Clarity refers (whether a diamond or another stone... sapphire, emerald, ruby etc). to a stones freedom from inclusions. Inclusions are marks inside the stone or blemishes on the surface of the stone (Scratches for example).
Inclusions (´sometimes referred to as internal characteristics´) are very varied and can be complicated in how they affect the look of a stone. From tiny little black pin point marks to tiny crystals of other minerals. Very, very few diamonds or other stones have no inclusions, referred to as flawless, they do exist but you will pay a high premium to purchase them. This is simply because flawless stones are much rarer and like that rare vintage car or watch, when supply is very limited and demand is high, the price sky rockets.
So what factors go into determining the clarity grade of a diamond? There are five main factors.
- The number of inclusions. The more there are, the poorer the grade (Quality).
- The size. The larger the inclusions, the poorer the grade.
- The position. Where the inclusion/s are located. The more central it/they are in the stone the poorer the grade.
- Brightness. The more noticeable the inclusions, the poorer the grade.
- Nature (The type of inclusion). Types of inclusion vary wildly, for example, a faint cloud will have a smaller affect on clarity than a dark crystal of the same size give that everything is equal.
Clarity is of critical importance as part of the four C´s (Carat, Cut, Color and Clarity), as it has a big impact on the value of the stone. The more marks there are, the cheaper the stone.
Some diamonds can have so many inclusions in them that they take on a resemblance to a sugar cube! A good example of when a stone like this might be sold is if a customer only has a modest budget, but still requires a large stone. These stones in the trade are often referred to as ´flash for cash´ stones.
In my experience, I would always recommend that my customers go for quality over size, however my role is to advise and guide rather than put limitations in place. The customer gets what the customer wants!