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.

FLFlawlessNo inclusions or blemishes found under 10x magnification. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare.
IFInternally FlawlessOnly minor blemishes and no inclusions are found under 10x magnification.
VVS1 VVS2Very, 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.

FAQs

The best quality of diamond that you can buy is FL which standards for flawless. However, as a general rule, for diamonds which are over 2 carats, it is recommended that you select a clarity grading of VS2 or above. For diamonds of between one and two carats, the clarity grading should be SI1 or above. This will mean that there shouldn’t be any visible inclusions.
A clarity enhanced diamond is still a diamond, but in its natural state, it would have inclusions that would be visible to the naked eye. However, using modern techniques, the inclusions are “filled” making them no longer so visible.
Diamond clarity is classed as one of the vital 4 Cs when it comes to judging a diamond’s quality and essentially, its value. The less blemishes or inclusions that a diamond has, the better the quality. In reality, most blemishes are not visible to the naked eye.
A diamond will be graded under 10X microscope and requires a highly trained and skilled human eye to check for any inclusions. The location and nature of the flaws will have a significant impact on the diamond’s overall clarity.
Diamonds are graded into 11 categories of clarity. FL stands for flawless and is obviously the best clarity of diamond. The lowest grade is I3 which stands for included and will usually lack the transparency and brilliance associated with diamonds. Most people opt to purchase SI1 (slightly included) or VS2 (very slightly included diamonds.
Diamonds range in price, and the value is typically determined more by the clarity and colour of the diamond as well as its cut rather than the carat weight. However, you would usually expect to pay anything upwards of $2,500 for a one-carat diamond.