Beyond The Letters and Numbers
The clarity of a diamond refers to how clear, or “clean” the diamond is. Diamonds have imperfections which are present in its rough state. The clarity scale is a measure of the severity of those imperfections or “inclusions” as it is known in the trade.
In addition to internal inclusions, surface irregularities are referred to as blemishes. These two categories of imperfections-inclusions (internal) and blemishes (external)-make up clarity. The fewer the imperfections, the rarer and more valuable the diamond.
Clarity is graded using a very precise and complex method of evaluating the size, location, and visibility of inclusions. Clarity is a measure of internal structural imperfections called “inclusions”. Grades of clarity, which are mostly those used by Gemological Institute of America (GIA), are:
FL-Flawless: Shows no inclusions or blemishes of any sort under 10 x magnifications when observed by an experienced grader. This is especially important for bigger diamonds starting 3 carat.
IF-Internally Flawless: Have no inclusions when examined by an experienced grader, but will have some minor blemishes.
VVS1, VVS2 – Very Very Slightly Imperfect: Contains minute inclusions that are difficult even for experienced graders to see under 10x magnification. This are not noticeable to the naked eyes, this will make no difference for diamonds below 2 carat.
VS1, VS2 – Very Slightly Imperfect: Contains minute inclusions such as crystals, clouds or feathers when observed with effort under 10x magnification.
SI1, SI2 – Slightly Imperfect: Contains inclusions such as cavities, knots clouds, feathers and included crystals which are noticeable to an experienced grader.
I1, I2, I3 – Imperfect: Contains inclusions such as large feathers or large included crystals, which are obvious under a 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.