Understanding Diamond Clarity

Cut Scale SI1 Cut Scale SI2 Cut Scale VS2 Cut Scale VS1 Cut Scale VVS2 Cut Scale VVS1 Cut Scale IF Cut Scale FL

Clarity in diamonds refers to the presence or absence of internal characteristics, known as inclusions, and external features, known as blemishes. These imperfections affect a diamond's brilliance and transparency.

The clarity scale, established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), ranges from Internally Flawless (IF), meaning no internal flaws, to Included (I), where inclusions are visible to the naked eye. Understanding a diamond's clarity grade helps determine its overall quality and value.

Diamond Clarity Scale

Diamond Clarity defines the level of imperfections within a diamond. The GIA established this scale in 1953, standardizing the grading of cut, color, carat, and clarity. It comprises six categories and eleven levels, providing a universal method for assessing diamond clarity worldwide.

Flawless (FL)

Flawless (FL) diamonds exhibit no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification, an exceptionally rare clarity grade. Representing less than 1% of all diamonds, FL clarity signifies unparalleled purity and pristine beauty, ensuring an exquisite and captivating appearance.

Internally Flawless (IF)

Ideal for perfectionists. Internally Flawless (IF) diamonds have no visible inclusions under 10x magnification. Minor surface blemishes may exist under a microscope, but they offer exceptional clarity.

Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)

Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) diamonds exhibit extremely minor inclusions that are challenging for a skilled grader to detect under 10x magnification. These diamonds are considered eye clean, ensuring exceptional clarity and brilliance.

Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)

Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) diamonds may display inclusions under 10x magnification, but these are minor and require effort to detect. Generally, these diamonds are considered eye clean, ensuring excellent clarity.

Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)

Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) diamonds exhibit noticeable inclusions under 10x magnification. While some may have inclusions visible to the untrained eye, others remain eye-clean, offering varying degrees of clarity.

Included (I1, I2, and I3)

Included (I1, I2, and I3) diamonds exhibit noticeable inclusions under 10x magnification, impacting transparency and brilliance. We do not offer diamonds of this grade as their imperfections are often visible to the unaided eye.

Diamond Clarity Factors

To evaluate diamond clarity, trained graders employ 10x magnification to scrutinize the number, size, relief, nature, and position of imperfections, assessing their impact on the stone's appearance. Each diamond is then assigned one of 11 specific clarity grades, and its imperfections are plotted on a visual diagram, aiding in the identification of unique characteristics. This meticulous process ensures that customers can make informed decisions about their diamond purchases, understanding the distinct features of each stone and its clarity grade.


The size of inclusions significantly affects clarity grades, with larger inclusions typically having a greater impact. However, size is relative to the diamond's overall dimensions. Extra-large, near-surface, or surface-reaching inclusions may also affect the stone's durability.


The nature of imperfections in a diamond refers to the type of inclusion and its depth within the stone. Inclusions are internal characteristics, while blemishes are external. Understanding their nature helps assess their impact on clarity.


The number of inclusions or clarity characteristics in a diamond affects its clarity grade. Typically, the more visible or numerous these characteristics are, the lower the clarity grade assigned to the diamond.


The location of inclusions within a diamond impacts its clarity grade. Inclusions closer to the center, particularly near the table, have a more pronounced effect. Those near the girdle may be harder to spot but could risk damage if surface-reaching.


Relief refers to how clearly the inclusion or blemish stands out against the diamond. Low relief indicates transparent or white inclusions, while high relief suggests dark ones. Higher relief significantly impacts clarity, as it makes the inclusion more visible against the diamond.

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Important of Diamond Clarity

Clarity plays a vital role in defining a diamond's appearance, quality, and value. It influences how the diamond sparkles and its overall visual appeal, making it a crucial factor for buyers to consider.


The appearance of a diamond heavily depends on its clarity. Diamonds with significant inclusions may appear duller and lack the brilliant shine characteristic of higher-quality grades.


The quality of a diamond is influenced by its clarity. Diamonds with numerous inclusions may have reduced durability and be more susceptible to chipping and other damage.


Price varies significantly based on diamond clarity. Flawless and Internally Flawless diamonds, being extremely rare, command high prices.

Guidelines for Selecting a Clarity Grade

Navigating the myriad options of diamond characteristics—cut, color, carat, and clarity—can be overwhelming. Finding the perfect diamond entails achieving a harmonious balance across these four attributes while aligning with personal preferences and budget constraints. When contemplating clarity grades, consider the following:
  • While Flawless is the pinnacle grade, prioritize diamonds that appear clean to the naked eye. Grades like SI1 and above typically offer excellent clarity without the premium price tag associated with flawless stones.

  • Explore Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) and Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) diamonds to maximize your budget. These grades often present eye-clean characteristics without the elevated cost of higher clarity grades.

  • Tailor your choice to your priorities. If clarity ranks high, opt for a smaller diamond with warmer color tones. Conversely, prioritize carat size by selecting a larger stone with compromised clarity or cut.

  • Always view diamonds firsthand before committing to a purchase, as this provides invaluable insights beyond online representations. Schedule a showroom appointment to receive expert guidance on clarity and the broader 4 C's.

  • For diamonds with rectangular or step-cut facets (e.g., emerald or asscher shapes), opt for higher clarity grades. These cuts accentuate transparency, allowing deeper visibility into the diamond's interior.

Diamond Clarity FAQs

What is the best clarity of a diamond?

The best clarity for a diamond depends on personal preferences and budget. Generally, diamonds with higher clarity grades, such as FL (Flawless) or IF (Internally Flawless), are considered the best due to their rarity and lack of visible inclusions.

In the VS (Very Slightly Included) clarity range, VS1 diamonds typically have fewer and smaller inclusions compared to VS2 diamonds. However, the difference between the two grades is often subtle and may not significantly impact the diamond's appearance or value.

Diamonds with flawless or internally flawless clarity grades, such as FL (Flawless) or IF (Internally Flawless), are the most expensive due to their rarity and exceptional clarity, which results in maximum brilliance and sparkle.

The lowest quality diamonds usually have clarity grades of I (Included) or P (Pique). These diamonds may have visible inclusions or blemishes that affect their appearance and overall value.

To check diamond purity, you can use a jeweler's loupe or a microscope to examine the diamond for any internal flaws (inclusions) or external blemishes. A certified gemologist can also assess the diamond's clarity using specialized equipment.

Various factors can affect diamond clarity, including the presence of inclusions (internal flaws), blemishes (external flaws), the type and location of these imperfections within the diamond, as well as the diamond's cut and carat weight.

The best clarity of a diamond depends on individual preferences, budget, and intended use. While flawless or internally flawless diamonds are considered the highest quality, diamonds with slightly lower clarity grades may still appear stunning and offer better value for money.

It's not possible to change the clarity of a diamond once it has been formed. However, skilled gemologists may be able to minimize the visibility of certain inclusions through techniques like diamond clarity enhancement treatments, though these methods are controversial and can affect the diamond's value.

  1. Diamond clarity cannot be improved after the diamond is formed. However, choosing a diamond with a higher clarity grade or opting for a well-cut diamond can help maximize its brilliance and minimize the visibility of any inclusions or blemishes.

Understanding diamond clarity is essential for making informed purchasing decisions. It involves assessing the presence, size, type, and location of any imperfections within the diamond, which ultimately affects its appearance, quality, and value.