You may have come across “fluorescence”, “sparkle”, “play of light”, and many similar terms in diamond literature. However, do you know what “eye clean” diamond mean? It is no scientific term, but an unofficial one that jewelers use to describe the stone.
Basically, when the gemstone is marketed or mentioned as “eye-clean”, this means it has no internal flaws which can be spotted when viewed from above with the unaided eye.
Why “Eye Clean Diamond” is a Subjective Term
Using the term “eye clean” to refer to a diamond entails issues related to how robust and precise its definition is.
Firstly, different individuals have different clarity of vision; while some can see small diamond inclusions that normal customers cannot spot, others require magnifying loupes to make out the flaws in the stone.
Secondly, whether some internal imperfections can be seen actually depends on the natural light. In addition to the way a diamond is cut, the light also impacts its brilliance. When a diamond has more brilliance, its visible imperfections are a lot less; whereas, when its brilliance is less, the flaws stand out. Consequently, whether the stone appears “eye clean” differs with the type of light it is being exposed to.
Thirdly, the distance from which you take a look at the stone also matters. The closer your eyes get, the likelier it is to see an internal flaw.
How to Verify Whether the Stone is Eye Clean
Regardless of the factors at play in shaping the subjectivity with regards to the definition of the term, there are some pointers that can assist you to determine whether it is an “eye-clean” diamond.
Look at the top of the stone from 20 to 25 centimeters’ distance with the unaided eye and when there is more than enough natural light. Put on your eyeglasses if you use them (you need to have normal vision, or it has to be almost close to “20/20”). Eyeglasses help one have 20/20 vision.
A diamond, even the one set in an engagement ring, is viewed face up, and the above-mentioned conditions approximate the way the wearer, and most others who approach close to them, will see it. If you are not able to make out the visible imperfections such as lines, black dots, or clouds in the stone, then it can be regarded as “eye-clean”.
Which Clarity Grades are Regarded as Eye Clean
The flaws in many diamonds with clarity grades of “I1” and lower are visible to the naked eye, so stones that come under that GIA clarity scale will not be regarded as “eye-clean”. On the other hand, diamonds with clarity grades of “SI2” and higher will appear clean to the eye.
Does it seem hard to understand? If so, search the “GIA grading scale” on the internet and take a look at it. Between “Included” and “Very Very Slight Included” range, there are other diamonds with different grades.
Remember that at times you might just see some flaws in an SI2 diamond even when you view it face up. Depending on the condition of the light, these imperfections will typically be tough to see without using a 10x magnifying loupe, but in most cases, an eye clean diamond will appear as it is.
You will perhaps come across a couple of such diamonds in the market, while other ones will have relatively more visible imperfections, some even centrally situated.
Due to this reason, “SI2” is regarded as a borderline grade of clarity: it separates the stones that are certainly eye clean from the ones that are not. Keep in mind that the term refers just to the gemstone’s appearance when it is looked at from above and with the bare eye. If you look at an “SI-2” diamond from the side, you might just be able to spot some inclusions.
If you view an “SI1” diamond from the top position through a microscope, then you will make out imperfections that you will not be able to see with the naked eye.
Purchasing Eye-Clean Diamond
Usually, if you are seeking a diamond which appears clean to your eye under normal conditions, then you have to care more whether the stone is so rather than obsessing over its precise clarity grade.
However, this does not mean that you should not check what its official grade is. Diamonds with two different clarity grades can appear equally clean to the eye, but the one with a higher grade might just be pricier in comparison.
To make sure that you are not paying more for the additional clarity, which you will not be able to spot, choose the one with the lowest grade. You should determine this based on the clarity grade in the GIA certificate, as “eye-clean” is no official term.