LEARN ABOUT DIAMOND CLARITY
Clarity describes the presence or absence of inclusions
within the diamond and blemishes on its surface.
slight "birthmarks of nature" make every diamond quite unique. However,
they do affect the beauty and value of the diamond. These natural
birthmarks are often referred to as inclusions. The fewer inclusions a
diamond has the more rare and valuable it is. Diamonds which contain
numerous inclusions are less brilliant because inclusions interfere with
light passing through the diamond.
(Gemological Institute of American) clarity grading scale outlined below
is the most widely accepted clarity grading system in the world. GIA’s
clarity grading scale specifies eleven grades:
Internally Flawless (IF),
(VVS1-VVS2), Very, Very Slightly Included
(VS1-VS2), Very Slightly Included
(SI1-SI2), Slightly Included
The GIA clarity grading system is presented below.
The following illustrations are to be used only as a
reference. In terms of appearance, diamonds present an
endless variety of clarity-characteristic combinations,
so there can never be a single description that
automatically describes a given grade.
illustrations shown below are actual plots from GIA diamond quality
reports in which GIA assigned a clarity grade. Plots are drawn using
different colors of ink to distinguish between blemishes and inclusions:
red for inclusions,
green for blemishes ,
cavities, naturals, knots and laser drill holes, and black for extra
facets. If you would like to learn more details about how a diamond is
plotted, click the following link: Learn More About Plotting Diamond
(Gemological Institute of America) and the AGS (American Gem Society)
provide the most accurate certifications and clarity grades. Both
GIA and AGS provide diamond plots that detail every internal and
external characteristic that is visible in a diamond at 10X
certifications from EGL (European Gemological Laboratory), IGI
(International Gemological Institute) and other gemological laboratories
usually plot only the more noticeable internal and external
characteristics. Minor inclusions that are difficult to see may not be
shown on the plot.
Clarity Grading System:
It is important to be know that inclusions
and blemishes are much more difficult to see in the actual diamond than
they usually appear as drawn on the diamond plot.
FL: (Flawless) Flawless diamonds
show no inclusions or blemishes of any sort when
examined by a skilled grader under 10X binocular
magnification. Very rare and beautiful diamonds.
IF: (Internally Flawless) No inclusions,
and only insignificant surface blemishes. Normally, what
separates IF from FL diamonds are characteristics that
can be removed by very minor re-polishing.
VVS1 and VVS2: (Very Very Slightly Included)
Minute inclusions that are difficult for even a skilled
grader to see under 10X binocular magnification. In
VVS1, they are extremely difficult to see, visible only
from the pavilion, or small and shallow enough to be
removed easily by re-polishing. In VVS2, inclusions are
still difficult to see. Typical inclusions:
scattered pinpoints, taint clouds, slightly bearded
girdles, internal graining, and tiny feathers, chips and
VS1 and VS2: (Very Slightly Included)
Minor inclusions ranging from difficult to somewhat easy
for a trained grader to see when examined using 10X
magnification. Typical Inclusions: small included
crystals and feathers, distinct clouds, and groups of
SI1 and SI2: (Slightly Included)
Noticeable inclusions that are easy (SI1) or very easy
(SI2) to see when examined by a trained grader using 10X
magnification. Typical inclusions: small included
crystals, clouds, feathers.
I1,12 and I3: (Imperfect) Obvious inclusions
that are often easily eye-visible face up; in I3 they
may threaten durability. Typical inclusions: large
included crystals and feathers.
Select a diamond that is better than eye perfect.
The Certified Gemologist-Appraisers recommend selecting
a diamond with a clarity grade between FL and SI2.
Diamonds with a clarity grade of SI2 usually will not
display inclusions to the unaided eye in diamond sizes
under one carat. When selecting a diamond which weighs
between one and two carats, it is best to select a
diamond with a clarity grade of SI1 or higher to be sure
no inclusions will be visible to the unaided eye.
Diamonds that weigh over two carats may require
selecting a diamond with a clarity grade of VS2, VS1 or
Clarity Quality less important that Carat Weight, Cut and Color quality?
If your goal is to select the most attractive and brilliant diamond
possible within a specified budget, it is important to consider
selecting a diamond with a better cut quality, larger size or a higher
color grade than it is to select a diamond with a very high clarity
grade. For example: Consider two diamonds that are nearly the same in
price. Both diamonds weigh one carat. One diamond has VS2 clarity grade,
very fine cut and fine white D color The other diamond has a FL
(flawless) clarity grade, average cut and near white H color. Because FL
and VS2 clarity grades appear the same to the unaided eye and
differences in cut quality, color and size are very apparent, the D
color VS2 will obviously be the most beautiful diamond for the price.