Believe it or not, clarity grading a diamond is easier than learning your ABC’s. There are two main categories we want to be concerned with: the diamond with inclusions and blemishes we can see with our own eyes, category I, and those that appear to be “eye clean,” category II. Once we’ve determined which category a diamond falls in, we can break it down into sub-categories.
Category I: The Imperfects – SI2, I1, I2, I3 (a.k.a., River Rocks, Bluff Diamonds, Commercial Grade and Drill Bit Dodgers)
While the easiest way to determine the clarity grade of a diamond is just to ask the seller, this assumes he’s telling you the truth. But since these four grades are the bottom of the barrel, I’m met very few vendors who will brag about how bad their diamonds are. The vendor is also aware that even if you’re farsighted and they could misrepresent these dogs, it’s not very likely your fiance or independent appraiser will fall into the same trap.
Therefore, if a jeweler tells you your diamond is an SI2, I1, I2 or I3; know you’ve gone as low as you can go. These grades tend to be popular with people who want size over quality. In pictures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 you can see some great examples of the “bull in the china shop” kind of damage you can expect to find in these moon rocks.
Category II: ‘Eye Cleans’
A. The Investments
Flawless, Internally Flawless, VVS1, VVS2 (a.k.a., Bentleys, Rolls, Safe Deposit Rocks)
When you look at pictures 10A, 10B, 10C and 10D, you’d swear you’re looking at the same diamond, but you’re not! You’re looking at four different round diamonds viewed under 10X magnification. Which one is the Flawless, which one is Internally Flawless and which ones are the VVS?
If all four grades look identical under magnification to the average bear, or are indistinguishable to gemologists without the aid of a loupe or microscope, then don’t worry about it. What makes these rocks distinguishable from the rocks in the first category is their LACK of inclusions, not the presence of any.
B. The Street Legals – VS1, VS2 – appropriately named due to being the highest grade recommended to wear or mount into jewelry (a.k.a., Mercedes, The Benz, The Lambs [short for Lamborghini]).
2. Blemishes — imperfection on the outside of a diamond (chip, scratch, fracture, polishing lines)
3. Loupe — a small magnifying glass used to view gemstones.