How Diamonds Taught me to Embrace Imperfection

In case it wasn’t already clear, let’s establish that I am a Type A perfectionist. I consistently put pressure on myself to do everything perfectly on the first attempt, sometimes to the point of paralysis. There are times when I’m so afraid that something I try might not be perfect that I just don’t do it at all, which is completely counterproductive. So how does a jewelry-obsessed perfectionist reconcile imperfection? She looks to diamonds for the answer of course.

In terms of diamond grading, the equivalent of ‘perfect’ is flawless. I’m sure we’re all pretty familiar with the 4Cs of diamonds; well one of those Cs is clarity. According to the Clarity Scale by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), there are 11 different grades of clarity. The highest grade is flawless, which means the stone has no inclusions or blemishes that are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification.

The ten grades that follow flawless describe various levels of inclusions, which are basically internal “imperfections” in the stone (see scale below). According to GIA, a flawless stone is an incredibly rare occurrence that most jewelers have never encountered. Instead, most diamonds fall into the VS or SI categories.

When it comes to diamonds, while flawless may mean perfect, it doesn’t necessarily mean best. According to Tom Burstein, senior vice president of the Americas for the jewelry department at Christie’s, diamond customers are increasingly preferring larger stones over flawless ones. Burstein told Women’s Wear Daily, “The difference in how (the stones) appear is imperceptible — people are not willing to pay super strong high prices for beauty that doesn’t translate when wearing it.”

With this in mind, I’ve re-evaluated my quest for that elusive level of ‘flawless’ perfection. Instead of waiting until I think I can execute something perfectly, I’ll be heeding the sage advice of the diamond: go big or go home.