Want to know why SI3 Clarity diamonds are hard to find?
It's got nothing to do with rarity, I'll tell you that much. In this Guide, I'll go over everything you need to know about SI3 clarity diamonds like:
- Why doesn't the GIA recognize SI3 clarity grade?
- Are SI3 diamonds real?
- Are SI3 diamonds better than I1 clarity diamonds?
What is an SI3 Clarity Diamond?
SI3 diamond clarity is not a common clarity grade. Some grading labs may give SI3 clarity grades as part of the Slightly Included diamond clarity tier. According to these grading systems, the SI clarity tier is composed of SI1, SI2, and SI3 clarity diamonds.
Clarity grades are determined by the presence of natural inclusions within the diamond. According to the world's leading authority in diamonds-The Gemological institute of America-clarity grades are assigned based on these details of the inclusions:
- Location (inclusions located near the center tend to be more visible)
- Nature (type of inclusions — some are better than others)
- Relief (how it looks in relation to the rest of diamond)
An SI3 clarity diamond will most likely have visible inclusions to the naked eye. These inclusions are likely to be large, dark, or have many inclusions speckled throughout the diamond.
Under magnification, you will see many obvious flaws. Most people who view an SI3 diamond under magnification would say its a less than desirable diamond. Included diamonds with visible imperfections can detract from the light performance and over beauty of your diamond.
The Official GIA Diamond Clarity Scale
The Gemological Institute of America instituted the 4Cs of Diamond Quality, a universal grading system for diamonds used by jewelers worldwide. They state that the 4 main pillars of diamond quality are Diamond Cut, Diamond Color, Diamond Clarity, and Diamond Carat Weight.
Each of the 4Cs has its own grading charts and ranking system. The official GIA diamond clarity scale includes the following clarity grades:
A Word from the GIA About SI3 Clarity Diamonds
The GIA grading laboratory routinely observes other labs giving out SI3 clarity grades on their grading reports to see if there's a need for an additional grade. But the GIA concludes there's no need for a new clarity grade on the Slightly included clarity graded diamonds.
In fact, the GIA has concluded that diamonds with SI3 clarity ratings would be graded worse at the GIA as equivalent to many I1 included diamonds.
Why Do Some Grading Labs Offer SI3 Diamonds?
The only reason why a retailer would offer you a stone with an SI3 diamond clarity grade is to be deceptive. There's no way around it. By adding a grade to the SI diamond tier, it makes it more appealing than calling it an I1 diamond.
But if the leading authority in the world's diamonds doesn't give out these clarity grades, neither should any reputable labs giving out diamond grading reports.
Bottom line, don't trust any retailer in the diamond world trying to sell you an SI3 clarity diamond ring.
Why SI3 Diamonds Aren't A Good Deal
If you're still not convinced on why avoiding SI3 clarity diamonds is a good idea, let me break it down further with these three details.
There's No Difference Between an SI3 Diamond and an I1 Clarity Diamond
If you didn't catch it before, the best grading lab in the diamond world doesn't recognize Si3 diamonds as a clarity grade. Not only that, they would give the same diamond an I1 clarity grade instead.
According to the other labs that assign SI3 clarity, an I1 diamond would be worse than an SI3 diamond.
Ergo, those labs are selling you a worse diamond than they're making it out to be.
And just so we're clear, neither an SI3 diamond nor an I1 diamond is a physically appealing diamond — so avoid them both.
SI3 Diamonds Still Aren't Eye Clean Diamonds
If SI3 diamonds are equal to I1 diamonds, you can reduce the chances of finding an eye clean diamond. I've heard of eye clean I1 diamonds, but I haven't seen them myself.
SI3 Diamonds tend to be more expensive than I1 graded diamonds
Because these labs use SI3 clarity grading, they can get away with hiking the price up higher than one would pay to buy I diamonds. Or, they can boast a "discount" for a higher clarity grade in order to bring in more customers eager for a good deal.
That being said, these labs can give you a crappy diamond and sell it to you as a higher value than it is.
Bottom line, you're paying more for a worse diamond grade. SI3 diamond clarity is a rip-off. No if, ands, or buts about it.
If You Want A Good Deal on SI Clarity DIamonds, Do This Instead
Go Online for the Best Deals
If you're not comfortable going out of the SI diamond clarity tier, I implore you to search for an eye clean SI1 or SI2 clarity diamond. To find a stunning diamond without clarity characteristics able to seen by the naked eye, you should take your diamond search online.
Many online diamond retailers offer way more diamonds than a brick and mortar retailer will. Some of our friends at James Allen and Blue Nile have hundreds of SI clarity diamonds for you to sort through.
Most diamonds online have all of the information there for you to observe on your own time, in the comfort of your home. No pushy salesperson, no waiting on others to finish up their purchase. Just you and your computer or phone.
Online loose diamonds and mountings tend to be less expensive than buying diamonds at local retailers. They grade diamonds much cheaper than what you'd find.
Use 360 Videos to Find Eye Clean Diamonds
Online diamond retailers have an advantage over mall retailers because they provide 360˚ video. Now, not all 360˚ video is the same. I prefer the interactive video that allows you to drag your diamond back and forth.
Diamonds in these types of viewers are blown up much higher than what you'd see simply looking at your diamond with your naked eye. Noticeable inclusions in your diamond will appear much larger. Small inclusions may seem big at 40x magnification.
You can use these high quality videos to identify the types and locations of your diamond's inclusions. Then, you can zoom out and see if you notice them at a reasonable distance.
You won't be able to survey hundreds of SI1 and SI2 clarity diamonds at a jewelry store. And you'll have a much harder time identifying visible flaws using a jeweler's loupe or gem microscope.
Aside from the videos and HD images, online retailers allow you to narrow your SI diamonds by the different grades and nuances. For example, if you know you want an Excellent cut round diamond graded with SI clarity, you can narrow your search to round diamonds and excellent cut quality.
Just remember, with fancy shapes (shapes beside round) there's no official cut grade, so you'll have to observe the ideal proportions and measurements for that diamond shape.
Review Return Policies Before Making Your Purchase
Some people will swear up and down that it's not right to not see a diamond in your hand before making the purchase. Yes, you do run the risk of not receiving the diamond you looked at online.
However, as long as you don't choose some random Jo blow the diamond dealer, you should be safe. You should always do research on the company before making your purchase. I also advise against buying from private sellers and marketplaces because there tends to not be as many protections as an actual diamond company.
Never purchase any diamond without reading through their return policy and process. Don't just glance through it and think you have 30 days. Some places have limited return policies on certain pieces.
Plus, you need to make sure you're capable of doing the process for returns, should the need rise up. Some places will casually slide in that they have to pay you back in a check in 6 weeks or something irritating like that. Read every detail.
Final Word on Diamonds with an SI3 Clarity Grade
Diamonds graded with an SI3 grade should be avoided at all costs. These diamonds are real diamonds, but they're also a real scam when it comes to diamond clarity.
The world's reputable diamond authorities don't recognize an SI3 clarity grade as a legitimate clarity grade. Diamonds that have been given the SI3 grade are lower quality. An SI diamond graded lower would be an I clarity diamond if the GIA were to get ahold of it.
There's nothing wrong with buying an SI1 or SI2 clarity diamond. Just not SI3. Look for diamond graded by reputable authorities such as a GIA certificate or other reputable grading labs.