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Understanding Clarity Mapping

Diamonds are very complex and there are lot of factors that determine value. On this blog I'd like to elaborate more on clarity. As most customers wonder which characteristic is a better trade off while shopping for a diamond that fits their budget. There isn't a direct answer to be given as every characteristic plays a huge role in overall visual of a diamond , and I think it is fair to say that determining that factor truly varies on individual diamond basis.What makes shopping for a diamond tricky is that, diamond grading is very subjective in our industry. Gemological Institution of America also known as GIA is the gold standard for diamonds that have been papered by an independent labratory.

With this blog I will try to help you understand clarity of a diamond more in depth. Diamond clarity refers to the absence of these inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds without these markings are rare, and rarity affects a diamond's value. Imperfections that determine clarity grade of a diamond comes in many different forms as follows:

Bearding – Hair-like inclusions that form at the girdle area due to improper bruting processes. A heavily bearded girdle with a grey fuzzy appearance is never recommended.

Graining – Caused by irregular crystal growth. Internal graining can appear like whitish, colored or reflective lines. Depending on the severity, they can also appear like creases or give the diamond a hazy appearance.

Cavity – This usually takes the form of a larger or deep opening in the diamond’s surface. Cavities are usually created during the polishing process when an internal inclusion like a crystal falls out of its pocket.

Crystals – Included minerals that exist within the body of the diamond while it is mined. Depending on the type of minerals they are, they can be colorless (another diamond embedded with), black (carbon), reddish (garnets), greenish (peridots) and etc… Since colored crystal inclusions are much more obvious to the naked eye, they are generally undesirable & less expensive.

Cloud – A cloud inclusion is a very broad term used to classify a cluster of pinpoints/crystals found very close to each other. Depending on the nature of the cloud inclusion,

it can sometimes pose an issue to the diamond’s appearance. For example, when clouds get too big in size and density, they can cause the diamond to appear hazy and negatively affect its light transmission properties. If they are smaller and diffused, it generally isn’t a cause for concern.

Feather – A small crack or fracture within the diamond. Depending on your viewing angle, a feather can look transparent and almost invisible or it can catch on light and display a whitish appearance. Severe feathers can cause durability issues (especially if they are surface reaching or near the girdle area) or have unsightly coloration to them. 

Needle – A long thin needle-shaped (tiny-rod) inclusion that is usually white or transparent in color. If they appear in clusters, it might affect cause a detrimental effect on the diamond’s clarity.

Pinpoints – These are very small white or black crystals that are embedded inside a diamond.

Twinning Wisps – This inclusion is a result of growth defects in a diamond’s crystal structure. During a diamond’s formation process, it may stop growing due to unfavorable conditions and twinning wisps are form when growth restarts (for example thousands of years later) in a different direction.In essence, twinning wisps are a mixture of different inclusions such as pinpoints, crystals, feathers and clouds that resembles a somewhat twirly plane.

Chip – A small opening on the surface of a diamond often found near the edges or facet junctions. This inclusion is typically man-made in the sense that it is damage caused by wear and tear or accidental knocks. Can often be repaired by a diamond cutter, but sometimes not favorable to its value based on carat weight.

Indented Natural – A “flaw” which dips below the polished diamond’s surface. An indented natural is a part of the rough diamond that was left untouched during the polishing process and is usually found at the girdle.

This guide will give you a better understanding of types inclusions in a diamond as well as help you get a better visual while analyzing a mapping of GIA certification.

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