Eye-clean is not a very good term to describe diamonds…
You’ll often hear this phrase from jewelers when talking about diamond clarity.
“This diamond is eye-clean.”
(Does eye-clean make the diamond sound better than it really is?)
Eye-clean is supposed to mean that there are no eye-visible inclusions in the diamond (from the top view).
But here’s the problem…
Whose eyes are we talking about?
Your eyes? My eyes? Grandma’s eyes?
The fact is, we all have different eyesight and vision. We see things differently.
Some of us wear glasses, some wear bifocals. Some are nearsighted, far-sighted, and even half blind. So when we’re talking about such a vague term as “eye-clean“, how do we know if it really is eye-clean?
My eyesight is fine. I don’t wear glasses, but my eyes are sensitive to bright lights (like night driving). Lights I can see, microscopic imperfections I can’t!
So if all of our eyes see things differently…
How is eye-clean supposed to pan out?
Some will see the inclusions, others won’t.
Eye-clean is a term that basically means a normal person with 20/20 vision can hold up a diamond (book length away) and look directly down into the diamond (called the face Up position, or top view), and they won’t see any visible carbon spots (dark black spots that look like pepper) or other flaws in the diamond. Keep in mind, this is only when viewed from the top of the diamond (the crown)…
Not the side view.
SI2 clarity or higher falls into the eye-clean category. But a lot of jewelers will push the envelope and call I1 clarity diamonds eye-clean.
While some I1 diamonds do face up extremely well, they still have eye-visible inclusions in them. That’s why they are called I clarity. I clarity means “included“. Calling them eye-clean is not very truthful.
Most diamonds are eye-clean:
To an untrained eye, most diamonds are eye-clean (unless they have major black spots or cracks in them). Most people won’t see any inclusions in the diamond unless they are pointed out. And even then, some still find it difficult to see those little flaws (most of this is because diamonds are rather small objects to begin with).
No matter what, eye-clean is a very misleading and tricky term. Eye-clean should not take the place of an actual clarity grade.
If a jeweler says “The clarity is eye-clean…” ASK!
Ask them what the real clarity grade is. Is it an SI2? Or is it an I1? What’s their definition of eye-clean?
I would always advise getting the clarity in writing. Either with a jewelry appraisal or a diamond certificate. Just to be safe.
Here’s the great thing…
As we age, our eyesight gets worse. So the longer we live, the more “eye-clean” diamonds become. :) Sweet!
A bonus for getting older.
Let’s just hope that the guy who grades the diamonds has good vision (what’s his eyesight?)
All the more reason to buy certified (GIA is the best). Certificates will always tell you what the real clarity rating is.
At least from the face up position.
If you look at your diamond and see inclusions you’ll know the answer.
If you see the flaws, it’s an I clarity.
So is it eye-clean?
Or is it eye-dirty?
You be the judge.
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Author Richard Scott. Certified Diamontologist\Gemologist. 30 years of experience.
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