Diamond Clarity and Colour Explained

Diamonds are forever. They can make the perfect birthday or anniversary gift. They speak of elegance, class and style. They can also be the perfect way to ask that special someone the biggest question you’ll ever ask in your lifetime. But there’s more to diamonds than dazzle and shine. Diamond clarity and the cut of the stone can inform how much a diamond is worth, and no two stones are identical. Diamonds get graded by the four “C”’s. Carat, colour, clarity and cut. Let’s take a further look at diamond clarity and colour, and explain exactly what they are.

About Diamond Colour

A true, pure and structurally flawless diamond is actually transparent, with no colour at all. Yet no diamonds are completely flawless. The colour of a diamond gets determined by chemical impurities and structural flaws in its crystal lattice. Diamond colour is graded by letters, from D through to Z. D through to F are colourless. G through to J diamonds are nearly colourless, but contain small traces of colour almost undetectable to the naked eye. The next grade is K to M. Diamonds in this colour grade have a noticeable “warm” colouration. N through R have visible colour – a yellow or slightly brown tint that is easy to spot. S through to Z have a very easy to see colouration. There is also another class of coloured diamonds – “Fancy”. Fancy diamonds are very obviously yellow.

Diamond Clarity Explained

Diamond clarity is a measure of quality. Clarity relates to the visual appearance of the external and internal characteristics of the diamond. These characteristics are also known as inclusions, while defects get called blemishes. There is a sliding scale of clarity. Many factors are considered when grading diamond clarity. These includes size, position and number of inclusions as well as how they impact the overall appearance of the stone.

The highest clarity grade is Internally Flawless, or IF. These diamonds have no inclusions, although they may have some tiny blemishes invisible to the naked eye. The next is Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2). The inclusions in these diamonds are so small that they are barely visible, even to highly qualified graders. The next level of clarity is Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2). Their inclusions are visible under a magnifying glass. Next is Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2). These gems have inclusions that are visible under a glass, and somewhat visible to the naked eye. Finally there’s Included clarity (I1, I2 and I3). These gems have obvious inclusions that are always visible.

Looking for the Perfect Piece?

Harrington & Co has a range of luxury vintage diamonds and jewellery available. Please feel free to browse our range of wares. If you’re not sure about how to find the perfect piece for that special someone, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you.