But Not All Clouds Are Equal

When you buy a diamond, there is so much information to learn.  The better informed you are, the more likely you’re going to get a spectacular stone.  The bottom line is, everyone wants a diamond that sparkles and full of fire and brilliance.  There are several factors to consider, factors that affect just how well your diamond will shine.

You have probably heard plenty about the 4 C’s: diamond cut, diamond clarity, diamond color and diamond carat weight.  Let’s focus on diamond clarity.  Clarity is a reflection of how many flaws a diamond contains.  Internal flaws are called diamond inclusions, and one type of inclusion is called a cloud.  Not all clouds are created equal.  Some can be severe while others may have little or no affect on the clarity rating of a diamond.  A cloud that is not sever will not be seen by the naked eye and so the diamond can still be an eye clean diamond even if it contains a cloud or other inclusions.

What is a Diamond Cloud?

A diamond cloud is a group of three or more pinpoint inclusions.  A pinpoint inclusion is a tiny crystal that looks like a dot under a 10x jeweler’s loupe.  Each of the pinpoints in a cloud may not show up under 10x magnification individually.  As a group, however, they look like a white or gray patch in the diamond.

Diamond certificates indicate the presence of a cloud within the diamond by placing red dots on an image of the diamond, on the far sides of the cloud.  If the cloud is sizable, the report may have a circle instead of dots to indicate the extent of the cloud.  Diamond certification is a very intricate process.  To learn more, visit: reading a diamond certificate.

How Clouds Affect Diamond Clarity

The extent to which clouds affect the clarity of a diamond depends on several factors.  The size and density of a cloud, in addition to the light used to evaluate the diamond, all play a role in the diamond’s clarity.  The effect is murkiness within the diamond and sometimes a dullness that lowers level of fire and sparkle.

A cloud that covers one third or more of the diamond will have a negative affect on the diamond’s clarity.  Some clouds are almost transparent, while others may appear light gray.  The less dense a cloud is, meaning it has fewer pinpoint inclusions, the lighter the color of the cloud and the more clarity the diamond has.  Many clouds are not visible without magnification far greater than the standard 10x used for diamond certification.

Clouds and Diamond Durability

Diamond clouds do not affect the durability of a diamond.  Since pinpoints do not interrupt the diamond’s crystal structure, the cloud does not make the diamond more vulnerable to damage.  Other internal inclusions may affect the strength of a diamond, as well as the cut of a diamond in delicate areas, such as around the girdle.

A diamond’s internal make-up may seem surprising, with so many different aspects contributing to a diamond’s life and fire.  Internal diamond clouds may not be noticeable at all, or they may affect a diamond greatly.  Reading the grading certificate carefully and inspecting the diamond closely will ensure you are satisfied whether clouds are present in the diamond or not.

Focus on  Diamond Cut more than Clarity

Of the 4 C’s, diamond cut is by far the most important.  This may come as a surprise after all of this discussion about clarity and how clouds may or may not affect your diamond’s appearance.  Cut refers to the quality of the “cut” of a diamond, not to be confused with shape.

The diamond facets are the main reason a stone sparkles.  If the diamond was not cut correctly, the light will not pass through the diamond properly, making it look dull and lifeless.

If you are going to spend money to upgrade your diamond, go for a better grade of Diamond Cut.  We recommend a grading of good, very good or excellent.  For sure, don’t upgrade diamond clarity at the expense of cut!

After cut, diamond color is the next most important.  For more advice on choosing the perfect diamond and perfect diamond ring, visit our engagement ring buying guide.

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