Diamond Clarity

Diamond Buying Guide: Diamond Clarity Education

Clarity refers to the absence of imperfections and blemishes in a diamond.  Almost all diamonds have minor imperfections.  The fewer imperfections there are in a diamond, the higher its clarity grading.  According to experts, clarity generally has the least impact on a diamond’s appearance.  This is true because the few imperfections a diamond may have tend to be microscopic and generally will not noticeable affect a diamond’s beauty. It is also important to note that as a diamond’s size increases, the size of the facets also increase (diamond facets allow you to see into a diamond), and therefore the larger the diamond, the greater the importance of the its clarity.

How Clarity Is Graded:

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) developed a clarity scale, which contains 11 grades.  Most diamonds fall into the VS (very slightly included) or the SI (slightly included) categories.

The components to consider when grading Clarity are: Size. Nature, Position, Color, and Quantity.

Clarity Measurement:

Flawless (FL) No inclusions or blemishes. No internal or external imperfections. Very rare.
Initially Flawless (IF) No inclusions and only blemishes are visible under 10x magnification. Very rare.
Very, Very Slightly Included 
(VVS1 & VVS2)
Inclusions are difficult to see under 10x magnifications by skilled graders. Highly sought after.
Very Slightly Included (VS1 & VS2) Inclusions are visible to skilled graders using 10x magnification, but are minor. Very affordable.
Slightly Included (SI1 & SI2) Inclusions are noticeable to skilled graders using 10x magnification.
Included (I1, I2, & I3)  Inclusions are obvious and may affect transparency and brilliance.

The above information is based on GIA grading standards.


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