Legends and Myths of Elusive SI-2 clarity diamonds, plus 6 Crafted by Infinity Diamonds Reviews

I am intrigued by what you wrote about the Crafted Infinity Diamonds offered by High Performance Diamonds, and am going to take you up on your offer to help me find a diamond that meets the following criteria: I’m basically looking for a round solitaire between 1.50 – 2.00 carats, which is G-color to I-color, with a clarity grade of SI-2 or higher, and I would like it to be eye clean. As for price… I’m trying to keep it around $18K. I’ve been using your proportion ranges that you recommended in your article ’15 Seconds to Success’ and that has been VERY helpful in evaluating diamonds on line — Thank you! I’m curious what you can recommend for me. Thanks again….Wendy

Are SI-2 clarity diamonds really eye clean?

The internet is littered with stories about the legendary and mythical SI-2 clarity diamond that is eye clean, but is there really such a thing as an SI-2 clarity diamond that is truly eye clean?

There are numerous factors which contribute to the visibility of inclusions within a diamond, and only part of it has to do with the extent of the inclusions within the diamond; another factor which contributes to the visibility of inclusions within a diamond is the combination of proportions, and the degree of optical symmetry, or what is commonly referred to as the overall cut quality of the diamond.

The volume of  light which is created by the proportions that I recommend in the article 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success is likely to make it more difficult for  people to be able to see inclusions within an SI-2 and SI-1 clarity diamond without magnification, because the increased volume of light return will help to distract our eyes from the inclusions.

In addition, the increased number of virtual facets and higher volume of sparkle that is created by the higher degree of optical symmetry that is required to produce a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows, such as the one exhibited by this 1.640 carat, G-color, SI-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity hearts and arrows diamond that is pictured below.

Is it possible to determine the extent to which an SI-2 clarity diamond is eye clean off of a clarity photograph?

Crafted by Infinity, High Performance Diamonds reviews, AGSL 104068111009One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive is whether it is possible to determine whether a diamond is eye clean or not, based upon a clarity photograph like the one provided for this 1.640 carat, G-color, SI-2 clarity, hearts and arrows diamond from Crafted by Infinity. The reality is that it is not possible to determine the extent to which a diamond is eye clean based upon a clarity photograph, because the diamond is being photographed using 10x magnification, and quite often is pictured at a higher degree of magnification, such as 20x – 40x. The purpose of a diamond clarity photograph is solely to provide insight as to the extent and location of the inclusions, nothing more.

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When I look at the clarity photograph provided by High Performance Diamonds for this 1.640 carat, G-color, SI-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond, the first thing that I notice is the diamond  crystal that is located within the table facet, about a quarter of an inch from the center of the table facet, which extends across the pavilion main facets (arrow shafts) which are located in the relative three and five o’clock positions… and if you look closely, you’ll be able to see that the diamond crystal is reflecting out into the crown facets that are located in the nine and ten o’clock positions.

Rather than spend a lot of time trying to figure out the degree to which this diamond may or may not be eye clean, I picked up the phone and asked Wink at High Performance Diamonds to take a look at the diamond for me… With the understanding that “individual results may vary” depending on your personal sense of vision, Wink finds it easier to locate the reflection of the inclusion with just his eyes, but indicates that it is not so easy to find… and that what he’s able to see more than the inclusion itself, is a slight interruption in the pattern of light return created by the facet structure of the diamond; thus it is arguable as to whether the diamond is “eye clean” or not, because it’s possible that you might not be able to see the actual inclusion with just your eyes, you might only be able to detect a slight variation in the pattern of light return because of how the diamond crystal is positioned between the pavilion mains of the diamond and the top surface.

Why inclusions reflect to other positions within a diamond:

As a diamond buyer, I do not consider inclusions that reflect within a diamond to be good or bad, because the odds are that the inclusions are not going to be any more or less visible to the unaided eye if they are reflecting off of the facets of the diamond or not, it is simply an optical illusion being created by the position of the inclusion within the diamond, in relationship to the facet structure of the diamond.

Who do inclusions reflect within diamonds? Are inclusions that reflect in a diamond good or bad?One of the things that I find amusing, is that most people love photographs that feature reflections of things like these goldfish; however they freak out when they see inclusions being reflected within a diamond. In this instance, what is causing the reflections of the fish and the inclusions within the diamond are essentially the same, the sides of the glass container are acting like mirrors which are multiplying the reflections of the fish. If you look closely, you will see that there are actually only two goldfish, and that they are being reflected six times within the photograph. I really like reflection of the fish positioned on the far left, because the fish looks afraid of it’s own reflection.

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Throughout the 25+ years that I was employed as a diamond buyer, one of the things that I noticed is that the vast majority of the time, the degree to which inclusions are magnified is much more apparent in diamond clarity photographs, this might be due to how things are reflected and refracted by the camera lens; but I’m told that the inclusion reflections are much more noticeable in this clarity photograph than they appear to be within the 1.640 carat, G-color, SI-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond when it is being viewed through a standard 10x diamond grading loupe.

The affect of dark spots in hearts and arrows patterns:

What are black or dark spots in hearts and arrows pattern, High Performance Diamonds Reviews, AGSL 104068111009Another concern that people frequently express about the inclusions within diamonds, is when they appear as dark spots within the hearts and arrows pattern, such as can be seen within the hearts pattern photograph for the 1.640 carat, G-color, SI-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond that we’ve been discussing. The dark spots that are visible within the hearts pattern of the diamond pictured to the left are nothing more than reflections of the inclusions within the diamond, and as such they are nothing to be concerned about. The size of the inclusions and reflection of the hearts created by light reflecting off the facets of the diamond, are simply being enlarged by a magnifying lens within the scope.

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With all of these things going on inside this particular stone, you might be wondering whether this 1.640 carat, G-color, SI-2 clarity, round diamond from Crafted by Infinity is one that I would purchase for myself, and the answer is an emphatic YES, because I recognize that the inclusions are simply part of the personality of the diamond; an identifying characteristic that has very little to do with the actual light performance of the diamond.

What is more important to me than the inclusions within the diamond, or whether the inclusions within the diamond are being reflected or “mirrored” about within the diamond, is the volume of light return that results from the combination of the 34.3 degree crown angle, which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees, with lower girdle facets that average 78% in length; because I happen to know that this combination is going to produce a high volume of light return, with a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion, and flashes of light or “sparkle” that is going to be bright, bold, and beautiful!

And the slight disruption of the pattern of light return, is not something which is going to be readily visible to anybody who is looking at the diamond on your hand, while it moves about from across the dinner table… Based upon the conversation that I had with Wink from High Performance Diamonds about this particular diamond, it sounds a lot like the 2.25 carat, I-color, SI-2 clarity, round brilliant ideal cut diamond with very strong blue fluorescence that I selected for my own wedding ring… the reality is that I was able to locate the primary inclusion within the diamond with just my eyes once I familiarized myself with the diamond using a 10x diamond grading loupe, but nobody else ever seemed able to do so.

All right, so that Crafted by Infinity round diamond review turned into a bit of a novella, but I thought that the diamond provided a good opportunity for you to learn more about SI-2 clarity diamonds; the degree to which an SI-2 clarity diamond might be eye clean; the reason why inclusions might be reflected or mirrored about within a diamond; and the affect of dark spots within the hearts and arrows pattern of a diamond… Now let’s take a quick look at some of the other Crafted by Infinity diamonds that are available from High Performance Diamonds within the range of characteristics and price that you indicated:

1.57 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond review:

High Performance Crafted by Infinity diamonds reviews, AGSL 104072339002I like everything about this 1.578 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond, it has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 and exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows; which places the overall cut quality of the diamond within the Top 0.001% of the average annual production of round brilliant cut diamonds! Needless to say that the combination of the 34.2 degree crown angle and 40.8 degree pavilion angle is going to produce a high volume of light return with a virtual balance of brilliance (white sparkle) and dispersion (colored sparkle) and that combined with the average lower girdle facet length of 76% this diamond is going to exhibit flashes of light or sparkle that is bright, bold, and beautiful! The primary inclusions consist of various types of diamond crystals and an extremely small feather, all of which seem to be of no consequence.

If you look at the hearts and arrows pattern of the diamond, you will be able to see that a few of the diamond crystals are reflecting with the hearts pattern, however as indicated earlier in this article, this is not a concern and I would definitely consider buying this Crafted by Infinity diamond, it is going to face-up eye clean and white, with a high volume of light return and incredible sparkle.

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1.61 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond review:

How does lower girdle facet length affect diamond sparkle, High Performance Diamonds review, AGSL 104069160011The proportions of this 1.613 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond are spot-on, the combination of the 34.4 degree crown angle and 40.8 degree pavilion angle are going to produce a high volume of light return and a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion. The first thing that I noticed about this diamond when I looked at the clarity photograph provided to the left, is that the pavilion mains appear to be a little narrower, this is most likely because of the 79% lower girdle facet length, and it’s likely to produce pin-fire type of sparkle, meaning that this diamond probably looks like a small disco ball, and some people prefer this type of sparkle to broader flashes of light.

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I feel that it is important to understand that the reason why they proportions scale developed by the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) includes a range of proportions that extends beyond my preferred range of proportions, is because there is no such thing as a perfect looking diamond… the fact is that different people have different preferences the manner in which light reflects throughout a diamond, and for the sparkle factor of a diamond, thus there are many different combinations of proportions, crown angle measurements, pavilion angle measurements, and lower girdle facet lengths, that are considered to be ideal, and it’s up to you to decide the degree of precision and the type of sparkle that is right for your personal preferences.

If you’re looking for a round brilliant cut diamond that is going to be completely eye clean, face up relatively white, and look like a disco ball with a full range of brilliance and dispersion, then this 1.613 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond is one that you should definitely consider!

1.62 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond review:

How to interpret ideal scope image High Performance Diamonds reviews, AGSL 104067684007Now if your taste in diamonds tends to run parrallel to my own, then you’re apt to purchase this 1.624 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond over the 1.613 carat, CBI diamond that is described above, simply because the 78% lower girdle facet length is likely to produce flashes of light which are just a little broader in size, and the VS-2 clarity grade is going to ensure that the diamond faces up just as eye clean, without the added expense demanded by the VS-1 clarity grade… or you might prefer the VS-1 clarity diamond, because you can appreciate the pristine appearance provided by a VS-1 clarity diamond when you look at the diamond through a 10x diamond grading loupe.

Here again it is all a matter of personal preference, and my goal is to simply educate you as to what all of the options are so that you may select the Crafted by Infinity diamond that is right for you.

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One of the things that I want to point out to you, is how consistent the distribution of light is throughout this 1.624 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond, as demonstrated by the ideal scope image of the diamond that is featured above.

The Ideal Scope is used by professional diamond buyers to determine the extent to which a diamond is leaking light, and to judge the consistency of light return throughout the diamond… Of course, an ideal scope image means nothing if you don’t know how to interpret it, and that is where my free Diamond Concierge Service can be extremely helpful, because it takes me only a few seconds to interpret Ideal Scope images, ASET Scope images, and Hearts and Arrows Scope images, so you don’t need to take the time to become a diamond buying expert if you don’t want to.

Needless to say that the Ideal Scope image for this 1.624 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond looks great, the degree of pink exhibited by the diamond is consistent and evenly distributed throughout the diamond, there is not a significant amount of grey color present under the table facet (which would indicate light leakage) and there is not a lot of light pink to dark pink contrast visible along the girdle edge of the diamond, thus we know that there is not substantial digging or painting of the facets along the girdle edge of the stone… long story short, this is another Crafted by Infinity diamond that is worthy of your consideration, because it is going to be bright, white, and full of light!

1.63 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond review:

Effect of static contrast on the appearance of diamonds, High Performance Diamond Reviews, AGSL 104070337009Just as with the 1.624 carat, CBI diamond reviewed above, I’m personally more apt to purchase this 1.634 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond, over the 1.613 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity diamond, simply because I think that the combination of I-color and VS-2 clarity provide an excellent value. By the way, I don’t have a preference between the 1.624 and 1.634 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamonds. Actually my first thought when I compared the two diamonds, was that they would make an incredible pair of diamond stud earrings for somebody who happened to be looking for three carat total weight diamond stud earrings!

As you might expect, this 1.634 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 with proportions that are well within the center “sweet spot” that is well within the preferred range of proportions that is outlined in my article 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success; and it also exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows.

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But you might be wondering what benefit a hearts and arrows pattern provides for you… the reality is that the pattern itself provides nothing beyond something which is kind of cool to look at through a reflector scope; however the degree of optical precision that is required to produce a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows, results in a higher degree of light return and more sparkle.

Another benefit is that the high degree of static contrast which is created by superior optical symmetry, will create the illusion that the diamond is sparkling when it actually is not… Huh?

Okay, here’s the deal… diamonds sparkle when they are exposed to light sources which contain ultra violet light, such as sunlight, diffused sunlight, incandescent light, and candle light; however they tend to flatten out and look lifeless when they are viewed under fluorescent light, which does not contain UV light; unless they happen to be cut with a high degree of optical symmetry like this 1.634 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond so that they exhibit a high degree of static contrast, in which case the difference in depth perception and “static contrast” created by the differences in light that is reflecting off of the different facet shapes, makes it look like the diamond is sparkling.

By the way, the picture of the unicorn rocking horse that is featured at the beginning of this article, provides a great example of why contrast is an important factor to consider when buying a diamond… imagine how dull the floor beneath the rocking horse would appear if there was not contrast being created by the light and dark squares that comprise the floor design, and then apply the concept to the contrast created by the arrows pattern exhibited by the Crafted by Infinity ideal cut diamonds that are featured in this article.

1.63 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond review:

If you prefer diamonds which are whiter and brighter in color, then you might prefer this 1.630 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond to the H-color and I-color options that are provided above. While there is not a distinct color difference between G to H color diamonds, nor between H to I color diamonds, the reality is that most people would be able to distinguish the difference between G to I color diamonds, if they were to compare the diamonds side-by-side in a viewing environment that enabled them to see the actual body color of the diamonds, and not be distracted by the sparkle of the diamonds, which is why professional diamond graders judge the body color of diamonds from a side profile in a room which is completely dark with exception of the light being given off by the diamond grading light.

Crafted by Infinity Hearts and Arrows diamond reviews, AGSL 104072339003But in the real world, we tend to look at diamonds from a top-down vantage point, and while they are moving around on our hands, so the difference between a G-color, H-color, and I-color diamond, are not all that noticeable, and thus dropping down to an H or I color diamond is a great way to pick up some size and save a little bit of money… But if you happen to be one of the few people who is more color sensitive, and who prefers the slightly brighter, whiter appearance provided by diamonds in the G-color range, then this 1.630 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, Crafted by Infinity diamond is an excellent option, and check out the gorgeous pattern of hearts and arrows that this diamond exhibits!

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The combination of a 34.3 degree crown angle that is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.9 degrees, with a lower girdle facet length of 76% combined with the extreme precision of facet shape and alignment that is required to produce a hearts and arrows pattern that is this picture perfect, is definitely going to result in a high volume of light return and sparkle factor that is absolutely incredible… and the reality is that ALL of the Crafted by Infinity diamonds reviewed herein are cut to the same degree of optical symmetry, and the same range of proportions, so they are all top performing diamonds that are cut to a level of precision that is well within the Top 0.001% of the annual production for round brilliant cut diamonds!

The only question is which of the Crafted by Infinity diamonds that are available from High Performance Diamonds provides you with the best sense of balance based upon your personal preferences for carat weight, diamond color, and diamond clarity, because in terms of visual performance, they’re pretty much all the same… that is one of the benefits of buying a Crafted by Infinity diamond, and one of the things that I loved about being an authorized dealer for Crafted by Infinity, they produce diamonds which are extremely consistent in diamond cut quality and make.

Be sure to let Wink from High Performance Diamonds know that you learned about Crafted by Infinity diamonds by reading about them on Nice Ice. And by all means, be sure to take advantage of my free Diamond Concierge Service if you’d like help finding the diamond of your dreams! Perhaps I’ll even turn it into a blog post…

Todd Gray
Todd Gray is a professional diamond buyer with 30+ years of trade experience. He loves to teach people how to buy diamonds that exhibit incredible light performance! In addition to writing for Nice Ice, Todd "ghost writes" blogs and educational content for other diamond sites. When Todd isn't chained to a desk, or consulting for the trade, he enjoys Freediving! (that's like scuba diving, but without air tanks)
Todd Gray

@NiceIceDiamonds

Professional diamond buyer with 30+ years trade experience in the niche of super ideal cut diamonds. In my free time, I enjoy freediving & photography.
The incredible #story behind the Sirisha diamond necklace by @BrianGavin 71 #Diamonds cut to order #Amazinghttps://t.co/dHOo1T99xT - 2 years ago

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3 comments
Wendy says July 21, 2014

FYI…..I’ve decided to take a serious look at the CBI 1.63 I VS2 that you mentioned above. I’ll let you know how it all works out! 🙂

Reply
Wendy says July 20, 2014

Thank you so much for your advice and input! This post was extremely helpful. I may end up calling Wink about the two stones you recommended (1.63 I VS2 & 1.62 I VS2) which are practically identical. I noticed that the LGF on one is 77% and the other 78%. I’m assuming that to the untrained eye they will appear to dance and sparkle the same? I was intrigued by the high performance of the 1.57 ct. H VS2 that you listed…would I be paying more ($2k) mainly for the color upgrade and excellent hearts and arrows cut? I took a look over at Brian Gavin’s site and looked at 1.517 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, BGD Signature diamond with medium fluorescence which is below my budget and appears to be a better diamond all around; am I correct in that assessment? Please tell me what you think about considering this one.

After I get your feedback on that one, I will make my decision betw that and the beauties you highlighted from HPD. Again, thank you so much. I’ve learned so much from your site which has helped give me peace of mind in knowing that whatever stone I choose will be gorgeous!! – Wendy

Reply
    Todd Gray says July 22, 2014

    Hello Wendy, I’m glad that you found my blog post helpful. It is doubtful that most people would be able to distinguish between round ideal cut diamonds, cut within this center range of proportions, with a lower girdle facet length of 77-78% and thus I feel that either one is perfectly fine. The higher cost of the 1.57 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, round diamond from CBI / HPD is a reflection of the higher color; and the price is lower on the 1.517 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond because of the medium blue fluorescence, which commands a discount. In terms of the volume of light return and the sparkle factor of the diamonds, I doubt that there is a measurable difference, CBI / BGD are my favorite producers of super ideal cut round diamonds and I find their production quality, and the light performance that results from it to be top notch.

    Reply
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