What does EYE CLEAN mean?
This IGTV covers a crucial topic for diamond shoppers, specifically about the clarity of diamonds and what the term “eye-clean” means. We use this term frequently when referencing our diamonds to gauge how visible the inclusions are to the naked eye (or without the assistance of magnification). At Lauren B, we work with diamonds in all different clarity ranges starting from SI2 and above. Diamonds that are in the SI range, SI1 and SI2, and even VS2 these stones WILL have inclusions internally, but it is important to understand how visible they can be when not viewed under a microscope or with a loupe.
To put it even more specifically, the term “eye-clean” means that when you are looking at the diamond from the face-up view, six to twelve inches away from your face, and without a microscope, you would not be able to see any of the inclusions. The diamond shown is an SI2 clarity stone, and shown on the GIA chart are the inclusions within the stone. The type of inclusions that are in this SI2 diamond are actually transparent and blend into the facets. Under magnification, it is still challenging to see those inclusions, but without the loupe or microscope, this diamond would be considered eye-clean.
VS1 clarity and higher will always be eye-clean. 95% of VS2 clarity diamonds are eye clean as well, but SI1 and SI2 range can be tricky. On a GIA report, there is an area known as the plot, which is effectively a map that will show you the types of inclusions and where the inclusions are located within the diamond. Some GIA plots will show that there are a lot of inclusions scattered within the center of the diamond but in real life they are not easily detectable. The types of inclusions scattered within the table of the radiant cut stone are white or transparent, so they can not be easily seen. This is a huge plus for a diamond that is SI1 clarity!
How Cut Affects Clarity
Different diamond shapes have different standards for clarity. A brilliant cut stone, like a round brilliant, will more easily conceal any inclusions within the diamond due to its brilliant cut facet arrangement. Other brilliant cut shapes include pear, marquise, radiant and oval. For brilliant cut shapes, you can opt for a lower clarity grade knowing that as long as it is eye-clean, the inclusions should not be visible.
An emerald cut, for example, is classified as a step-cut diamond. Because of the transparency of this stone, you can see right through it, as the facets are fewer and more open. We would recommend going VS2 or higher for a step-cut’s clarity grade.
How Size Affects Clarity
The size of the diamond can also play a role in the level of importance of its clarity. As depicted in the video, we have a 1ct. and a 4ct. Cushion diamond. In a 1ct. stone, the facets are much more concentrated so any inclusions can be easily concealed within the smaller stone. In a larger diamond, everything is magnified. There is a lot more surface area where inclusions can be spotted. Therefore, it is very important when selecting from larger stones, that you are able to acquire a diamond that is eye clean.
How Different Inclusions Affect A Diamond’s Appearance
Some diamonds have clouds (collections of pinpoints) or graining (looks like white scrapes) within the stone, and no crystals (smaller transparent diamond growths). This can sometimes still create a very cloudy and hazy appearance. We would consider this less ideal than having a diamond that was completely clean with one or few crystal inclusions because it affects the overall brilliance of the diamond.
In the video, shown on the right, is an SI2 diamond that has many imperfections, including clouds and graining. On the left is an SI2 diamond that just has a few minimal crystals within the stone. You can see that the diamond on the left that has fewer and smaller inclusions has better light performance than the diamond that has clouds and graining. The one on the right is a diamond that we would not consider eye-clean. Overall this diamond appears very clean, but there is one larger inclusion towards the center of the stone that is black and easily detected without using magnification.
Our virtual diamond inventory is accessible on www.laurenb.com and our design consultants are available to help you find the perfect diamond for your ring!