What Are Eye Clean Diamonds: Clarity Explained for Buyers
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What Are Eye Clean Diamonds: Clarity Explained for Buyers

What Are Eye Clean Diamonds: Clarity Explained for Buyers

In my experience with gemstones, eye clean diamonds are a sought-after category because they appear clear and without blemishes to the naked eye. While clarity in diamonds is graded on a scale from 'Included' to 'Flawless,' an 'eye clean' diamond typically falls somewhere in the 'Slightly Included' or better categories. The term itself isn't officially recognized by gemological authorities, but it is commonly used by jewelers and consumers. The decisive factor for a diamond to be considered eye clean is that any inclusions or imperfections should not be visible when viewed with the naked eye from about a foot away.

The presence of inclusions can affect a diamond's value, but eye cleanliness ensures that the beauty of the stone is not compromised when it's worn. When buying a diamond, it's crucial to inspect it closely, or rely on trustworthy assessments to determine if the stone meets this informal eye clean standard. There are sophisticated methods for
cleaning and maintaining diamonds to preserve their appearance, such as the ultrasonic cleaning, which is often used to maintain the brilliance and eye cleanliness of a diamond over time.

Understanding Diamond Clarity


When selecting diamonds, one key factor I always consider is clarity, which refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Grading clarity involves evaluating these characteristics under 10× magnification.

Clarity Grades and Scale

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) established a clarity grading scale that assesses diamonds based on the presence of internal and external features, known as inclusions and blemishes, respectively. Here's the scale:

Clarity grades of a diamond
  • Flawless (FL): No inclusions or blemishes visible under 10× magnification.
  • Internally Flawless (IF): No inclusions and only surface blemishes visible under 10× magnification.
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2): Inclusions are so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification.
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2): Inclusions are observed with effort under 10× magnification but can be characterized as minor.
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2): Inclusions are noticeable under 10× magnification.
  • Included (I1, I2, and I3): Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.

An SI1 clarity diamond typically presents inclusions that are easily noticed under magnification, whereas VS2 clarity inclusions are observed with a bit more effort. In I1 clarity diamonds, inclusions are quite obvious and can affect the stone's visual appeal.

Evaluating Inclusions and Blemishes

I evaluate inclusions and blemishes based on five factors: size, number, position, nature, and color or relief. For instance, a large inclusion located in the center of the diamond will have more impact on the overall clarity grade than a small, peripheral inclusion. Diamond clarity assessment is critical, and while flawless diamonds possess no inclusions, finding such perfection is remarkably rare. As clarity decreases, the incidence of visible inclusions, like those common in lower clarity grades such as SI and I, rises.

Inclusions may be crystals of other minerals, internal breaks, or structural anomalies, while blemishes might include scratches or chips on the diamond's surface. The desired outcome is to find a diamond that appears clean to the naked eye, or "eye clean", which often can be found in diamonds graded VS2 or higher. However, some SI clarity diamonds may appear eye clean depending on the nature of their inclusions.

What Are Eye Clean Diamonds?

Eye clean diamond close up view


When I discuss eye clean diamonds, I'm referring to gems that appear free from inclusions or blemishes to the naked, unaided eye. Understanding what qualifies as eye clean is crucial for selecting a diamond that combines beauty with value.

Defining 'Eye Clean'

An eye clean diamond is one that lacks visible inclusions or blemishes when viewed with the naked eye from approximately 6-12 inches away in good lighting. This term is subjective, as what is eye clean to one person may not be to another, based on individual vision strength and standards. When I assess a diamond's eye cleanliness, I do not rely on magnification; this assessment is strictly based on what can be seen without assistance.

Grading of Eye Clean Diamonds

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS) do not use the term 'eye clean' in their official grading reports. They grade diamonds under 10x magnification. However, when I grade an eye clean diamond myself or with a jeweler, it's important to understand that while a diamond may receive a high clarity grade, inclusions may still be visible to the naked eye.

In practice, I find that diamonds graded SI1 or higher on the GIA or AGS scale are often eye clean. However, each diamond is unique, and some SI2 diamonds may also be eye clean, depending on the size, number, color, location, and orientation of the inclusions. Transparency is also a vital aspect of a diamond's appearance. An eye clean diamond should not only be free from visible inclusions but also maintain a transparent quality that allows light to travel through it, ensuring that the diamond sparkles brilliantly.

Factors Affecting Diamond Appearance

💎 Cut Quality: The quality of diamond cut greatly influences its brilliance, fire, and overall appearance.

💡 Light Performance: How well a diamond interacts with light affects its sparkle and brilliance.

🌈 Color Grade: The color of a diamond impacts its appearance, with colorless diamonds being more desirable.

🔬 Clarity Grade: The presence of inclusions or blemishes affects a diamond's clarity and overall look.

💍 Setting Type: The way a diamond is set can influence its visibility, security, and overall aesthetic appeal.

Selecting an eye-clean diamond requires understanding how certain characteristics influence its overall look. My examination focuses on color, cut, and carat size, revealing how they affect a diamond's clarity and brilliance under various lighting conditions.

Impact of Diamond Color on Visibility of Inclusions

The color of a diamond can significantly affect the visibility of inclusions. Lighter colored diamonds, like those in the D-to-Z color range described at the GIA Laboratory, can make inclusions more noticeable. Diamonds graded D-F are considered colorless and may reveal inclusions easily, whereas G-to-Z diamonds exhibit varying degrees of yellow or brown tint, which can sometimes mask certain inclusions.

Influence of Cut on Diamond Clarity Perception

The cut quality of a diamond is crucial in determining its clarity. A well-cut diamond will reflect light efficiently, enhancing the stone's brilliance and making inclusions less visible. Numerous diamond shapes also impact the perception of clarity. For example, round brilliant cuts are known for their exceptional ability to hide inclusions, whereas emerald cuts, with their open table, can make inclusions more apparent. Therefore, a diamond with a high-quality cut, such as those with excellent or very good ratings, can appear more pristine.

Role of Carat Size in Clarity Appearance

The carat weight, or size of a diamond, influences its appearance and potential for visible inclusions. Larger diamonds, those of a higher carat weight, have a greater surface area, and therefore inclusions may be more visible, especially without magnification. It is crucial to consider that even an eye-clean diamond may reveal inclusions under magnification. Additionally, when viewed in different lighting conditions, such as direct daylight versus artificial lighting, these inclusions can either be masked or emphasized.

Selecting the Right Diamond Shape and Cut

Different types of diamond cuts shown in the picture.


When I guide clients through the selection of a diamond, I focus on the interplay between shape and cut, which are pivotal in determining the stone's visual appeal.

Comparison of Different Diamond Shapes

I've noticed that each diamond shape carries a distinct personality and style. For example, the round cut is renowned for maximum brilliance, whereas the elongated marquise or oval cuts can create a slenderizing effect on the finger. The princess cut offers a contemporary square option with a mix of brilliance and clarity, while the cushion cut with its rounded corners combines the old mine facet pattern with a modern touch. For lovers of geometric lines, the emerald cut and Asscher cut stand out with their step-cut facets that emphasize clarity over brilliance. The baguette usually serves as an accent stone but it too favors clarity and is generally step-cut. Those who prefer a more unique look might gravitate towards the pear-shaped, heart-shaped, or radiant cuts, each offering a distinctive blend of facet patterns and overall appearance.

Step Cut vs. Brilliant Cut Clarity Implications

In my experience, step cut diamonds like the emerald and Asscher cuts emphasize a diamond's clarity due to their large, open tables and step-like facets. These cuts don't hide inclusions well, so selecting an eye-clean diamond in these shapes means finding a stone without visible inclusions. In contrast, brilliant cut diamonds, such as the round, princess, cushion, or marquise, are prized for how their facet patterns optimize light performance, thus hiding inclusions more effectively. The brilliant cuts are inherently forgiving, allowing me to recommend a diamond that balances clarity and brilliance without compromising the stone's visual appeal.

Viewing Conditions and Diamond Inspection

Diamond inspecting tools kept with diamonds for inspecting them.


When inspecting diamonds, especially to determine if they are eye-clean, I rely on specific tools and conditions. The right magnification and lighting are critical to accurately assess a diamond's clarity.

Tools for Assessing Clarity: Loupe and Magnification

A loupe is my go-to tool for examining diamonds. It provides 10x magnification, which is the industry standard for clarity grading. At this magnification level, I can pinpoint inclusions and imperfections that aren't visible to the naked eye. An eye-clean diamond should have no inclusions visible when viewed face up by the naked eye—essentially at a normal viewing distance without magnification.

Optimal Lighting and Viewing Distance for Diamond Examination

Lighting plays a pivotal role in clarity inspection. I use balanced daylight or equivalent LED lamps to illuminate each diamond's unique characteristics. The diamond should be examined in a face-up position, as this is how diamonds are typically viewed when set in jewelry. The appropriate distance for examining a diamond with the naked eye varies, but I maintain a range of about 6 to 12 inches—this is close enough to detect any notable imperfections while mimicking how it would be observed in a natural setting.

Guidance for Purchasing Diamonds

A diamond certificate shown in the picture.


When I set out on the quest for the perfect diamond, whether it be for an engagement ring or a special piece of jewelry, understanding which diamonds are eye-clean is essential. This means ensuring the gemstone does not have inclusions visible to the naked eye. Here's my approach to navigating this intricate process:

How to Shop for Eye Clean Diamonds

In my experience, shopping for eye-clean diamonds involves closely examining the stone beyond its certificate grade. While SI1 clarity diamonds often provide a balance between quality and value, I recommend personally inspecting or viewing high-definition images of the diamond, as is offered by reputable online retailers like James Allen and Blue Nile. Here's my checklist:

  • Zoom in on photographs or 360° videos when shopping online to assess clarity.
  • Request for an expert's opinion if available, as a second pair of eyes can offer reassurance.

Understanding Diamond Certifications

One must not overlook certifications which are pivotal in the diamond buying process. Trustworthy establishments such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS) provide the most respected certifications in the industry. When reviewing a diamond's certificate, here are my key focal points:

  • GIA or AGS report number: Ensures the diamond is certified and can be verified.
  • Clarity grade: This determines if the diamond is eye-clean, as mentioned in the report.

Tips for Diamond Buying and Clarity Considerations

I find that adhering to a set of guidelines keeps me focused and ensures I make an informed decision. Here's what I keep in mind:

  • Set a budget: Helps narrow down options to diamonds that are both beautiful and affordable.
  • Know the retailer: Choose a respected jewelry store or retailer with a solid return policy and customer service.
  • Inspect the diamond in various light settings: This is to ensure the diamond is eye-clean in all conditions.

Identifying and Understanding Diamond Inclusions

Different types of inclusion of diamond shown in the picture.


In assessing diamond quality, inclusions play a pivotal role. These internal characteristics directly impact the stone's transparency and, by extension, its desirability.

Common Types of Inclusions and Their Influence

Feathers: These are small cracks within a diamond that appear feather-like. Feathers do not greatly affect the strength of a diamond unless they reach the surface which can make the diamond more susceptible to damage. When I examine a diamond for these features, I check their direction and size, as they can influence the stone's clarity and durability.

  • Clouds: These are clusters of tiny pinpoints or crystals that can appear hazy under magnification. Depending on their density and location, clouds can diminish a diamond's transparency. When dispersed throughout the diamond, these clouds can have almost no effect on the appearance, but if they are dense, they can reduce sparkle.

  • Crystals: Small minerals or diamonds that were trapped during the diamond's formation. The visibility and impact on clarity depend on the size, color, and location of the crystal. A white or transparent crystal, for example, can be less noticeable, maintaining the diamond's clarity.

Transparency is key in gauging how these inclusions affect the overall appearance. A diamond with high transparency may have inclusions, such as clouds or crystals, without significant visual impact. However, if the inclusions are large enough to disrupt light passing through the diamond, this leads to a reduction in the diamond's brilliance and value.

In terms of purity, inclusions are natural identifiers which can confirm a diamond's natural origin. During my evaluation process, I scrutinize these imperfections to ensure they are not misleading in representing the diamond's quality.

Identifying visible inclusions is essential in determining whether a diamond can be considered "eye clean" – a term used to describe diamonds where inclusions are not visible to the naked eye. While it might have inclusions when viewed under magnification, as long as these imperfections do not detract from the stone's beauty when observed without aid, it retains its appeal.

It's my job to detect these inclusions and understand their influence on a diamond's overall beauty and structural integrity. While most inclusions will not compromise the strength of a diamond, some, like large feathers or included crystals that reach the surface, can undermine its stability. It is this intricate balance between natural characteristics and visual allure that underscores the importance of meticulously analyzing every diamond.

Assessing the Purity and Integrity of Diamonds

Inspecting diamond under lights for cheking inclusions.


When evaluating diamonds for purity and integrity, specific characteristics are scrutinized, such as the presence of imperfections that affect transparency. This assessment is pivotal in determining if a diamond is eye-clean, meaning no blemishes or inclusions are visible to the naked eye.

The Concept of Purity in Eye Clean Diamonds

I define eye-clean diamonds as those which, when observed with the naked eye from approximately 6-12 inches away, show no visible imperfections. The standard for purity in an eye-clean diamond centers around its transparency; the fewer the inclusions or blemishes, the more transparent and, thus, the purer the diamond appears. When assessing purity, I seek out diamonds that maintain this transparency under regular viewing conditions.

  • Visible Inclusions: None perceptible at a typical viewing distance
  • Internal Features: Slight internal characteristics may exist but do not detract from the overall appearance

Practical Advice on Integrity and Diamond Selection

Choosing a diamond with integrity involves looking beyond mere superficial appeal. I focus on diamonds with substantial structural integrity, which often translates to a longer lifespan for the stone. It's my practice to inspect a diamond's girdle for any chips or cracks and ensure its facets align correctly. When selecting a diamond, these factors take precedence:

  1. Girdle Examination: Check for evenness and absence of chips
  2. Facet Alignment: Ensure facets meet precisely and are symmetrical

Remember, the quest for an eye-clean diamond with unblemished purity and integrity is not just about aesthetics; it is about selecting a stone that will endure through time without losing its splendor.

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