Explaining Diamond Clarity Grades

Beyond The Letters and Numbers

As part of the 4Cs, diamond clarity is one of the main quality features of a diamond that determine its rarity and eventually its final diamond price. Clarity is a grade that refers to how perfect or imperfect the diamond is both internally in the form of inclusions and externally looking at blemishes. The higher the clarity grade, the less imperfections and the cleaner the diamond is. Most diamonds will have some internal imperfections because it's simply part of the natural formation process - in fact, some even refer to those inclusions as birthmarks.

Diamond clarity grading scale

When determining the clarity scale, diamond experts look at various elements which in total add to the final clarity grade assigned to the diamond. This includes not only the presence of inclusions or blemishes as imperfections, but also the size, type and locations of these imperfections. For example, an inclusion on the side of a diamond and somewhat hidden when wearing the diamond as a ring will not have the same effect on the diamond price as an inclusion in the center of the table and clearly visible when wearing it as jewelry.

When the GIA grades diamonds for their diamond grading reports, diamond clarity is defined along a scale ranging from Flawless to Imperfect. Let's take a look at what each of these grades mean for your diamond:

  • (FL) Flawless:The very ultimate grade in diamond clarity. These diamonds have no imperfections at all - even under 10x magnification - and are in very high demand. The bigger the diamond, the more value this diamond grade because a clean look becomes even more important.
  • (IF) Internally Flawless:A diamond with this grade will have no clearly visible imperfections, but an experienced diamond grader will be able to see some imperfections under 10x magnification. This is a popular diamond grade for diamonds bigger than When you get anything above a 3 carat as the clean look is simply amazing.
  • (VVS1, VVS2) Very Very Slightly Imperfect:While these diamond will have some form of inclusions under 10x magnification, they will appear clean when looking at them without magnification. This clarity grade is one of the more common grades for diamond jewelry as it strikes the right balance between price and visually stunning appearance. Buyers of diamonds below 2 carats often choose this clarity grade.
  • (VS1, VS2) Very Slightly Imperfect:Inclusions and blemishes become slightly easier to see under 10x magnification. The most common imperfections include crystals, clouds or feathers. However, how much it affects the look of the diamond depends on the location of the imperfections.
  • (SI1, SI2) Slightly Imperfect:Starting from this clarity grade, cavities, knots, clouds, feathers and crystals can be quite easy to spot and significantly lowers the price of the diamond. It helps lower the price if you're more focused on the size of the diamond while trying to stay within your budget.
  • (I1, I2, I3) Imperfect: Not a common clarity grade for diamonds intended to be worn as jewelry as the imperfections are too obvious and take away from the overall beauty. It can have a strong effect on the brilliance and sparkle of the diamond.