When we think of a diamond, we imagine a brilliant and clear stone. But are all diamonds so clean and transparent? Let’s see what causes a diamond to look clear and whether something could diminish its transparency.
What Makes a Diamond Clear?
When people use the term “clear” in the context of gemstones, they usually refer to one of two things: (1) Whether a stone is transparent or (2) whether a transparent stone looks more or less clean because of internal flaws.
A typical clear diamond owes its transparency to its crystal structure, which allows light to pass through it.
Chemically, diamonds are made up only of carbon, but naturally occurring stones often contain traces of other substances, which were present when the diamond was formed.
Generally, the fewer such impurities are within a stone, the clearer it will look.
Although a diamond may be transparent, it can still look less clean if it has too many natural flaws within it.
Such stones are said to be of low clarity.
What Is Diamond Clarity?
Diamond clarity as a quality characteristic refers to how many natural flaws are within a stone or on its surface, how big they are, and how prominent their placement is.
Hence, diamonds with more, bigger, and more visible flaws will have lower clarity than stones with tiny, barely visible defects.
It is important to note that clarity does not affect significantly the overall transparency of a diamond.
Even a low-clarity stone will still allow light to pass through it.
However, such a diamond will have visible black spots, crystals, lines, and other natural imperfections, which can make the stone look “dirty.”
Does Color Affect How Clear a Diamond Looks?
Diamond color refers to the visible tint of a stone, and the hue of a white diamond does not directly affect its clarity.
Color can, however, make a diamond look more or less bright.
For example, strong yellowish tints in a white diamond can make the stone seem somewhat dull, thereby making its flaws more noticeable and reinforcing the impression that the diamond is not very clean.
The yellowish tints in white diamonds do not significantly affect their clarity, but naturally colored diamonds (fancy color diamonds) can look less clear depending on the cause of their color.
Are Fancy Colored Diamonds Less Clear?
Although color and clarity are two separate diamond characteristics, when a stone has a strong color that is a result of chemical impurities, they can affect how transparent and clear the diamond looks.
This is the case with natural fancy colored diamonds. In these stones, impurities that make their crystal structure look colored can also make these diamonds look less transparent and clear.
This effect is stronger when the color is more intense, and the impression of imperfect clarity can be reinforced if the hue is unevenly distributed throughout the stone.
What About Black Diamonds?
Natural black diamonds are also made up of carbon, just like white diamonds.
However, black diamonds have a crystal structure that is somewhat different from that of white diamonds, and this difference is the cause of the black color.
As a result, black diamonds absorb most of the light that falls onto their surface and look opaque.
Black diamonds that were created in a lab, however, were not originally opaque. They were regular diamonds of some other color and were blackened through artificial treatment.