Clarity of a diamond refers to the internal characteristics within the diamond itself.

When a diamond is formed, natural characteristics may form within the diamond that give it its own unique impression. These internal impressions are called inclusions. If a characteristic is found on the outside of a diamond’s surface, it is known as a blemish.  Inclusions can be tiny cracks within a diamond or other various foreign material that cause cloudy white or black spots.

When grading clarity of a diamond, most grading laboratories will assess the visibility of the inclusions while considering the inclusion’s orientation, size, color and location. All clarity grading is complete with the diamond in the face-up position under 10x magnification.

 

Diamond Clarity Scale

A Flawless diamond will have no internal inclusions or external blemishes under 10x magnification. They are extremely rare and valuable.

Extremely rare, less than 1 in 5000 jewelry quality diamonds are rated FL.

Internally Flawless diamonds will have no internal inclusions, only the tiniest of blemishes under 10x magnification. Diamonds graded IF or better account for 3% of jewelry quality diamonds world-wide.

Very Very Slight Inclusion diamonds will have two degrees of grading labeled ‘VVS1’ or ‘VVS2’ depending on the degree of the inclusion. A diamond in this category will have the smallest inclusions visible under 10x magnification. The degree of the grading will be dependent on where the inclusions are within the diamond.

Very Slight Inclusion diamonds have two degrees of grading defined as ‘VS1’ or ‘VS2’. These diamonds will be visible under 10x magnification but are not visible to the naked eye. The degree of the grading is dependent on where the inclusions are within the stone.

Slight Inclusion diamonds will have two degrees of grading labeled ‘SI1’ or ‘SI2’. These diamonds will have inclusions visible to the naked eye and quite noticeable under 10x magnification. 

Included diamonds have three degrees of rating defined as ‘I1’, ‘I2’ or ‘I3’. These diamonds will have inclusions clearly visible to the naked eye and under 10x magnification. Included diamonds may have characteristics that may affect a diamond’s durability.

Grading the clarity

Clarity of a diamond is graded on a scale of Flawless, Internally Flawless, Very Very Slightly Included, Very Slightly Included, Slighted Included, and Included. Within these individual rankings, a gemological laboratory will also assign a certain degree to that grading (i.e. Very Slight Included-1 or abbreviated as VS-1).