Diamonds contain characteristics, each being unique to the particular diamond, just like a fingerprint. Clarity is a way of grading the extent to which the stone is free from external marks, called blemishes, or internal marks, called inclusions.
The grade of the diamond is determined in general by the size and number of inclusions that are present in the diamond when viewed under 10x magnification. The fewer noticeable flaws, the higher the value of the diamond. Diamonds that have no inclusions are graded Flawless (FL) and diamonds that have no inclusions or blemishes are graded Internally Flawless (IF).
The chart below shows the industry standard diamond clarity scale used by GIA, one of the world's leading diamond grading institutions.
The scale ranges from Flawless (FL) to Included (I), with varying degrees of clarity in between:
- Flawless (FL) and Internally Flawless (IF): These diamonds possess no visible inclusions or blemishes when examined under 10x magnification. They are exceptionally rare and highly valuable.
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1/VVS2): Inclusions are extremely difficult to detect even under 10x magnification and they have a minimal impact on the diamond's beauty.
- Very Slightly Included (VS1/VS2): Inclusions are minor and not easily visible to the naked eye. Under 10x magnification, they may be noticeable but do not significantly affect the diamond's brilliance.
- Slightly Included (SI1/SI2): Inclusions are more apparent under 10x magnification and more likely to be visible to the naked eye. However, with careful diamond selection, SI diamonds can offer excellent value.
- Included (I1, I2, I3): Inclusions are readily visible to the naked eye and will likely affect the diamond's brilliance and transparency.
Clarity is an important consideration when choosing your diamond, but there are some other factors to consider such as the type and placement of inclusions. Some diamonds that on paper may seem to have lower gradings are still completely eye-clean - meaning that any blemishes or inclusions are only visible under magnification and will not affect how the diamonds appears to the naked eye. Inclusions will look different in every diamond and our jewellery experts are here to help guide you to select a diamond that works with your design and budget.
When you are comparing diamonds, it’s important to compare like for like. Make sure to ask for information about all quality factors before comparing and selecting your diamond.