Diamond Clarity: Beauty Versus Cost


Diamond Clarity is usually ranked on the GIA grading scale (shown above). It may come as a surprise, but the GIA Clarity rankings are based on the rarity of a diamond, not necessarily it’s beauty, brilliance or value.

A diamond with a high Clarity ranking can be rare and expensive, but downright ugly if it does not meet high tolerances for Color and Cut as well.

Gemologists grade diamonds for Clarity using a 10-power loupe. A diamond is considered ” Eye Clean” if it has no flaws visible to the naked eye. This is an important distinction if you are looking for the best value when buying a diamond. On the scale above, notice that all diamonds SI3 and above are “Eye clean”

While the difference in Clarity between an SI3 diamond and an IF diamond cannot be discerned with the naked eye, the difference in cost can be well over 400% in a diamond of 1 carat or more. As mentioned above, the GIA Clarity scale rates and prices diamonds based on their rarity, not their perceived brilliance and beauty.

If you want the privilege of owning a rare masterpiece of nature, then we welcome you to consider diamonds above the SI Clarity range. However, unless the viewer has a magnifying loupe, or a microscope available, they will not be able to see the difference.

If you are buying a less expensive diamond that is graded I1 or I2 for Clarity, then there are some important considerations to be made. If your diamond is certified,  you can tell in advance of buying the diamond where the inclusions are and how they will affect the beauty of your diamond by evaluating the gemologist’s plot of your diamond.