Diamond Clarity: Diamond Blemishes Defined

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Welcome to The Ring Adviser's Weekly Diamond Finds. Today we will continue our in-depth analysis at Clarity. The second most important factor in determining the worth of a diamond, Clarity refers to the number of inclusions found within the diamond, as well as their location and color. While most people are familiar with the basic terminology that corresponds with Clarity, this series of posts will provide greater detail as to what is lurking within the intricate structure of your diamond.

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Diamond Clarity: Diamond Blemishes Defined 

In a prior post, we detailed how Inclusions differ from Blemishes. Blemishes, as we revealed, are more often than not a side-effect of the diamond cutting process. Because of the extreme manipulation being brought upon the diamond surface, you can have errors appear. While it is every jeweler's intent to avoid such mistakes, more often than not they are difficult to circumvent. Regardless, just like with Inclusions, Blemishes are not only physical imperfections, they can also hinder the diamond's reflective properties and as such it is important to review their major attributes.

Types of Blemishes:

Burn Mark.jpg

Burn Mark: A Burn Mark on the surface of a diamond is very similar to a burn mark on the surface of an individual. Basically the surface was overheated. While our skin will redden and blister, it will eventually peal to reveal new skin underneath. A diamond does not have this luxury. During polishing if the surface of the diamond is overheated it will leave a hazy area which characterizes a Burn Mark.


Diamond Rough Girdle.jpg

Rough Girdle: The Girdle of a diamond should meet at a clean and precise line, giving a diamond it's angular and simetrical beauty. Unlike facets though, which always need to be precise, sometimes the Girdle can be left a bit rough, as particular mounting styles can hide such imperfections.    


Diamond Polish Lines.jpg

Polish Lines: The polishing of any material is simply the repetitive sanding of that material with finer and finer abrasive materials. If you've ever sanded something before you'll notice that you are basically scratching it. If you continue to do this in finer increments you'll reach a point where the scratches are so microscopic that they essentially disappear from the human eye, leaving a polished surface. Polish Lines on a diamond are basically a failure of this process where the diamond is left in a state where the scratshes are still visible.


Diamond Lizard.jpg

Lizard Skin: One of the most interesting types of Blemishes, Lizard Skin is the result of incorrect polishing. This occurs when when the diamond is polished against its natural flow. The resulting bumpy mess is referred to as Lizard Skin. The good news is that it can be fixed.


While there are many other types of Blemishes, such as Abrasion, Nick, Pit and Scratches, those all equate to the diamond basically getting hit. As with any hit it causes some degree of damage on the surface of the diamond. So, if we remember from our prior post describing the differences between Inclusions and Blemishes, we can determine the type of item based on the diamond's Diamond Certificate. As a reminder, let's look at an offering from James Allen and its accompanying Clarity rating. 

The above Oval diamond has a lot going on. It's Clarity rating is an I1 and we can see from its GIA Certificate that it has Crystal, Feather and Cavity Inclusions, but no Blemishes. Does this make the Diamond better or worse? In my humble opinion I would take an Inclusion over a Blemish any day of the week. While it might be difficult for a buyer to determine that a Diamond with such a low Clarity rating is for them, at the right price point it will be for someone.

In our next installment we will create an analytical analysis to see how differences in Clarity can cause increases and decreases on a Diamond's price. 


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