Header Ad

Clarity

Aussie Sapphire uses the GIA system of clarity grading for our cut gemstones.  This system divides gems into 3 main groups based on the typical level of inclusions usually found.

  • Type I gems include stones that are usually eye clean - examples are Aquamarine, Chrysoberyl, Tanzanite, Smoky Quartz and Green Tourmaline.
  • Type II gems include stones that are usually included - examples are Sapphire, Ruby, Amethyst, Citrine, Tourmaline (most types) and Garnet.
  • Type III gems include stones that are almost always included - examples are Emerald, Red and Watermelon Tourmaline.  Inclusions may be eye-visible but usually do not detract from the gem's overall beauty.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Clarity grades are initially allocated on the basis of a face-up inspection without magnification at a comfortable viewing distance (~20cm).  Gems are then more closely inspected at other angles and under 10X magnification to assess inclusions which, although do not directly influence the Clarity Grade allocated, may be included in the listing in the interests of a complete and full description of the gemstone.

There are many different types of inclusions.  We will attempt to describe important inclusions in our gems wherever possible.  Please note that colour zoning would normally be regarded as an inclusion when grading clarity. However, we regard parti coloured (or bi-color) sapphires as an exception as the distribution of colour is a feature of this type of gemstone.  In these cases, the stone will be clearly idenitified as such in the description/photographs and colour zoning will not regarded as an inclusion when grading clarity.

See below for the clarity grades used for different types of gems.

Type II Gems (include sapphire)
VVS

Minor inclusions that are somewhat easy to see using 10X, but not visible to the naked eye.

VSNoticeable inclusions that are easier to see using 10X, and may be slightly visible to the naked eye.
SI1, SI2The inclusions are easily seen using 10X and are large or numerous, and are noticeable (SI1) or very noticeable (SI2) with the naked eye.
I1, I2

The inclusions are very obvious and they have a moderate (I1) or severe (I2) negative effect on the overall appearance or durability of the gem.

I3

The inclusions are very obvious and they have a severe negative effect on both the overall appearance and durability of the gemstone.

Type I Gems (include aquamarine)
VVS

Minute inclusions that are difficult to see using 10X.
Eye clean

VSMinor inclusions that are somewhat easy to see using 10X.
Usually eye clean
SI1, SI2The inclusions are easily seen using 10X, and are noticeable (SI1) or very noticeable (SI2) with the naked eye.
I1, I2

The inclusions are very obvious and they have a moderate (I1) or severe (I2) negative effect on the overall appearance or durability of the gem.

I3

The inclusions are very obvious and they have a severe negative effect on both the overall appearance and durability of the gemstone.

Type III Gems (include emerald)
VVS

Noticeable inclusions under 10X. Usually eye clean.

VSObvious inclusions under 10X that may be visible to the naked eye.
SI1, SI2The inclusions are prominent to the naked eye (SI1) or very prominent (SI2) with the naked eye.
I1, I2

The inclusions are very obvious and they have a moderate (I1) or severe (I2) negative effect on the overall appearance or durability of the gem.

I3

The inclusions are very obvious and they have a severe negative effect on both the overall appearance and durability of the gemstone.

Please remember that almost all natural gems have some level of inclusions present.  It is the type of inclusions and their appearance which allows experts to learn a lot about the stone, its origin and treatment (if any) history.  The type, number and appearance of inclusions greatly affect the value of a gemstone.  Flawless gems are extremely rare and will be priced extremely highly.

Go back to the Grading and Pricing page.
Go to the next section - Cut and Carats