About Diamond Clarity
Diamond clarity is a quality of diamonds relating to the existence and visual
appearance of internal characteristics of a diamond called inclusions, and surface
defects called blemishes. The number, size, color, relative location, orientation,
and visibility of inclusions can all affect the relative clarity of a diamond. A
clarity grade is assigned based on the overall appearance of the stone under ten times
The two most common diamond grading scales are the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
and the American Gem Society (AGS). The grading scales for these two organizations are as follows:
Diamond Clarity Categories
The GIA diamond grading scale is divided into six categories and eleven grades. The clarity categories and grades are:
The 4 C's of Diamonds are Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight.
- Flawless (FL) diamonds have no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification.
- Internally Flawless (IF) diamonds have no inclusions visible under 10x magnification, only small blemishes on the diamond surface.
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS) diamonds have minute inclusions that are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification. The VVS category is divided into two grades; VVS1 denotes a higher clarity grade than VVS2. Pinpoints and needles set the grade at VVS.
- Very Slightly Included (VS) diamonds have minor inclusions that are difficult to somewhat easy for a trained grader to see when viewed under 10x magnification. The VS category is divided into two grades; VS1 denotes a higher clarity grade than VS2. Typically the inclusions in VS diamonds are invisible without magnification, however infrequently some VS2 inclusions may still be visible. An example would be on a large emerald cut diamond which has a small inclusion under the corner of the table.
- Slightly Included (SI) diamonds have noticeable inclusions that are easy to very easy for a trained grader to see when viewed under 10x magnification. The SI category is divided into two grades; SI1 denotes a higher clarity grade than SI2. These may or may not be noticeable to the naked eye.
- Included (I) diamonds have obvious inclusions that are clearly visible to a trained grader under 10x magnification. Included diamonds have inclusions that are usually visible without magnification or have inclusions that threaten the durability of the stone. The I category is divided into three grades; I1 denotes a higher clarity grade than I2, which in turn is higher than I3. Inclusions in I1 diamonds often are seen to the unaided eye. I2 inclusions are easily seen, while I3 diamonds have large and extremely easy to see inclusions that typically impact the brilliance of the diamond, as well as having inclusions that are often likely to threaten the structure of the diamond.