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    Selecting A Diamond Or Gemstone
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  Diamond Colors, Cuts, and Grades
    The Difference Between a Diamond
    Shining Facts About Jewelry Appraisals
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    Getting Started In Diamond Shapes
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    Diamonds In The Rough
    Choosing A Ring Setting

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    Five Tips For Choosing Your Wife
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    Choosing Ring Band Width For Your Engagement And Wedding
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    Choosing A Wedding Ring
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EVALUATING DIAMONDS UP CLOSE - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GIA CLARITY GRADES





GIA grades of diamonds are based on inclusions or flaws inherent in the diamond.

A "loupe" is not a derogatory remark for a gentleman from France, it's actually a tool used to scrutinize small items very closely. A loupe is a small type of magnifying glass, a far more common term used to describe evaluation tools. It's important to use these tools and to take a close and critical look at a diamond if you're serious about purchasing an engagement ring.

Learning About Diamond Clarity

Clarity is a term meaning the absence of flaws inside or on the surface of the diamond or gemstone. Is there such a thing as a perfect, flawless diamond? They are rare, and the more of a bargain you're offered on a flawless diamond be suspicious that it's a fake. Most diamonds will have some flaws and for the most part, these will be difficult to see unless you use a loupe. "Diamond inclusions" is a term meaning the internal flaws of a diamond. These might include tiny white or black spots inside the diamond or cracks. "Diamond blemishes" are referring to exterior or surface flaws and may include similarly, spots or tiny cracks that resulted from cutting and or polishing the stone.





Common Grades Of Diamonds

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades the clarity of diamonds as follows: (Note they use 10X magnification when grading)

FI: A flawless (and real) diamond, and one without any internal or external flaws and a very rare specimen.

IF: Internally flawless, this diamond has only slight external flaws but is perfect inside.

VVS1/VVS2: Two grades, meaning there are some "very, very" small, hard to detect blemishes.

VS1/VS2: Small blemishes, but only constituting one "very" meaning slightly more noticeable than the previous grade.

SI1/SI2: There are some inclusions that are noticeable, not necessarily to a buyer but to an experienced grader.

I1/I2/I3: These inclusions or blemishes are rather obvious, to experienced graders and maybe even casual buyers. These flaws could affect brilliance dramatically.





Choosing A Balance

Of course, everybody wants a flawless diamond. But just like finding a true soul mate, a flawless diamond is rare and an expensive luxury at that. When making your purchase remember that most high quality diamonds are flawed; it's just they are a grade IF or VVS2, meaning that only an experienced jeweler could probably detect any tiny blemishes. Unless you want to impress a roomful of jewelers with your engagement ring, then don't worry about not finding the perfect FI. Remember than a diamond doesn't have to be perfect to be brilliant and beautiful.


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