Clarity refers to the presence (or absence) of impurities, blemishes or other identifying characteristics within a diamond. Clarity characteristics are what make every diamond completely unique. There are no two diamonds that will have exactly the same inclusions in the same location. There are five factors that determine how a major laboratory like GIA will assign a clarity grade to a specific diamond.
- Size: How large or small is an inclusion within a diamond?
- Number: How many inclusions are found within a diamond?
- Position: What is the location of the diamond’s inclusions? Inclusions located under the table or “heart” of the diamond affect clarity grade more so than inclusions located under the side facets.
- Nature: Do the inclusions affect the durability of a diamond? Large feathers can be hazardous depending on their exact size and position within the diamond.
- Relief: How visible is the inclusion? Dark inclusions are easier to locate than a white or clear inclusion and may be graded more harshly.
GIA Clarity Grades
GIA has provided us with a universally understood method of describing clarity grades for diamond. There are five main clarity grades that can be found on your GIA.
GIA Clarity Grades:
- FL Diamonds: No visible blemishes or inclusions are detected by a trained gemologist using 10X magnification.
- IF Diamonds: No visible inclusions are detected by a trained gemologist using 10X magnification, but may contain very minor blemishes.
- VVS1/VVS2: Very Very Slightly Included. Contain minute inclusions that are extremely difficult for an experienced grader to locate under 10 x magnifications. VVS diamonds are very rare and beautiful.
- VS1/VS2: Very Slightly Included. Contain minor inclusions that range from difficult to somewhat easy to see under 10 x magnifications. Typical VS inclusions are small crystals, feathers or distinct clouds. In some rare cases, a VS stone can contain an eye visible inclusion. Excellent quality diamonds.
- SI1/SI2: Slightly Included. Inclusions are easily visible under 10 x magnifications to an experienced gemologist and may be visible with the unaided eye. A great value, but shop for completely “eye-clean” stones.
- I1/I2/I3: Included. Diamonds with significant inclusions. The inclusions in I1 diamonds are usually quite visible to the unaided eye. In I2,I3, they are extremely easy to see and might affect the stone’s durability.
Which Clarity Grade to Choose?
It is important to select a diamond that does not have any inclusions that will affect the overall beauty and durability of the diamond. If you want to be 100% sure that your diamond will be completely clean of “eye-visible” inclusions, stick with diamonds graded “VS2″ or higher. Shopping for SI quality diamonds can be very rewarding, but it’s best to have those diamonds reviewed by our expert staff before finalizing your order. This will ensure you receive a diamond that does not have any inclusions visible to the naked eye. It is also a good idea to balance the clarity grade of your diamond with the color. If you are looking at diamonds in the D-G color range, focus on clarity grades of VS2 or higher. Diamonds in the G-I color range combined with SI clarity are excellent values.