A diamond’s Clarity grade is based on the number, size, and location of the imperfections that naturally occur in a diamond. Most imperfections tend to be microscopic and generally do not affect the overall beauty of a stone. These inclusions are natural identifying marks that occur during the diamond formation process. Clarity is graded on a scale ranging from Flawless to Included, and the visibility of the imperfections are graded under 10x magnification.
When selecting a diamond, the buyer will determine if he/she is comfortable with the imperfections in a particular stone, since every diamond will have a different occurrence of imperfections. It is best to assess clarity with the naked eye first, before looping the stone to evaluate the imperfections under magnification. Once a diamond is purchased and set into a piece of jewelry, it is rarely viewed under magnification, so we encourage our clients to make a purchase based on the “naked eye” view.
The “safe zone” for clarity in a Brilliant diamond would be VS2 or above, while in a Step-cut diamond, it would be VS1 or above. Generally speaking, we advise that if the stone appears to be “eye clean” (one cannot see imperfections to the naked eye), there is a lot of value to be found in a SI1 or even SI2 quality stone.