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Colored Gemstone Clarity Scale

Aquamarine Inclusions
Aquamarine Inclusions
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The gemstone clarity scale was created specifically for grading diamonds, more specifically, white diamonds -- not colored gemstones. For colored gemstones, it is difficult to use a 'one size fits all' classification system for clarity, since some colored gemstones are expected to have inclusions and are sometimes even identified by their inclusions. For example, the inclusions of emerald often provide evidence that it is natural. Additionally, some inclusions are desirable, such as 'horsetail inclusions' in demantoid garnet and rutile 'silk' in sapphire.

The colored gemstone clarity scale depends on the type of gemstone. Since colored gemstones vary so greatly, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) classifies colored gemstones as either 'Type 1', 'Type 2' or 'Type 3'.

Type 1 gemstones include beryl gems, such as aquamarine, heliodor (golden precious beryl) and morganite; yellow and green chrysoberyl, pale color amethyst, citrine, smoky quartz, spodumene, tanzanite and blue zircon. These stones are usually 'eye clean', meaning that no visible inclusions can be seen with the naked eye. Type I gemstones with visible inclusions are rarely used for jewelry, unless set in a mounting that conceals the flaws.

Type 2 gemstones include amethyst, ametrine, andalusite, alexandrite, citrine, corundum (all sapphire and ruby), garnet, iolite, peridot, spinel, tourmaline that is not green, pink or watermelon, and zircon that is not blue. These stones are usually included, which means that some eye clean stones can be found, but in lesser amounts than type 1 stones.  Type II gemtones with minor inclusions visible to the unaided eye are very often used for jewelry; these include sapphire and ruby.

Internally Flawless Amethyst Gem
Internally Flawless Amethyst Gemstone
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Type 3 gemstones includes gems such as green emerald, red beryl (bixbite) and varieties of tourmaline, particular blue tourmaline (Pariaba tourmaline and Indicolite tourmaline) red (rubellite) tourmaline, as well as pink, bi-color tourmaline and multi-color or watermelon tourmaline. For a type 3 gemstone, an IF clarity rating is incredibly rare, since these stones are almost always included. For type III gemstones, even those with very noticeable inclusions are often used for jewelry, such as the case with emerald and watermelon tourmaline.

GemSelect uses the following clarity scale when evaluating and grading our gemstones:

IF Clarity Loupe clean - internally flawless; free of inclusions.
VVS Clarity Almost loupe clean - very, very slight inclusions; inclusions barely seen under 10x magnification.
VS Clarity Usually Eye clean - very slight inclusions; slight inclusions will be visible by the trained eye, or when viewed under 10x magnification.
SI Clarity Slightly included - Inclusions are noticable and can be seen with the naked eye.
I1 Clarity Included - inclusions are obvious and can be seen with the naked eye.
Transparent A gemstone having the property of transmitting light without serious diffusion / may have rutile or other inclusions.
Translucent Allowing light to pass through, but not transparent.
Opaque Does not allow light to pass through.

Click to View our Complete & Comprehensive List of Gemstones Clarity Types from A to Z

Gemstone Type Clarity Type Clarity Comments
Alexandrite Type II

Most gems are usually included.

Alexandrite is rarely found in large sizes, making inclusions hard to see in small gems.

VVS gems are usually eye clean with minor inclusions that are easy to see under a loupe.

VS stones tend to have visible inclusions that can be seen under magnification and sometimes also with the unaided eye.

SI to I gems have inclusions that are obvious under magnification and to the unaided eye.

Almandine Garnet Type II

Most gems are usually included.

Asbestos inclusions are common. Almandine is typically cleaner than most other garnets and is usually eye clean.

VVS gems are usually eye clean with minor inclusions that are easy to see under a loupe.

VS stones tend to have visible inclusions that can be seen under magnification and sometimes also with the unaided eye.

SI to I gems have inclusions that are obvious under magnification and to the unaided eye.

 

  • First Published: April-04-2006
  • Last Updated: September-23-2016
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    Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
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Colored Gemstones
Size and Weight

Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

Dimensions are given as;
length x width x depth,
except for round stones which are;
diameter x depth

Select gems by size, not by weight!
Gem varieties vary in density, so carat weight is not a good indication of size

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

Size Comparison Chart