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Diamond Clarity and What It Means

Aug 17, 2007
Diamond clarity is not as simple as how clear a diamond may look. Clarity refers to the flaws and inclusions in a stone and how they affect the light flow. The majority of gemstones are not perfect and will have flaws both on the inside and outside of the gem. Many of these are not seen by the human eye, and only show up with special magnification. How important this is to the normal purchaser is a personal issue.

What types of clarity will be determined?

If clarity is very important to the purchaser, or if the diamond is bought as an investment, then it is advisable to have the clarity determined by an outside source with nothing to gain from their findings. This can also be helpful if the gemstone is quite expensive and there is a need to insure it. Having a bona fide source rate the diamond could be of great benefit if there were to be a loss or theft.

Visual imperfections can impact diamond clarity, and therefore the value of the gemstone. For many people these may not be important, as long as they are not visible to the human eye, but as an investment, inclusions and flaws could have great impact.

In some cases, carbons can affect the clarity by appearing as small dark dots that can be found on the surface of a diamond. In many cases they will not be visible without magnification. One of the most commonly seen flaws in diamonds are pinpoints which appear on the surface of the stone and create a cloudy appearance. These are usually growths of crystals that are positioned closely together to create this cloudy appearance.


Many diamond clarity flaws are commonly repaired or at least minimized by the practice of enhancement treatments. This is a common practice within the gem industry and actually makes many gemstones more affordable and within the reach of most budgets.

Some diamonds are painted, and others are lasered to remove pinpoints and carbons, and yet others are drilled in order to reach small holes which are later filled. This can decrease the value , but at the same time, it may also improve it's appearance.

Diamond certificates from bona fide agencies can be valuable in providing information about enhancements, as well as all the identifying characteristics of a specific stone.

The importance of diamond clarity

How important diamond clarity is will depend on the buyer. If you are purchasing a diamond for a sentimental token as an engagement ring, and as long as it isn't extremely costly, you may only care how the diamond looks to the human eye. However, if the diamond is quite costly or bought as an investment, the clarity can be of extreme importance.
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