Importance of Diamond Clarity
Diamonds are formed deep within the earth as a result of intense heat and pressure. As a result of this natural process, most diamonds possess slight imperfections on their surface (blemishes) or inside the diamond (inclusions). These characteristics can be seen as the diamond’s fingerprint or birthmark because they make each diamond unique from the next. Diamonds without inclusions or blemishes are rare, and most characteristics can only be viewed under magnification.
Grading the Clarity of a Diamond
The clarity of a diamond refers to the extent that the inclusions and blemishes affect the appearance of a diamond. These flaws can impact the path of light that is reflected through the diamond and hinder its beauty. The GIA and AGS created grading scales to grade diamond clarity whereby the inclusions and blemishes are evaluated under 10x magnification. Numerous factors are taken into account—including the position, size and number of characteristics—as well as how they affect the overall appearance.
The Diamond Clarity Scale is segmented into six categories:
A diamond that is graded as Flawless contains no inclusions or blemishes apparent to the grader under magnification.
Internally Flawless (IF)
These diamonds do not contain any inclusions but may contain a very small blemish under magnification.
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2)
These diamonds may contain inclusions so minute that they are barely visible, even to the trained grader under magnification.
Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2)
These diamonds contain minor inclusions not visible to the naked eye, but are apparent under magnification.
Slightly Included (SI1, SI2)
These diamonds contain inclusions that are visible under magnification, and can occasionally be visible to the naked eye under close inspection.
Included (I1, I2, I3)
These diamonds contain noticeable inclusions that are almost always visible to the naked eye.