Learn how diamonds are graded for clarity.
Learn about Diamond Clarity Grade
Deep in the Earth's mantle, and under incredible pressure, Diamonds are formed. This process often leaves behind birthmarks, which can be internal inclusions or external blemishes. The fewer birthmarks a diamond has, the greater its clarity and the more rare it is. All Diamonds get graded based on their clarity, and that scale goes from flawless all the way to included.
- Flawless (FL)
- The definition of a perfect diamond might be one that has no birthmarks at all, even under extreme magnification. Such a perfect specimen may not exist at all, but the Diamonds that come close are classified as flawless. When skilled jewelers look at a flawless diamond under 10X magnification, they won't be able to spot a single birthmark of any size. To the average person's eye, that means that a flawless diamond is virtually perfect. These Diamonds are very uncommon, and many jewelers go their whole lives without seeing one.
- Internally Flawless (IF)
- The next most rare diamond is known as internally flawless. To the naked eye, these Diamonds look perfect. When a skilled jeweler looks at the diamond under 10x magnification, however, it may reveal some blemishes. These are flaws to the exterior of the diamond. An internally flawless diamond won't contain any internal birthmarks, known as inclusions, which means that the interior itself is considered to be flawless.
- Very Very Slight Included (VVS1,VVS2)
- The next diamond clarity grade is very very slight included. This means that a diamond may have both internal and external birthmarks. The inclusions in this type of diamond won't be easy to spot. Even someone with extensive knowledge about Diamonds might have trouble spotting the inclusions under powerful 10x magnification. There are two subcategories of this diamond clarity grade: VVS1 and VVS2. VVS1 is the closest to flawless, while VVS2 may have slightly more or larger inclusions.
- Very Slight Included (VS1,VS2)
- The next grade for diamond clarity is known as very slight included. These Diamonds will contain minor inclusions, or internal characteristics. Under 10x magnification, these inclusions can range from difficult to easy for a diamond expert to spot. This grade is subcategorized into VS1 and VS2. VS1 is the more expensive, clear category, while Diamonds in the VS2 category may have more obvious inclusions.
- Slightly Included (SI1, SI2,SI3)
- If a skilled jeweler looks at a diamond under 10x magnification and can immediately notice inclusions, then the diamond is graded as slightly included. To the skilled eye, inclusions might be noticeable without magnification. To the average person, however, any flaws will still be invisible. Slightly included Diamonds span three subcategories: SI1, SI2 and SI3. Many buyers find that this is a budget-friendly diamond choice without obvious defects.
- Included (I1,I2,I3)
- Looking at included Diamonds under 10x magnification will reveal obvious inclusions. In some cases, these inclusions are visible to the naked eye. At this level, inclusions may start to impact the brilliance and transparency of the diamond. Included Diamonds are divided into three subcategories of clarity. The Diamonds with the fewest inclusions are classed as I1, and the Diamonds with the most inclusions are classed as I3.
Diamond clarity grades make it easy to know the quality of the diamond you're buying. Whether you're shopping for Diamonds online or across the globe, the diamond clarity grades remain the same.