Written by Nickie Fleming in Jewelry
Viewed by 113 readers since 03-18-2009
Antwerp, Belgium is the place to be when you want to buy a diamond. Not far from the railway station, you’ll find the Jewish quarter, where most of the dealers are situated. My mother’s youngest brother has worked for one of these diamond dealers, nicknamed Sammy. It took me just a phone call to uncle Pierre to find out more about the diamond industry.
He told me that ordinary people like you and me want to buy a diamond for a special occasion (an engagement, an anniversary, a special birthday), so they want something that will look nice on their spouse’s finger. Alas, unless you know full well about the diamond (their clarity, the carat scale, the color, …) you will very often end up with a fake diamond.
Uncle’s advice is never to buy a diamond unless you are referred to a dealer, who will sell you a real diamond for the price you have in mind (big or small, whatever you decide).
And now a bit more about a diamond’s clarity. First of all, we have to realize that flawless diamonds are nearly not found, and thus become very, very expensive! Most diamonds do have a flaw, whether on the surface (blemishes) or inside (inclusions). This derives from the fact that diamonds are formed by nature as crystals of carbon, deep below the earth’s surface.
The clarity of a diamond only becomes important, when the blemishes and inclusions are visible to the eye, and affect the purchase.
For this reason, the diamond industry has set standard that define clarity of a stone. They rate diamonds according to the visibility of blemishes and inclusions under a magnifying glass.
The highest grade (= the most expensive) is F (flawless). This means that no inclusions are visible when undergoing a check under magnification. As said above, diamonds like this are very rare, and you’ll have to pay a great deal of money to own one!
Just beneath this grade is IF (internally flawless). This means that the diamond has no inclusions, but will have some very minor blemishes on the surface (very difficult to detect). Also these are rare and expensive.
VVS1 and VVS2 (very, very slightly included). These stone have minute inclusions, which are very difficult to detect under the magnifying glass by a trained gemologist. Followed by VS1 and VS2 (very slightly included), with inclusions difficult to detect.
Then you get SI1 and SI2 (slightly included). Here you’ll have minute inclusions which can be more easily detected under magnification.
Finally, 11–12–13 (included). These stones have inclusions visible under the magnifying glass, as well with the human eye.
You must remember here that the clarity guide (at least from F to SI) only reflects on the value of the diamond, not on the appearance perceived by the human eye!
If you want to buy a beautiful diamond, you need not pay a couple of (hundred) thousands to find the one you like. There are already beautiful stones in the SI categories.