Every diamond is unique, a product of the earth. Yet nature guarantees that even those of incredible beauty have some slight form of impurity or imperfection. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare and valuable, in fact most jewelers have never even seen one. Yet even these diamonds, despite their name, are not absolutely perfect under magnification – although they do come very close. In the Diamond world we call these imperfections diamond inclusions when internal or blemishes when external.
The majority of these flaws are so small and insignificant that they are invisible to the naked, untrained eye. Other heavier flaws can be noticed without magnification, such as with the aid of a jeweler’s loupe.
An Inclusion can be a result of a tiny speck of dirt trapped inside the Diamond, a Blemish can be a slight scratch on the surface.
Inclusions affect light’s passage through the diamond which may diminish the brilliance, sparkle and fire of the diamond. They can cause dullness, dark patches or even visible spots.
The location of inclusions, size, color and grouping is very significant. For example, a large flaw located near the center of the diamond, which is dark in color will be more detrimental to the diamond’s clarity than a small, light colored flaw closer to the diamonds edge which can even be camouflaged with the right ring setting and stone cut.
Clarity is therefore a measure of the presence of imperfections in the diamond and how it affects the diamond’s ability to absorb and reflect light back to the eye without being impeded on the way. Looking at the anatomy of a diamond, most light enters and exits from the table facet. This is the large flat surface at the top of the stone. As the light travels through the diamond, the more of these inclusions and blemishes encountered, the less fire and brilliance will return to your eye as the light refracts and reflects through the diamond.
Clarity has tremendous impact on the final cost of the diamond; the splendor of a flawless diamond is unparalleled as is the cost. Clarity is however an area where you will find that you can sacrifice a certain measure of perfection for the sake of cost and still have a diamond that you will love and cherish. Remember, many inclusions are completely invisible to the naked eye which means your diamond will be an "eye clean" diamond and any inclusions will not significantly detract from the beauty and quality of the diamond, although they may reduce the price tag. You may be paying for perfection you can’t see.
Inclusions are like natural birthmarks and are part of the individuality and character of a diamond. No two diamonds share the same inclusions in exactly the same location, type and size, nor inclusion patterns. They serve as a diamond’s fingerprint. This understanding may dispel our fears of your diamond being “imperfect” and may rather be seen as another factor in the unique and personal nature of diamonds.
Diamond clarity is determined and graded by trained gemologists under 10X magnification (the instrument used is called a loupe), according to the visibility, number, size and position of inclusions.
The clarity scale, created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in the 1930s, assesses the diamond by eleven grades ranging from “FL – Flawless” to “I3- Included”