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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) / Colored Gemstone Clarity Grading

Some of your gemstones are graded for clarity with letters, such as VVS, VS or SI. However, some are just described as transparent, translucent or opaque. Why is that?

Faceted Tourmaline with Visible Inclusions

The clarity grades of IF, VVS, VS, SI and I1 are typically reserved for transparent to semi-transparent gemstones, where the interior of the stone is visible, and usually only used to grade faceted gemstones. If a gemstone is translucent or opaque, you can't see within the stone to determine inclusions in order to properly grade the material. So for these types of gems, as well as those cut en cabochon, clarity is often graded by terms, such as transparent, translucent or opaque. You will often see this not only for cabochons, but also with certain types of faceted gems too, including opal, fire opal, prehnite, black spinel or black tourmaline.

Learn about Gemstone Clarity
Learn about Gemstone Clarity vs Cut
Learn about Gemstone Clarity Groups and Grading

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  • First Published: February-20-2006
  • Last Updated: August-23-2017
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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