Diamond Clarity Grading
Clarity measures the relative visibility of external blemishes or internal imperfections (inclusions) naturally occurring within a diamond as evaluated by a qualified gemologist. The clarity depends on how clear or clean the diamond is and, of course, the fewer the imperfections, the rarer and more valuable it is. A 10 power magnification microscope or loupe is used to observe the diamonds. The clarity scale (created by GIA) is divided into six primary categories:
Diamond Clarity Scale (GIA)
Flawless (F or FL)
A diamond with no visible flaws at 10x magnification is the most rare and valuable type of diamond and is classified as “flawless.”
Internally flawless (IF)
Diamonds with a grading of IF contain insignificant surface blemishes and no internal flaws at 10x magnification.
Very, very slightly included (VVS-1 & VVS-2)
With a grading of VVS-1 or VVS-2, the diamond’s clarity can range from extremely difficult to very difficult-to-find surface blemishes or minute inclusions at 10x magnification. However, these imperfections can be seen after viewing at 20x magnification.
Very slightly included (VS-1 & VS-2)
When a diamond has a grade of VS-1 or VS-2, this means it has difficult to somewhat easy-to-find surface blemishes or minor inclusions at 10x magnification.
Slightly included (SI-1 & SI-2)
This grading denotes that the diamond exhibits easy to very easy-to-find surface blemishes or readily noticeable inclusions at 10x magnification, but will usually appear to be "eye clean" without magnification. This being said, some stones will show slight inclusions when viewed from the side against a white background (Note: GIA does not recognize an SI-3 clarity grade).
Imperfect (I-1, I-2, I-3)
These types of diamonds show surface blemishes or obvious inclusions that are somewhat difficult, easy, or very easy-to-find with the naked eye, especially after being located with 10x magnification. I-2 inclusions effect either the diamond's aesthetic appearance (beauty) or durability (potential for cracking).