Determining which clarity of diamond to select can feel a bit like shopping for the Emperor’s New Clothes. A diamond free from all natural inclusions will command a much higher price than one that shows the telltale signs of “nature’s fingerprints.” The bottom line is, you will pay much more for things you can’t see!
Flawless diamonds are very rare. Most diamonds will contain what experts call inclusions. These can be microscopic carbon crystals, tiny fissures in the crystal structure, or just a small pinpoint or cloudy spot. Clarity is an important criterion in diamond selection because internal inclusions may affect how the diamond reflects light back to the eye. Keep in mind that most clarity characteristics in stones graded SI-1 or higher will only be visible under magnification. Still, a one and a half carat diamond of good color with only slightly visible internal inclusions may sell for $10,000.00-$12,000.00. But if you are lucky enough to find even an internally flawless diamond of comparable color and size, expect to pay upwards of $16,000.00.
Diamonds with a clarity grade of SI-2 or lower may have natural characteristics that can be seen without the aid of magnification. If a flawless diamond is beyond your budget, consider the following: inclusions are observable evidence that you are buying a natural diamond. Clarity characteristics can add personality to a diamond and make it easy to identify. Not all clarity characteristics are negatives. Imagine a gentleman rejecting Marilyn Monroe on account of the distinct beauty mark on her face!
Once you determine your budget, you will find an enticing array of diamonds to choose from. Understanding how clarity affects a diamond’s price and performance will give you the necessary knowledge to make a smart buying decision, one you will be happy with for years to come.