What is diamond clarity? Diamond clarity is a grade on a scale from Flawless to Included, which measures the amount and locations of inclusions in a diamond. An inclusion is an internal or external characteristic or flaw which occurs during the Earth’s natural process of diamond formation. The majority of diamonds contain inclusions that are undetectable to the unaided eye.
Internally Flawless (IF) diamonds may contain external characteristics (also known as blemishes) that are extremely difficult to view at 10x magnification on the stone's surface, if at all, whereas Flawless (FL) is the best clarity of a diamond as it does not contain any inclusions or blemishes, under the scrutiny of 10x magnification.
Although the name is seemingly redundant, Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2) diamonds earn this grading because, unlike their Flawless or Internally Flawless brethren, they do contain inclusions that are so minute that they're extremely difficult to locate under 10x magnification used by expert gemologist to determine a stones clarity.
Like their higher graded counterparts, VS1 and VS2 diamonds also contain minute inclusions, such as clouds, crystals, or feathers, but, unlike Very Very Slightly Included diamonds, Very Slightly Included stones' inclusions, though miniscule are only just difficult to locate with 10x magnification, rather than being extremely difficult.
Even without 10x magnification, Slightly Included diamonds (SI1, SI2, SI3) contain inclusions that are noticeable to the human eye such as clouds, knots, crystals, cavities, and feathers. However pronounced and numerous there are without magnification, thought, is what determines a diamond is either Slightly Included or fully Included.
Diamonds that are graded as Included (I1, I2, I3) contain very obvious inclusions that can usually be seen with the naked eye, and even more underneath 10x magnification. Included diamonds sometimes display poor transparency and lack of brilliance due to excessive clouds, feathers, knots, cavities and crystals large and deep enough to be confused for smudges or cracks. In spite of these blemishes, Included diamonds are still able to sell well enough, in spite of being considered undesirable as compared to a higher clarity graded stone.
Below are some points to consider when selecting your desired clarity rating:
Those who prefer a diamond with little or no inclusions will likely choose a clarity rating of FL-IF or VVS. Although they are priced higher, these high-quality diamonds boast a near-perfect appearance.
While still considered high quality, diamonds rated in the VS clarity range will not cost as much as more premium clarities. VS diamonds will contain inclusions that are undetectable to the unaided eye.
Considered by many to be a great value, SI1-SI2 diamonds will contain inclusions that can be detected with magnification, yet are typically undetectable to the unaided eye and do not detract from the beauty of the diamond.
If you are considering a diamond with an SI rating, contact a Brilliance diamond and jewelry expert to ensure the inclusions are not visible to the naked eye.
Those who desire large carat weights at lower prices may choose diamonds in the SI3-I1 clarity range. Inclusions in these stones are usually noticeable without magnification.
The location of a diamond's inclusions significantly impacts the stone's clarity rating.
External and internal characteristics hidden near the side facets of a diamond detract from its beauty less than inclusions and blemishes located in the center of the diamond.