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How to make judging the clarity of precious gemstones?


Imagine looking at the stars through a telescope and seeing comets, galaxies, falling stars, satellites, Saturn and other planets. That’s a bit what it’s like to look through a microscope at rubies and sapphires.

When you try to find forms within these stones or marks on their exterior, you are analyzing their clarity. Clarity is the degree to which a stone is free from external marks called blemishes and internal features called inclusions. Sometimes the jewelry trade refers to them as clarity characteristics or identifying features. “Flaws” is the term that is normally used to refer to both blemishes and inclusions.

Even tough terms like “flaws” and “blemish” have negative connotations, their presence can be positive. Flaws are identifying marks that can help you identify your gemstone at any time. They can lower the price of a stone without affecting its beauty. They can also increase the value of a stone by helping prove that it’s from somewhere like Burma or Kashmir. Flaws are especially important as evidences that your stone is natural. Jewelers and dealers are suspicious of flawless rubies and sapphires because that is usually a sign that the stone is synthetic. Therefore, instead of looking for a flawless stone, try to find one whose beauty and durability is not affected by its blemishes and inclusions.

Surface blemishes on rubies and sapphires – Scratches are straight or crooked lines scraped on a stone. Since they can be polished away, they don’t have much of an effect on the clarity grade. Pits are tiny holes on the surface of a stone that often look like white dots. Nicks are flaws along the edges of a girdle or facet where bits of stone have broken away. Abrasions are rough, scraped areas usually along the facet edges of a stone. Abrasions are seen more often on colored stones than on a diamond, due to the diamond’s exceptional hardness.

Colored stones clarity grading system – A variety of clarity grading systems are being used for judging and appraising colored stones. The GIA and the AGL. The GIA and the AGL systems differ in the following ways:
-    AGL clarity grading is done with the unaided eye. GIA clarity grading is done with both the unaided eye and 10 power magnifications.
-    AGL uses different grade names for colored stones than it does for diamonds, and it uses comments to clarify the meanings of these grades. The GIA uses diamonds grade names like “VS” and “SI” for colored stones but assigns these names a different meaning from diamond.
-    AGL grades all colored stones with one set of grades which each have one meaning. The GIA divides colored stones into three clarity types:
1.    Stones like aquamarines which are expected to be relatively free of inclusions.
2.    Stones like rubies which are expected to contain minor inclusion.
3.    Stones like emeralds which are expected to have many visible inclusions.

However, both the GIA and AGL systems are helpful for classifying the clarity of colored stones. To grade colored stones with the AGL system, you only need to learn one set of grades and definitions.    

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