For centuries women have appreciated and valued beautiful diamond jewellery. That is why diamond bracelets are considered treasured gifts for important occasions, such as anniversaries and birthdays. However, if you want to make the most of this type of investment, you also want to make sure that your diamonds are certified by the Gemological Institute of America, or GIA.

When a diamond piece of jewellery has this type of designation, it means that it meets certain standards for cut, colour, and clarity. To better understand what this means, you have to learn a little bit about how diamonds are graded in the first place.

What is Clarity?

When you look at a diamond, the clarity shows the amount of flawlessness in the stone. This is one of the components that is measured when a diamond is graded. Because the gem is formed deep down in the earth, under extreme pressure and heat, it may contain some small imperfections, these imperfections are called inclusions when they are on the inside of a stone, and are known as blemishes when they are on the outside. Therefore, the clarity of a stone references the number of imperfections. Diamonds that display more imperfections are less brilliant and graded as less clear than stones that have fewer of these marks.

GIA Grading

When you are looking at diamond bracelets, rings, or necklaces, you will see that clarity plays a large part in how a diamond will be valued. Following GIA standards, all diamonds are graded using an 11-point clarity scale. If the clarity of the stones on diamond bracelets, for instance, are listed as “FL” (flawless), then you are looking at truly valuable pieces of jewellery.

This designation is exceptionally rare as fewer than 1 in 5000 diamonds is given this score. The other, designation, “IF” (internally flawless), means the diamond only exhibits external blemishes – marks that can only be seen by a skilled grader utilizing 10x magnification.

Diamonds are also graded for clarity as follows –

  • VVS1 and VVS2 stand for diamonds that are Very, Very Slightly Included. All the inclusions for these ratings can only seen with 10x magnification.

  • VS1 and VS2 diamonds mean the stones are Very Slightly Included – blemishes that are best seen with magnification, but are characterized as being minor.

  • SI1 and SI2, or Slightly Included diamonds, are noticeable by a grader who uses some magnification. SI2 inclusions can sometimes be seen without magnification.

  • I1, I2 and I3 included diamonds show apparent inclusions under magnification. I1 diamonds present inclusions that are usually seen by the naked eye. In the case of I2 and I3 graded diamonds, their inclusions are often too pronounced to be sold.

Colour and cut are two other major components that are checked to evaluate and value a diamond. The stone’s cut refers to how the proportion and symmetry of the stone catches light or conveys sparkle. Colour, on the other hand, references a diamond’s whiteness. Diamonds that are whiter receive higher marks for grading than diamonds that display some other colour.

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