How do I know if my jeweler is telling the truth or exaggerating?
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See my detailed lesson on Clarity Grades in the Four C’s Tutorial. It gives some simplified definitions of the various clarity grades set by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), as well as a chart that compares all the various grading nomenclature used by different labs around the world.
Clarity is one of the two best-known factors in diamond pricing, along with color. While the color does affect a diamond’s appearance, obvious Inclusions (often called “flaws”) may distract your recipient’s eye from a stone’s overall beauty. We usually recommend diamonds without inclusions or flaws that are visible to the naked eye. This avoids inadvertent negative feedback from friends and ensures the wonderful, lifelong enjoyment of your diamond.
To achieve this, stay well above the I-1 clarity grade. Clarity grades of SI2 or above are defined as flawless to the naked eye, but SI1 is safer in larger sizes. It’s not necessary to go all the way up to IF (internally flawless) to get a beautiful diamond. From SI1 and above, diamonds will appear the same to the naked eye, differing only in the other factors of the 4 Cs: including Carat weight, Color and Cut.
Clarity greatly varies from one diamond to another, and no two are exactly alike. The Gemological Institute of America established standardized clarity grades for the diamond trade which are now used worldwide among dealers to help in trading and valuation.
The following chart gives an idea how each grade might look under a 10x loupe microscope:
NOTE: We feel that diamonds of clarity grades I-2 or I-3 (Imperfect 2 and Imperfect 3 as described by GIA) are not ideal as a representation of the bond of eternal love. Therefore, we do not recommend diamonds of these clarity grades for engagement rings.
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