Diamonds 101 – Clarity & Shape

Today is the final installment – at least for now – of our Diamonds 101 series on this blog, and this entry will focus on two aspects of the diamond that will have a huge impact on the appearance of your jewelry – clarity and shape.

Clarity is exactly what it sounds like – a measure of the clearness and purity of a diamond. Even tiny flaws inside or on the surface of a diamond can affect the clarity, and the more flawless the diamond, the more valuable. Internal flaws are called inclusions, and can be anything from internal graining to tiny bubbles created by small minerals that were absorbed into the growing diamond. Surface flaws are called blemishes, and are often things like scratches or nicks, or stress lines on the surface of a diamond. Flaws are what make each diamond so unique, but they can also negatively affect the clarity of a diamond. The clarity scale is based on letters, and for once, an F grade is what you want! F stands for flawless. Some other grades include IF (Internally Flawless,) VS1 (Very Slightly Included 1, which means only minor inclusions,) and I1 (Included 1, which means more visible inclusions.)

While clarity affects the look of a diamond, shape is probably the most recognizable aspect of a diamond’s appearance. Shape describes not only the outline of a diamond, but also the pattern of the facets. The most common shape is the round brilliant cut – this is the shape that over 75% of diamonds are sold in. Non-round shapes are called “fancy shapes,” and can certainly make a diamond stand out. But if you find a round brilliant cut diamond calls to you, there is good reason – this beautiful shape maximizes the sparkle of a diamond, and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular!

We hope with this brief diamond education, you feel more prepared to shop for diamond jewelry, from necklaces to engagement rings. Chicago and Northwest Indiana customers can find out more at any James & Sons location, and see what all this diamond jargon looks like in real life!

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