i1 Diamond Clarity

Basics

If you’re looking for a bargain, i1 diamond clarity presents opportunity, but only if you know what to look for and what to avoid. Here is useful information when considering the purchase of an i1 diamond.

PriceScope Pointer: If you’re seeking an i1 diamond with no visible inclusions, be sure you have a clear definition for “eye clean” like the one we will provide below.

Before going on: Check out the PriceScope Diamond Buying Guide

Basics-1 | i1 Diamond Clarity Described

The diamond clarity grade describes a stone’s relative freedom from internal characteristics, classified as inclusions, and surface characteristics, classified as blemishes.

An i1 diamond is one with inclusions which are obvious to a gemologist when using 10X magnification, and possibly without magnification. In fact, the “i” in i1 refers to the “included” range, used to describe the lowest three grades on the clarity scale. That range spans three levels, where an i1 diamond lands at the top and an i3 diamond lands at the bottom. One or more of the following is typical of diamonds in this range:

  • The inclusions can be seen without magnification.
  • The inclusions are so numerous or significant that they interfere with transparency and brightness.
  • The inclusions threaten the diamond’s durability.

An i1 diamond usually has inclusions and/or blemishes which have a moderate impact on its beauty or durability. Certain i1 diamonds have inclusions or features which are somewhat difficult to find by the unaided eye. Others have characteristics which are immediately evident. At the i1 diamond clarity level opaque inclusions are frequently seen when the diamond is placed against a light background.

Basics-2 | Let’s get practical

Can an i1 diamond be eye-clean?

In extremely rare instances an i1 diamond has inclusions numerous or significant enough to land in the “included” range, without being visible to the naked eye. Since most people just want an “eye-clean” diamond, meaning one which has no inclusions invisible to the naked eye, this can present an opportunity for bargain hunters.

There is no laboratory definition for eye-clean, but a PriceScope survey of gemologists resulted in this consensus:

Eye clean diamond
Photo courtesy of PS member Soxfan
Eye-clean = No inclusions visible to the unaided eye when viewed from the face up position in daylight equivalent or fluorescent lighting from approximately 6-12 inches from the eye using 20/20 vision.

Basics-3 | Real World Information

We don’t recommend i1 diamonds without in-person inspection, or purchase from a seller you trust to reliably convey details about the specific i1 diamond being considered. Even diamonds which look clean in photos and videos may have issued with transparency or light transmission, which is frequently the reason a diamond will be relegated to the “included” range: i1, i2 or i3.

An i1 diamond that is perfectly transparent but has a significant or obvious inclusion may be problematic because that characteristic can draw the eye of viewers. With that said, depending on location, an i1 diamond may have a “prongable” inclusion, meaning one over which a prong can be placed, reducing its visibility in the face up position.


Intermediate i1 Diamond Clarity

Analysis

Analysis-1 | Where does an i1 diamond rank?

The internationally accepted grading scale and terminology for diamond clarity consists of 11 grading levels. Grading is traditionally performed using 10 power (10X) magnification. i1 belongs to the “included” range, which lands at the bottom of the diamond clarity grading scale.

diamond clarity chart - high clarities diamond clarity chart - i1 range

A clarity grader will also consider the location, number, color, size and nature of the characteristics present at 10x magnification when deciding the clarity grade.

Analysis-2 | Standards, Subjectivity and Value

While the descriptive scale above is universally applied, standards can vary between individuals and organizations that decide i1 diamond clarity.

Subjectivity

Variance between reputable graders and organizations may be attributable to standard deviation. Color and clarity judgments are matters of opinion and diamonds often sit on the border of two grades. The only time this becomes an issue is when a buyer and seller disagree about which set of grades establish the diamond’s value.

Value and Over Grading

Intentional over grading has been a historic issue in the diamond trade. Over grading is a willingness to purposely deviate from internationally accepted standards to inflate the perceived value of a diamond. Certain locations of the EGL (now closed) became infamous for over-grading loose diamonds, by 3-4 grades in some cases, permitting unscrupulous sellers to overcharge consumers.

Value and Under Grading

Under grading occurs when a jeweler examines a diamond and claims it was over graded to create fear-based doubts in the diamond owner’s mind. The most frequent example of under grading is when one jeweler implies a consumer overpaid a competing jeweler, hoping the consumer will return the diamond and purchase there, instead.

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