Diamond Buyer's Guide
Most diamonds contain inclusions - natural identifying characteristics such as minerals or fractures. These are known as nature's 'fingerprints' or 'birthmarks' and may look like tiny crystals, clouds or feathers. Most inclusions are invisible to the naked eye. The fewer inclusions in the diamond, the greater the clarity and the more valuable it is. Some inclusions can be hidden by a diamond's setting or mount and therefore have very little effect on the beauty of a diamond engagement ring.
clarity examples are for guidance purposes only
|CIBJO - diamonds over 0.47 carats||Loupe clean||VVS1 VVS2||VS1 VS2||SI1 SI2||P1 P2 P3|
|CIBJO - diamonds under 0.47 carats||Loupe clean||VVS2||VS||SI||P1 P2 P3|
|GIA - all diamond weights||FL IF||VVS1 VVS2||VS1 VS2||SI1 SI2||I1 I2 I3|
|Flawless,internally flawless||Very, very slightly included||Very slightly included||slightly included||Included|
The flow of light
When light enters a diamond, it is reflected in and refracted out. If anything disrupts this flow of light, some light can be lost and the diamond's brilliance may be diminished. The number, size and position of inclusions can affect this flow of light.
International grading scale
Inclusions are ranked on a scale of perfection called clarity. There are two main bodies that set these scales, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and the CIBJO (International Confederation Of Jewellery Silverware and Diamonds). At Ernest Jones we use the International Grading Scale developed by CIBJO, which is the oldest representative organisation in the jewellery industry. The scales developed by both CIBJO and the GIA are based on the visibility of inclusions using a single lens magnifying glass called a loupe, which allows jewellers to see diamonds at 10x their actual size.
The CIBJO scale ranks diamonds from Loupe Clean through to P (Piqué - French for picked):
- Loupe Clean diamonds are flawless or internally flawless and very rare and valuable.
- Diamonds that have very, very slight inclusions, are graded VVS1-VVS2 and, even with a loupe, the inclusions can be difficult to see.
- Diamonds that are very slightly included are graded as VS1-VS2.
- Diamonds that are graded S1-S2 feature only slight inclusions which may or may not be visible to the naked eye.
- Any diamond that has inclusions that is visible to the naked eye, are P1-P3 although P1 will have fewer inclusions than P3.
At Ernest Jones we only state the clarity of certificated diamonds. We do not otherwise state the clarity of our diamonds.