The Most Common Mistake When Choosing Loose Diamond Clarity

Thu, 02/14/2013 - 17:54

With regard to the purchase of loose diamonds, clarity refers to the degree to which imperfections are present, either internally or on the surface of the stone. Buyers often pay a premium for higher clarity, believing this will improve the appearance of the diamond. However, in many cases it will have no effect at all, beyond a certain threshold.

Lumera offers a comprehensive guide to diamond clarity, which gives an explanation of each grade (as determined by GIA), as well as a definition of each type of clarity characteristic mapped on a diamond grading certificate. This overview should answer any questions about what clarity refers to, and how it effects the price and appearance of a diamond.

Even with this information, however, the most common mistake with regard to clarity is purchasing a loose diamond of very high clarity in an attempt to improve the appearance. Buyers should understand that once you have a diamond with no flaws either visible to the naked eye, or that in any way affect the structural integrity of the diamond, moving further up the clarity scale is only increasing the rarity of the diamond, not improving its appearance.

For instance, a 2.00 ct Round diamond of VS2 clarity will look identical (to the naked eye) in all respects to a comparable IF diamond. The reason the price is higher for the IF diamond is because there are fewer of them (fewer than 3% of diamonds are graded IF). Therefore the price is higher due to scarcity. Knowing this, an IF diamond might still be the right choice, provided the buyer understands that what they are paying for is not enhanced appearance, but rarity. For others, this is enough information to know that a clarity grade beyond what the eye can appreciate is unnecessary.

In general, any clarity grade higher than VS2 will not enhance the appearance of a diamond. In some cases, diamonds as low as SI2 will look as flawless to the naked eye as any higher grade. This is more common the smaller the diamond, as all clarity characteristics, regardless of severity, become increasingly more difficult to see.

Lumera recommends working with a diamond consultant if you have any questions regarding clarity, or you just want to make sure you are buying a loose diamond with the right clarity for your individual need.