or structural imperfections such as tiny cracks that can appear whitish or cloudy. The number, size, colour, relative location, orientation, and visibility of inclusions can all affect the relative clarity of a diamond. Any dark or black flaws are graded lower than white or pale flaws, the nearer the centre of the diamond the lower the clarity. Some flaws will be inside the diamonds which we call internal characteristics, and those on the outside, external characteristics. It is very important to look at a diamond rather than simply go by a certificate. Sometimes stones contain micro inclusions or clouds, which you don’t see under 10 x magnification, but give the diamond a cloudy/ dull look, and would show up under greater magnification.

Only about 20% of all diamonds mined have a clarity rating high enough for the diamond to be considered appropriate for use as a gemstone; the other 80% are relegated to industrial use. Of that top 20%, a significant portion contains an inclusion or inclusions that are visible to the naked eye upon close inspection. Those that do not have a visible inclusion when the gem is examined approximately 6 inches from the naked eye are known as “eye-clean”, although visible inclusions can sometimes be hidden under the setting in a piece of jewellery.


Clarity can also be “enhanced” by filling the fracture much like a car windscreen crack can be treated. Such diamonds are called “fracture-filled diamonds”. Reputable jewellers must disclose this filling and reputable filling companies use filling agents which show a flash of colour, commonly orange or pink, when viewed closely. There is a significant price discount for a fracture-filled stone.


I am more than happy to show anyone interested in placing a commission a range of diamonds, to ensure they are happy with what I make for them. It is impossible to say simply by looking at a certificate, which is the more attractive stone, and more importantly, what the individual will prefer. I understand the technicalities and will gladly share my experience and knowledge, but most importantly, the wearer needs to look at what I make for them, and love it, now and into the future.

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