Global All About Diamond Clarity and Grade

All About Diamond Clarity and Grade


A dia­mond is a bril­liant-cut dia­mond that has a beau­ti­ful glow and iri­des­cent play of col­ors. Its name comes from the Greek (ἀδάμας), which means “invin­ci­ble”, “invin­ci­ble”. Accord­ing to the Mohs scale, which deter­mines the hard­ness of min­er­als, it ranks first in the world. Its main prop­er­ties, such as crys­tal clar­i­ty and dura­bil­i­ty, sym­bol­ize eter­nal, true and unceas­ing love, which is why it is the most pop­u­lar and cho­sen gem­stone in engage­ment rings. Wear­ing jew­el­ry with a dia­mond sup­ports inner strength, helps to achieve goals, strength­ens rela­tion­ships.

In ancient times, dia­monds were pre­cious stones that were val­ued by most cul­tures. The Greeks and Romans had many the­o­ries about its ori­gin. They con­sid­ered these gems to be the tears of the gods or the frag­ments of fall­en stars from heav­en.

In Egypt, they per­son­i­fied the sun, sym­bol­iz­ing strength and wis­dom.
In India, it was believed that they are cre­at­ed as a result of a light­ning strike on a stone, due to which they have pro­tec­tive prop­er­ties and reflect dan­ger.
Nowa­days, the main asso­ci­a­tion is a sym­bol of dura­bil­i­ty: dia­mond jew­el­ry is for­ev­er. But in real­i­ty this rarely hap­pens. It depends on the para­me­ters that make up the qual­i­ty of a dia­mond, which make up its price.

When deter­min­ing the prop­er­ties of this gem, the 4C prin­ci­ple is used:

  • weight,
  • clean­li­ness,
  • col­or
  • branch­es.

In this arti­cle, we will dis­cuss each of them in detail.

What is the color and clarity of a diamond?

Absolute­ly pure dia­monds are very rare in nature. Almost all of them con­tain inter­nal defects, cracks and scratch­es. Their loca­tion, size and num­ber have a great influ­ence on the bright­ness (light refrac­tion effect). The few­er inclu­sions, the more expen­sive the dia­mond will cost. To deter­mine the clar­i­ty, a clas­si­fi­ca­tion is used, where each group of dia­mond clar­i­ty is defined dif­fer­ent­ly:

  • LC, FL, IF means the high­est puri­ty at which no inter­nal growths or oth­er dam­age can be found under a micro­scope or 10x mag­ni­fy­ing glass;
  • VVS1, VVS2 — the col­or and clar­i­ty of dia­monds look almost per­fect. But when viewed with a 10x mag­ni­fy­ing glass or under a micro­scope, there is minor dam­age;
  • VS1, VS2 — it will seem to a non-spe­cial­ist that the gem­stone is with­out inclu­sions or dam­age, but with a 10x mag­ni­fy­ing glass they can be detect­ed;
  • SI1, SI2 — a class of clar­i­ty of dia­monds, in the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of which it is dif­fi­cult to see defects and dam­age with­out a micro­scope, and when viewed with a 10x mag­ni­fy­ing glass, they imme­di­ate­ly become notice­able;
  • P1, P2, P3 / I1, I2, I3 — dam­age, build-up and dirt are clear­ly vis­i­ble even at a fleet­ing glance. A score of 1 to 3 means that inclu­sions in posi­tion 1–2 are dif­fi­cult to rec­og­nize, while in posi­tion 3 they are imme­di­ate­ly notice­able and cov­er more than 50% of the stone. Too many inclu­sions reduce the lev­el of bril­liance and sig­nif­i­cant­ly affect the trans­paren­cy of the stone and cause incor­rect prop­a­ga­tion of light rays pen­e­trat­ing the stone.

What is the color and clarity of a diamond?

The col­or range starts from com­plete­ly col­or­less and snow-white and ends with yel­low­ish. A col­or­less or white dia­mond is rat­ed as the purest white and is denot­ed by the let­ter D. A small per­cent­age are stones that are defined as “fan­cy”, hav­ing bright yel­low, red, pink, green, brown or even black.

Table of characteristics of all diamonds by color


Almost col­or­less

Weak yel­low

Very light yel­low

light yel­low

D: excep­tion­al white­ness

E: pure white

F: del­i­cate white

G: soft white

H: white

IJ: slight­ly mut­ed white

KM: mut­ed white

NR: mut­ed col­or

SZ: light­ly tint­ed

An ide­al­ly clean dia­mond of any carat should be com­plete­ly col­or­less — then it is denot­ed by the let­ter D, but stones of this col­or are quite rare in nature. The whiter the stone, the high­er its val­ue. Many con­sid­er H (white) and SI (small inclu­sions) to be the best because of their col­or, qual­i­ty and val­ue for mon­ey.

Characteristics of all diamonds by color

Scale of diamonds by weight (carat)

One of the most impor­tant cri­te­ria when choos­ing a dia­mond is its weight, which is indi­cat­ed in carats. (The unit of mea­sure­ment for the weight of dia­monds should not be con­fused with the fine­ness of gold, which is also expressed in carats!).
This name, trans­lat­ed from Greek, means “ker­a­tion” — a pod of a Mediter­ranean carob tree. Its dried seeds, due to the same size and weight, served as weights for jew­el­ers and phar­ma­cists. The larg­er the mass of the stone, the high­er its val­ue.
Inter­est­ing­ly, a 0.50 carat stone is more expen­sive than two 0.25 carat stones, assum­ing oth­er para­me­ters are held con­stant. This is due to the fact that larg­er stones are less com­mon in nature and are of greater val­ue than small­er ones of the same weight.
The carat table by weight of dia­monds is divid­ed into 100 points, that is, a stone with 50 points will weigh 0.50 carats, which cor­re­sponds to 0.1 grams. The cor­rect val­ues ​​for a 1 carat round bril­liant cut stone are approx­i­mate­ly 6.5 mm in diam­e­ter and 3.9 mm in height. A half carat (0.5) dia­mond should be approx­i­mate­ly 5.2 mm in diam­e­ter and 3.1 mm high.

Scale of diamonds by weight (carat)

The largest dia­mond ever found is the Cul­li­nan. In an unpol­ished, that is, in a raw form, it weighed 3106 carats. After cut­ting and pol­ish­ing, 105 dia­monds were made from it. In most cas­es, a dia­mond los­es about 50% of its weight when pol­ished. Dur­ing pro­cess­ing, the Cul­li­nan lost 65% of its weight. The largest of the dia­monds obtained from it is the “Star of Africa” ​​weigh­ing more than 530 carats, it adorns the scepter of the British Queen.

Grading of diamonds by cut

A rough dia­mond is dull and lacks lus­ter, mak­ing it the hard­est ele­ment to rate in a 4C. It takes into account the grind­ing fac­tor, sym­me­try and pol­ish­ing qual­i­ty.
The mod­ern dia­mond cut was devel­oped in 1919 by the Bel­gian math­e­mati­cian Mar­cel Tolkowsky. In its full form, it con­sists of 57 planes (56 faces and a sheet).

How diamonds are valued

When assess­ing the cor­rect­ness and qual­i­ty of the cut, the pro­por­tions of the dia­mond and the fin­ish (includ­ing errors in sym­me­try and pol­ish­ing) are ana­lyzed. A qual­i­ty cut empha­sizes the most ben­e­fi­cial opti­cal and aes­thet­ic qual­i­ties of a gem­stone.

There are 5 grades of dia­mond cut qual­i­ty:

  1. bad — pro­vides a base lev­el of gloss. This type of pol­ish­ing is usu­al­ly applied to very deep and nar­row or wide and small dia­monds. They lose most of the light from the side or bot­tom of the stone;
  2. sat­is­fac­to­ry — cre­ates an accept­able amount of shine, but almost does not shine;
  3. good — pro­vides the right amount of glow, but almost no flick­er;
  4. excel­lent — a com­pro­mise between qual­i­ty and price. It reflects slight­ly less light than a great cut, but costs less;
  5. The ide­al cut is one in which the light is com­plete­ly reflect­ed inside, giv­ing the stone a unique bril­liance. It aris­es as a result of total inter­nal reflec­tion and split­ting of light rays, as well as reflec­tion of light from exter­nal sur­faces (facets).

If the cut is too shal­low, light will pass through the bot­tom of the dia­mond, mak­ing the sur­face dull. If the cut is too deep, the light will expand and the stone will become dark.

International classification according to the shape of diamonds

One of the first steps tak­en to enhance the beau­ty of nat­ur­al stones is to give them the cor­rect shape (by split­ting or saw­ing).

10 Most Popular Diamond Shapes

  1. When grind­ing, the cir­cle acquires at least 58 faces, of which 33 are in the crown of the stone, and 25 are in the pavil­ion, that is, in its low­er part. Due to this, the amount of light is reflect­ed at the bot­tom of the stone, which visu­al­ly increas­es its size.
  2. The heart is a sym­bol of love and inex­tri­ca­ble con­nec­tion. It is also extreme­ly pop­u­lar in jew­el­ry. Due to the cor­rect pro­por­tions, includ­ing a per­fect­ly round­ed top and a sharp notch in the mid­dle, this is a very expen­sive form. Jew­el­ry with a heart-shaped stone is a great gift not only for a wed­ding anniver­sary or Valen­tine’s Day, but also for Moth­er’s Day and birth­days. Mary, Queen of Scots, gave her cousin, Queen Eliz­a­beth I, a heart-shaped ring in 1562 as a token of friend­ship and good­will.
  3. A tear, a pear, a drop is a hybrid of an oval and a canopy (one end of the stone is round­ed and the oth­er is point­ed). For this shape, 71 faces are suit­able for stones. Like the oval, this shape is espe­cial­ly pop­u­lar with women with small, puffy hands and short fin­gers, as it makes them look slim­mer and longer. It is also val­ued for its excel­lent abil­i­ty to reflect light.
  4. Shad­ow, eye — a stone of an elon­gat­ed shape with clear­ly point­ed edges, due to which they are opti­cal­ly enlarged. As in the case of an oval shape, they are cov­ered with 57 facets. This ele­gant form was first com­mis­sioned by Louis XV. Accord­ing to his idea, the dia­mond was sup­posed to reflect the beau­ti­ful shape of the lips of his beloved, the Mar­quise de Pom­padour.
  5. Rec­tan­gle — this shape can be in dif­fer­ent ver­sions depend­ing on the round­ing, sharp­en­ing or cut­ting of cor­ners, as well as the edge of the stone. The baguette was cre­at­ed in the 1920s, its oblong shape belongs to the Art Deco style. Pil­low (has round­ed cor­ners, which makes it look like a pil­low), emer­ald (has cut cor­ners and par­al­lel edges).
  6. An oval is an ellip­ti­cal shape for which stones usu­al­ly have 57 facets. This shape was cre­at­ed in 1957 and is a com­bi­na­tion of a cir­cle with an elon­gat­ed out­line. It is espe­cial­ly rec­om­mend­ed for women who have small hands and short fin­gers, because the elon­gat­ed shape of the stone makes them not only longer, but also slim­mer.
  7. The square is a time­less alter­na­tive to the round shape. Depend­ing on the details, such as round­ing, sharp­en­ing or trim­ming cor­ners and edges, as well as the num­ber of faces, it is defined in dif­fer­ent ways: princess (point­ed cor­ners and edges, addi­tion­al faceting), anti­qua (round­ed cor­ners and edges, often with a checker­board cut) , octa­gon (cut cor­ners).
  8. Polyg­o­nal shape — in addi­tion to basic polyg­o­nal shapes such as square and rec­tan­gle (and their vari­a­tions), we can also meet pen­tagons, hexa­gons, octagons, trape­zoids, rhom­bus­es, etc.
  9. Tril­lion — stones in this case acquire an exquis­ite tri­an­gle struc­ture with three straight or slight­ly curved (arc-shaped) edges. This shape has a dif­fer­ent num­ber of faces. Equal sides enhance the glow of the stones and cause the so-called col­or games. Its his­to­ry dates back to the 1960s and brought fresh­ness to jew­el­ry in the form of a geo­met­ric aspect.
  10. Sophis­ti­ca­tion — extrav­a­gant forms in the form of an aster­isk, flower, but­ter­fly, cres­cent / semi­cir­cle.

Which diamond clarity is better, regardless of shape, weight and color

Gem­stones of VS and Si puri­ty are con­sid­ered the stan­dard in jew­el­ry all over the world, dam­age and inclu­sions in which can only be seen under a micro­scope.


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