Diamond is the hardest substance formed due to contact of carbon with immense pressure and heat deep inside the earth. It scores the highest (10) on Mohs scale among all minerals. The grading of a diamond depends on four factors, generally called as 4 Cs. The 4 Cs are cut, colour, carat, and clarity. The grading of diamond decides its value both in terms of quality and price.
Clarity relates to the absence of flaws in a diamond. The flaws on the surface of diamonds are called blemishes, while impurities inside the stone are known as inclusions.
Inclusions are natural and include cracks or air bubbles or particles not forming properties of diamond. Blemishes can be manmade or natural. They may occur during the cutting process or mishandling of the stone, which may cause scratches.
Blemishes can be removed during cutting or polishing, but removing inclusions is difficult. While deciding the cut of a diamond, it is tried to form a shape where inclusions can be excluded or placed in a manner that least affects the brilliance and clarity of the diamond.
The clarity of a diamond is decided on the basis of 6 categories of the GIA Diamond Clarity scale. GIA Diamond Clarity scale is largely followed by different organisations, although some organisations have their categorizations, which are more or less similar to the GIA Diamond Clarity scale with little variations in categories or basis. The details of categories of GIA Diamond Clarity scale are given as follows:
- Flawless (FL) – Diamonds in this category have no inclusions or blemishes observable under 10x magnification.
- Internally Flawless (IF) – In IF category, diamonds do not contain inclusions observable under 10x magnification, but have small blemishes.
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – In this category, diamonds have tiny inclusions under 10x magnification, difficult for an expert to notice. This category is sub-divided in two parts VVS1 and VVS2 for better grading. VVS1 category diamonds are better than VVS2 category diamonds.
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Under 10x magnification, inclusions range from difficult to fairly easily noticeable by an expert. These inclusions are considered minor and this category is too divided in two parts, VS1 and VS2, for better grading.
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Inclusions in SI category diamonds are easily visible under 10x magnification by an expert. These inclusions may be visible with naked eyes. SI1 and SI2 are sub-categories of SI based on better clarity in SI1 over SI2.
- Included (I1, I2, and I3) – Inclusions are visible very easily under 10x magnification by an expert in diamonds of this category. The inclusions are observable quite easily with naked eyes too. Inclusions in this category affect the brilliance, durability, and structure of the diamond. This category is further divided into three parts, I1, I2, and I3, making the former one superior to the latter one.
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