Buying Gemstones For Jewelry - Clarity

Gemstone buying guide: Clarity

There are a vast variety of gemstones, each of which comes with their own unique flaws and minerals which give them their own identifying marks and inclusions. Most people believe that these flaws detract from the beauty of the stone and it’s value, but that’s not always the case. When you are buying a gemstone, it’s important to know the standard for that variety of gemstone verses what you expect it to be.

One example of this is the Emerald. Heavily included Emeralds can be very expensive as it’s natural formation is harsh resulting in many natural inclusions.

Blue Topaz or Citrine on the other hand, are just a couple of stones which naturally have less flaws and inclusions. The location and type of inclusions are also important factors with colored gemstones.

For instance: As stone with a small crack in the lower pavilion section of a cut stone will be harder to see than that of one near the top or crown of the stone. It would also hinder the movement of light through the stone and may also affect it’s durability. Inclusions are also a very helpful clue as to the origin of the gemstone.

For instance: Burmese Rubies have small crystal like inclusions where as African Rubies do not contain them but have their own type. Clarity is an important when comparing quality gemstones. Generally the best values are in stones that are slightly to moderately included. Exceptional gemstones with few or no inclusions are available, but carry a hefty price. There are 3 clarity scales the GIA uses for different types of stones.

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TYPE 1 GEMSTONES

(these stones are typically inclusion free) Amethyst, Beryl (except Red Beryl & Emerald), Citrine, Chrysoberyl (except Alexandrite), Garnet (except green and orange), Kunzite, Topaz, Green Tourmaline, Tanzanite, Zircon. VVS - Minute to not detectable VS - Minor SI1 - Noticeable to obvious

SI2 - Obvious to noticeable

I1 - prominent to moderate affect on appearance or durability

I2 - Prominent to severe affect on appearance or durability

I3 - Prominent to severe affect on beauty, transparency, or durability

TYPE 2 GEMSTONES

(Gemstones that normally may have a few inclusions) Alexandrite, Andalusite, Iolite, Peridot, Rhodolite, Ruby, Sapphire, Spinel, Tourmaline & Tsavorite. VVS - Minor VS - Noticeable to obvious

SI1 - Noticeable to obvious

SI2 - Obvious to prominent

I1 - prominent - moderate affect on appearance or durability

I2 - prominent - severe affect on appearance or durability

I3 - prominent - severe affect on beauty, transparency, or durability

TYPE 3 GEMSTONES

(Gemstones that normally do not come clean) Emerald, Red Beryl (Bixbite), & Rubellite (Red Tourmaline)

VVS - Noticeable to obvious

VS - noticeable to obvious

SI1- obvious o prominent

SI2 - obvious to prominent

I1 - prominent to considerable affect on appearance or durability

I2 - prominent to severe affect on transparency or durability

I3 - prominent to severe affect on beauty, transparency, or durability.

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