Clarity describes the amount of inclusions in a stone.
Inclusions are occasionally foreign substances, in the shape of specks or crystals, or other gemological phenomena like negative crystals, cavities carrying gas or water, etc. Some inclusions are actually fractures in the material impeding the light, deflecting it to undesirable directions, or dangerously reducing the gem’s overall durability. A crack near the girdle is any setter’s nightmare.
Magnifying loupes are usually used to detect inclusions but, with the exception of durability-related inclusions, only those visible to the naked eye should influence our evaluation.
Inclusions are very often the signature of the stone type, and may indicate the origin of the stone. Even fractures have redeeming qualities, because they could contain residues of oil, artificial colors or epoxy, among other taboo materials. Consequently, when you loupe a nice clean gem and see no inclusions, then you may have a good reason to suspect that the stone is synthetic.
It can be said about inclusions that it is good to have them as long as we do not see them with the naked eye. That is why the smaller, the fewer, and well-hidden the inclusions, the better. Inclusions provide the proof that a gem is natural.
It must be mentioned that the GIA/AGL grading system divides all gem types into three groups, where, for example: type # 1, Citrine graded as SI1 (slightly included), will contain the same number of inclusions as type # 2, spinel graded as VS (very slight included). The underlying logic is that we must accept a certain level of inclusions in a specific type as natural property of that type.
In our gem descriptions, we use three basic levels of “loupe cleanliness”. In a “loupe clean” gem, there are no visible inclusions with a x10 loupe; “eye clean” means that there are no visible inclusions to the naked eye; and “included” simply means that there are some visible inclusions. To refine the grading, we also use the terms “nearly loupe clean”, and “nearly eye clean”.
If you have questions regarding specific items please contact us. Do not forget to mention the item catalogue number along with your inquiry.