Diamond Clarity

Clarity is an important aspect of a diamond, and it is important to know how to grade the clarity of a diamond before you buy one. It is actually quite easy to learn how to grade the clarity of a diamond.

There are basically two things that you must understand: Diamonds with visual inclusions and blemishes, and those that are ‘eye clean’ meaning that there are no inclusions or blemishes that can be seen with the naked eye. From there, the clarity of a diamond is further broken down into subcategories. Many people mistakenly think that diamond clarity refers to how clear it is. Clarity actually refers to the internal and external blemishes and inclusions of the diamond.

GradeSymbolDefinition
FlawlessFFree from all inclusions
Internally FlawlessIFNo inclusions visible under 10x magnification
Very Very Slightly Included (or Very Very Slightly Imperfect) 1VVS1Inclusions that are extremely difficult to spot under 10x magnification
Very Very Slightly Included 2VVS2Inclusions that are very difficult to spot under 10x magnification
Very Slightly Included 1VS1Minor inclusions that are difficult to spot under 10x magnification
Very Slightly Included 2VS2Minor inclusions that are relatively difficult to spot under 10x magnification
Slightly Included 1SI1Inclusions that are easy to spot under 10x magnification
Slightly Included 2SI2Inclusions that are very easy to spot under 10x magnification
Included 1I1Obvious inclusions that are relatively easy to spot without magnification
Included 2I2Obvious inclusions that are easy to spot without magnification
Included 3I3Obvious inclusions that are very easy to spot without magnification

The best diamonds get a grade of FL or IF – Flawless or Internally Flawless – meaning that it is perfect or near-perfect under magnification. Grades of VVS1 and VVS2 means that the diamond has very, very slight inclusions that are extremely difficult to spot even under magnification; VS1 and VS2 meaning the inclusions are relatively difficult to locate under magnification; SI1 and SI2, which means that the diamond is slightly imperfect with inclusions that are fairly easy to spot. A grade of I-1, I-2 or I-3 means that the diamond has blemishes that are easy to spot, with a grade of I-3 being the worst.

The clarity of diamonds can be improved by various techniques such as laser drilling and fracture filling. When purchasing diamonds, do take note if the diamond has been clarity-treated.

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