SI3 clarity is a description of diamond clarity which grades the diamond according to the imperfections that cannot easily be seen by the naked eye. The SI3 grade lies between the SI2 which indicates that the diamond has imperfections which are not visible to the naked eye to I1 which are imperfections you can see with the naked eye.
Many of our customers in the US are in doubt as to whether or not they should purchase a diamond graded SI3 graded diamond. This article was written in order to make the decision easier for customers to make the right decision when purchasing a diamond.
Who Established The SI3 Diamond Clarity?
The idea of SI3 clarity first appeared in an article written by David Atlas in 1991 for the Accredited Gemologists Association. The SI3 diamond clarity grading was first used by the LA branch of the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) their diamond grading reports. EGL-LA’s President, Tom Tashey, says that his lab has been issuing the SI3 clarity grade since April 1, 1992.
In May 1993, the Rapaport Diamond Report started including the SI3 grade. Originally, the price list added the grade and simply described it as a split between the SI2 clarity grade and the I1 clarity grade. It priced the new category midway between the SI2 and I1 grades. Now, the grade is still included in the list, but the price listed for it isn’t always halfway between the prices for SI2 and I1.
Is There A Need For The SI3 Diamond Clarity?
Tom Tahsey (EGL-LA’s President) explained that he started using the grade to keep the boundaries of SI2 and of I1. “The recent influx of highly included diamonds into the marketplace seems to have caused graders to keep stretching the limits of the low SI2 and of the high I1 grades. Many members of the trade have been using SI3 for years as a more descriptive method of categorizing diamonds in between SI2 and I1. This grade encompasses the `moderately included’ diamonds that don’t quite fit into the traditional, manageable, SI2 and I1 grades.”
On the other side of the argument Peter Yantzer, Director of the American Gem Society Laboratory in Las Vegas, doesn’t think a change is necessary. Tom Yonelunas, CEO of the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory in New York, also doesn’t see a need for SI3. “Most customers don’t even ask for it,” he says. Yonelunas also feels that the introduction of any new grade would create two difficult new boundaries to deal with, not one: that between SI2 and SI3 but also the borderline of SI3 and I1.
SI3 clarity exists, and if you are looking at a grading report issued by the E.G.L., it may be there. However, although the very existence of the official SI3 grade is open to debate it can be used by less than scrupulous sellers to mislead the consumer into thinking that a diamond that they refer to as SI3 is definitely an SI diamond on the G.I.A. scale.
Implications Of The SI3 Grading Mean To Dealers
Dealers wouldn’t be likely to submit a diamond to a lab that might grade it as SI3 if it would receive a grade of SI2 from GIA. Eventually, SI3 was redefined. The trade and the laboratories that use SI3 are mostly in agreement that a grade of SI3 fits a diamond that might get an I1 grade from the GIA laboratory but is not as included as other I1 diamonds.
While the experienced grader or appraiser should account for the range when buying, selling, or appraising, many do not. The I1 is enough to lower the price and jeopardize the sale. The solution for many became SI3. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to recognition of the new grade has been the interpretation. The concept may work in theory, but a set of well-defined, accepted guidelines for the grade has yet to surface. Labs, dealers, and individuals may use the grade to mean different things.
Do We Need A New Clarity Grading System?
The current diamond-grading system was developed back in the 1950s, and therefore some people argue that it’s time for a change. When the clarity grading system was introduced, jewelers rarely sold an SI2 or I1 diamond. Prices were much lower, and people bought smaller diamonds. Now, nearly everyone wants large diamonds, but the prices make them unattainable for many, so consumers are more willing to accept lower grades and still purchase a larger diamond.
Another change regarding diamond grading certificates, is the volume. Few diamonds used to be sold with reports. Dealers didn’t want to spend the money to obtain a lab report for a lower-grade diamond. Today, so many people want certs, even for lower-grade diamonds, that the labs have trouble keeping up with demand. With so many diamonds in the lower grades being sold and with the increased demand for reports, many dealers and jewelers argue that it’s time for the system to be changed.
One Last Point To Consider
Most dealers, jewelers, and appraisers state that they adhere to GIA diamond-grading standards. If they use SI3, they can’t make that claim. That’s something for consumers to consider.
One needs to remember that when buying a noncertified diamond is that when selling a diamond that would be graded SI2 by the G.I.A., the seller has no reason to tell you that the stone is SI3. On the other hand, there are sellers who carry diamonds that would be considered I1 on the G.I.A. scale, and they could advertise them as SI3 to make the offer more appealing.. Often, these diamonds don’t have an official grading report issued by a reputable laboratory, and you shouldn’t pay for them as much as you would for an SI diamond certified by the G.I.A.
CaratsDirect2U has a large collection of Loose SI3 diamonds , SI3 Diamond Pendants , SI3 Diamond Rings, and SI3 Diamond Earrings and Studs Be sure to have a look.
We hope that we have answered some of your concerns. If you have any questions with regards to SI3 diamond clarity or any of our SI3 diamonds please call one of our professional jewelers at 1-800-557-7095, and we would be happy to assist you.