Diamond Clarity

What makes a diamond impeccable is the absence of imperfections called inclusions. Less inclusions result in a more transparent and brilliant stone that awes its wearer and anyone who sees it. The Gemological Institute of America has developed a clarity scale to determine what makes a diamond the best it can be - flawless.


DIAMOND CLARITY

Diamond clarity is a measure of flawlessness, specifically the degree to which inclusions are present. Inclusions are tiny, often microscopic, imperfections. In significantly “included” diamonds, they can affect transparency and brilliance.

Some inclusions are present in most diamonds. Diamond cutters will generally try to hide inclusions in less visible positions, such as near the girdle.

Clarity is graded using an 11-point scale developed by the GIA. Grading assesses number, size, color, reflectivity, and position of all flaws visible under 10x magnification and must be carried out by a skilled grader.

FLFlawless
No inclusions or blemishes found under 10x magnification.Flawless diamonds are extremely rare.
IFInternally Flawless Only minor blemishes and no inclusions are found under 10x magnification.
VVS1
VVS2
Very, Very Slightly IncludedInclusions are difficult to see under 10x magnification.

Inclusions are invisible to the naked eye.

VS1
VS2
Very Slightly IncludedMinor inclusions are visible under 10x magnification.

In most cases, inclusions are not visible to the naked eye.

SI1

SI2

Slightly IncludedInclusions are visible under 10x magnification.

Inclusions may or may not be visible to the naked eye.

I1
I2
I3
IncludedInclusions are obvious and may affect transparency and/or brilliance.

Inclusions are usually visible to the naked eye and may affect the diamond’s durability.

TIPS:

  • The intense faceting of brilliant cuts hides inclusions better than step-cuts.
  • Buyers set on perfection should choose diamonds that are VVS2 or better.
  • Flawless to the naked eye, VS1 and VS2 diamonds make up about half of all diamond purchases.