Diamond clarity refers to the number, position and size of the inclusions that occur naturally inside diamonds. The fewer and less obvious the inclusions, the more valuable the diamond. Here is an illustration that shows the clarity grading scale that has been established by the world's foremost authority on diamonds, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
An important aspect of diamonds is their clarity. Before buying a diamond you should make efforts to learn all about grading the clarity of a diamond. This process is very easy to learn. The two things that you need to understand. There are two types of diamonds, namely those with inclusions or blemishes, and those that are without blemishes that can be seen with the naked eye. The clarity of diamonds can be further sub-divided into various categories
Many people believe the misconception that diamond clarity implies the clarity of the diamond. This is actually not the case. Clarity is used to indicate the internal and external imperfections of the diamond. The most superior quality diamonds will have the grade of FL or IF – Flawless or Internally Flawless – which means that it is perfect. On the other hand, a grade of I-1, I-2 or I-3 implies that the diamond is imperfect, with a grade of I-3 being the worst.
There are other types of grades such as VVS1 and VVS2, which indicate that the diamonds may be slightly imperfect; VS1 and VS2 indicate that the diamond is very slightly imperfect; SI-1 and SI-2 indicate that the diamond is slightly imperfect.
Clarity improves when a diamond has fewer flaws. A clarity grade is assigned based on the overall appearance of a diamond under 10x magnification. There are five factors that determine how a major laboratory will assign a clarity grade to a specific diamond:
How large or small the inclusion is within the diamond.
How many inclusions are found within the diamond.
The location of the inclusions within the diamond. Inclusions located under the table or "heart" of the diamond (the upper flat facet of the stone) impact the clarity grade more than inclusions located under the side facets.
The degree to which the inclusions affect the durability of a diamond. Large feathers (miniscule fissures) in a diamond can be hazardous depending on their size and position.
The degree to which the inclusion is visible. Dark inclusions are easier to locate than white or clear inclusions and may be graded more harshly.
Diamond clarity is graded according to the following scale:
No inclusions or blemishes are visible under 10x magnification.
These diamonds are very rare, beautiful and expensive.
Internally Flawless (IF)
No inclusions and only insignificant blemishes can be seen under 10x magnification.
These diamonds are very rare, beautiful and expensive and their blemishes can normally be removed by minor polishing.
Very very slightly included (VVS1-VVS2)
Inclusions and blemishes are very difficult to see under 10x magnification.
These are excellent quality diamonds.
Very slightly included (VS1-VS2)
Inclusions are not typically visible to the unaided eye.
VS1-VS2 diamonds contain minor inclusions that range from difficult to somewhat easy to see under 10x magnification. Though less expensive than VVS1-2 stones, these are excellent quality diamonds.
Inclusions are easily visible under 10x magnification and may be visible with the unaided eye.
These diamonds still offer a great value at a much less cost than those with higher clarity ratings.
Inclusions are visible to the unaided eye and in some cases affects the durability of the diamond.
Selecting A Clarity
It is important to select a diamond that does not have any inclusions that affect overall beauty and durability. If you want to be certain that your diamond is "eye clean" (i.e. no inclusions are visible to the unaided eye), select a diamond that is graded VS2 or higher.
There are great values to be had when shopping for SI quality diamonds. To be certain that a diamond is free of inclusions visible to the naked eye, we recommend that you have it reviewed by our expert staff before finalizing your order.
It is always a good idea to balance the clarity grade of your diamond with its color. If you are interested in diamonds in the D-F color range, focus on clarity grades of VS2 or higher. For excellent value, look for G-I color range diamonds with SI clarity.