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What is a diamond loupe and how is it used?

1 March, 2015 12:20

When we refer to the purity of a diamond, we mean the presence (or absence) of imperfections.

These imperfections include both include external imperfections (such as spots on the diamond’s surface) as well as internal imperfection (such as inclusions within the diamond).

External imperfections on the surface of a diamond include minor damages that may occur during the grinding process. Examples are scratches, pitting or flaking. Internal imperfections include small cavities or cracks in the diamond’s structure, or the presence of unwanted minerals in the rock. These kind of imperfections are the result of the natural formation process of a diamond. The purest diamonds are the most valuable, given that they are rarer and reflect the most light.

The purity of a diamond

The purity of a diamond is determined with the aid of a magnifying glass, or diamond loupe, with a magnification factor or 10. Depending on the size and number of imperfections, a level of purity can be assigned to the diamond. Here, one uses the English term ‘flaws’ to refer to imperfections and ‘inclusions’ to refer to impurities (spots on the surface and internal inclusions).
The different levels of purity are shown below together with the English terminology, whereas the purity level FL-IF (Flawless-Internally Flawless) is reserved for the purest diamonds and I3 (Included level 3) for the least pure.


Diamond Loupe

FL-IF: Flawless. No internal or external imperfections. Internally Flawless: No internal imperfection and a limited amount of external imperfections. Both diamonds are very rare.

VVS1-VVS2: Very, Very Slightly Included. Minute amount of internal and / or external imperfections. Only discernible by a skilled grader using a diamond loupe with magnification factor of 10. Excellent quality.

VS1-VS2: Very Slightly Included. Very small amount of internal and / or external imperfections, just barely discernible by a trained grader using a loupe with magnification factor of 10. Very good quality.

SI1-SI2: Slightly Included. Small amount of internal and / or external imperfections, easily observable using a diamond loupe with 10x magnification. Good quality.

I1-I2-I3: Included. Imperfections are clearly discernible with a diamond loupe and even visible to the naked eye. Diamonds with this level of purity are not recommended.

The levels FL through SI mainly impact the price of the diamond, but do not or hardly impact the view of the diamond with the naked eye. Although the presence of imperfections affect the level or purity, and therefore its price, in a negative way, it also offers a usable perk: to record the unique identity of the diamond. Each diamond has its own “fingerprint” of imperfections, which is accurately shown on some diamond certificates.
Internationally recognized diamond laboratories

  • HRD
  • GIA
  • IGI
  • EGL

At wholesale diamond dealer Diberget, we offer both certified and non-certified diamonds. Read more about the  purchase of diamonds.

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