They always say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that inner beauty is what truly matters.
Then again, you always hear that beauty is only skin deep but ugly runs right to the bone.
When you’re talking about Diamonds, that statement is entirely true… to a point!
Some people don’t mind the sight of a small inclusion in their stone. After all, they are only a characteristic or trait, like a freckle, mole or birthmark on people. Everything born in nature has some form of identifying mark or flaw.
Who’s to say that one is any better than the other?
Diamonds are Flawed!
Almost every Diamond on the market has flaws.
Any Clarity from IF all the way down to I3 will have some sort of Flaws inside or outside of the stone. See image below…
Granted, with IF, VVS and VS, the flaws get so small and minute that most people usually believe they’re perfect under 10x magnification. But the truth is, they do have something in them that keeps them from being perfect. It could be one very tiny mark that is easily hidden in the sparkle and beauty of the stone.
Being easily hidden is not always the case when you get into SI Clarity or I Clarity Diamonds.
SI and I Clarity makes up about 85% of the Diamond Market. They are the popular Clarities, but that is usually just because of price.
Any Clarity higher than an SI1 really starts to jump in price (all because the Clarity gets more rare as you go up the chart).
So SI1, SI2, I1, I2, and I3 are the Clarities that I’ll be talking about, and then we’ll see how these particular Clarities affect beauty.
SI1 Diamond Clarity
SI1 Clarity is the best Clarity of the popular Diamonds sold in stores today. This is for 2 main reasons:
1) The Diamonds are Eye-Clean
2) The Price is Reasonable
SI1 Diamonds are eye-clean (at least to most people with normal eye sight, and considering the fact that the stone is Certified by GIA). Eye-Clean means that when you look at the Diamond with your naked eye (like you would viewing it on your hand), you won’t see the small imperfections or flaws with your eyes.
Take a look at some real SI1 Diamonds below…
You can only see these flaws if you magnify the Diamond under 10x magnification and scrutinize the flaws inside.
Any Diamond SI1 or higher is considered eye-clean and placing an SI1 Diamond up against a VS or VVS Diamond will pretty much look the same. You’ll need a microscope to spot the differences. This is why I usually always advise customers buying a Diamond, to buy at least SI1 or higher. You won’t see the flaws!
If you can’t see any visual difference in the stones, then why pay the price?
Trust me, you’ll be really, really happy!
But if a spec or two in the stone doesn’t bother you, then that’s good. Look into SI2 stones. You can save a lot of money!
SI2 Diamond Clarity
SI2 is where you may start to see inclusions with your naked eyes. Take a look at two SI2 Diamonds below for examples…
Depending on your eye sight, and depending on the viewing angle of the Diamond (from the side or underside of the stone), you might see flaws like black spots, lines, clouds, pin points, or even cracks, nicks, chips or fractures in the stone.
This is where “so called beauty” could start to get noticeable. Each stone in the SI2 Clarity range should be judged independently for visual signs and imperfections that could start to stand out in the stone.
Some people don’t mind a little black dot or two, but if the flaws get bigger or concentrated all in one area, then it could really become an eye sore.
The best area for eye visible inclusions to appear in an SI2 Diamond is around the outside of the diamond (not directly in the center of the stone). When the flaws fall towards the outside of the table, many times the angle of the crown and facets will hide them. The sparkle of the stone can also keep you from seeing them. Do keep in mind though, that when the Diamond gets dirty, the flaws in the stone will stand out more. This is why many people will suddenly look down at their Diamond and say “Hey, there’s a black spot in my Diamond that wasn’t there before!” But it was. You just didn’t see it!
I Clarity Diamonds
I Clarity is made up of 3 different Clarity groups: I1 Clarity, I2 Clarity and I3 Clarity. See chart below…
I1 being at the top end of the I Clarity (Included) Range and I3 is at the low end (there is nothing lower).
All Diamonds in any I Clarity Range WILL have eye visible inclusions. It’s just the way it is. I Clarity means eye-visible!
This is why these Diamonds are in the lowest Clarity group. You will see flaws. And many times, like in the I3 Diamond above, the flaws will be HUGE!
Even after all of this, you can still find some awesome I1 (and possibly I2) Clarity Diamonds out there.
Sometimes you’ll see I Clarity stones with clouds, foggy areas, lines or small cracks instead of big black spots. That’s good because the black spots are the easiest to see, where as white inclusions tend to hide more and aren’t so obvious.
When you go down into I2 and I3 Clarity, the flaws get bigger, bolder and fill the stone more. I’ve seen a lot of I3 Diamonds that look so bad, that they resemble a jigsaw puzzle inside. Stones in an I3 Clarity can look like a piece of rock salt. Literally, just a chunk of pure white rock with no brilliance, no sparkle, no life and no beauty coming from the stone.
What a shame!
So here’s my take on beauty…
It’s all up to you!
Clarity does affect beauty, but only when it gets obvious and distracting. But, like I’ve said before, some people don’t mind seeing a flaw or two.
In fact, most people won’t see any flaws in any stone unless you point it out to them. Nobody ever gets that close to see them!
So is Clarity a big issue?
It depends on what you want to look at for the rest of your life. If a speck, a dot, or a line doesn’t bother you much, look into SI2 Diamonds (GIA of course).
If your eye sight is poor and you just don’t care about tiny inclusions (but want a big rock instead), then look into I Clarity Diamonds. After all, you have to be happy with it!
You’ll be able to get a much bigger diamond, for a much better price. Keep in mind, that the bigger the Carat Weight, the easier it will be to spot the flaws and inclusions inside.
Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder!
How to make your stone more attractive!
There are a couple of things you can look at that makes SI2 and I Clarity Diamonds more attractive…
The Cut of the Diamond
The better the Cut, the better the brilliance and sparkle of any diamond, and the more your flaws will be hidden.
Cut will be listed on the Diamond Report or Certificate, like the GIA one below…
If you have inclusions that are off to the side of your stone, then you can always have the Jeweler try to cover them up with a prong (which all good Jewelers will try to do anyway), or you can have your stone set into a bezel mounting or partial bezel mounting (shown below) to help mask some of the flaws…
Clean your Stone
The cleaner your stone is, the more it will shine. A shiny Diamond always looks better no matter what the quality of the Diamond is. The sparkle and fire will hide some of the flaws and inclusions.
One other thing to remember about flaws and imperfections is the fact that it makes identifying your Diamond easier!
One last thing to remember, it’s important to make sure you buy Certified Diamonds (I really prefer GIA Certified Diamonds).
That way, the Clarity listed on the Diamond Report, IS the Clarity of Diamond you’re buying.
And that’s the real beauty of it! :)
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About the Author
Author Richard Scott. Certified Diamontologist and Gemologist. 30 years of experience.
Let Richard help you choose the best diamond, the most dazzling engagement ring, and save as much money as possible. Read more about the author here. Follow Richard on social media; Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. Contact Richard Scott here.