First off, what is I3 clarity, and where can you buy them?
I3 is a clarity grade that has many, many inclusions (both internally and externally), that can easily be seen with the bare eye (no magnification, loupe or microscope needed).
Diamonds like I3 have very little brilliance or sparkle. They are the lowest possible clarity grade on Earth.
See the I clarity chart below:
As you can see, the I clarity range is made up with 3 grades: I1, I2 and I3. I3 is the lowest, the bottom of the bucket.
So why would you buy them?
To save money, of course. I3 clarity will be the cheapest clarity you can buy. You can literally save thousands of dollars by buying these stones.
Are they worth it?
Maybe… Maybe not. It all depends on what you’re using the diamond for, and if you’re fine with the way the diamond looks.
Most diamonds that are set into tennis bracelets, earrings and pendants are I clarity stones (meaning included). Usually these diamonds don’t get the scrutiny that an engagement ring would (people don’t grab your ear and yank it closer…) And in items where the diamonds are smaller, harder to see, I3 might be perfectly fine…
So is price the only reason?
Actually yes. I can’t think of any other reason to buy a diamond that’s filled with inclusions (especially eye-visible flaws). And with getting I3, you’re really getting the worst looking stones possible. Some will look dark, some will look like a chunk of crushed salt, others will have huge fractures or cracks… Some will even make you gasp! They’re eye-openers for sure.
And because I3 is riddled with huge inclusions, these faults actually make the stone more brittle. It could crack in half or chip much easier than a diamond that’s cleaner inside.
So is it still worth it?
On a quest to find I3 clarity diamonds, I went to Blue Nile and James Allen… Only to find NONE! These big diamond dealers don’t sell that low of a quality. Blue Nile’s lowest clarity is SI2, and James Allen’s is I1.
I had to venture into mall stores, eBay and Amazon to find them.
And this is what I got:
(And only that one person on eBay actually showed the REAL diamond (nice and dark). All the rest of the stores showed fake sample photos that in no way resemble the diamond you’d get).
See them all here:
- Kay Jewelers I3 Clarity Diamonds
- Jareds I3 Clarity Diamonds
- eBay’s I3 Clarity Diamonds
- Amazon’s I3 Clarity Diamonds
So there you go, to find the I3 diamonds, you just have to search for them. Most jewelers (especially independants) across the country will probably carry some I3 in their inventory (I use them for comparison to higher quality stones).
And the prices you’ll find are dirt cheap
Plus, if you look good and long enough, you may even find one that doesn’t look so bad (smaller stones look better than larger ones).
But if you want my advice:
Stick with I1 (at the other end of the included range). You can find some I1 clarity stones that face up extremely well (that look just like SI clarity or better). And the prices for these stones are still highly affordable.
So get an I3 if you want cheap-cheap (and assume the risk of damage), but for a halfway decent stone, check out these I1 clarity diamonds here:
Because they are still lower in clarity, lower in price, have eye-visible imperfections, but will look way better than an I3. No argument there.