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Diamond Knowledge

What is Diamond Clarity?

Diamond clarity refers to the purity and rarity of the stone. When forming, internal characteristics called inclusions may be trapped within the diamond or on its surface. These internal and surface characteristics are inspected by gemologists using 10x magnification to grade the clarity of each diamond. 

As every diamond was formed by withstanding enormous pressure and heat, natural inclusions and blemishes are unavoidable. The fewer the inclusions, the rarer it is.

What Causes Inclusions?

During a diamond’s formation, solids, liquids, or gases are trapped within or on the surface of the diamond. The size, position and visibility of inclusions will then affect the clarity grade. Inclusions start to be noticeable under 10x magnification and may affect the diamond’s transparency and brilliance.

  • I1, I2, I3
  • SI1 and SI2
  • VS1 and VS2
  • VVS1 and VVS2
  • IF and FL
I1, I2, I3

Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.

SI1 and SI2

Slightly included – SI¹ and SI². Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification and may be visible with unaided eye.

VS1 and VS2

Very slightly included – VS¹ and VS². Difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification. Typically cannot see inclusions with the naked eye.

VVS1 and VVS2

Very very slightly included – VVS¹ and VVS². Very difficult to see under 10x magnification. Difficult even for a skilled grader to view under magnification.

IF and FL
Diamond Clarity Chart

Under 10x magnification, gemologists identify and classify a diamond’s clarity by size, type and position. Inclusions are mapped onto a “diamond plot” which are unique for every diamond. Gemological labs, such as De Beers, GIA, and IGI, grade diamonds on a scale from “Included (I3)” to “Flawless (FL)”.

How Obvious are Inclusions?

Clarity is the least visible factor of the 4Cs. Most inclusions and blemishes can only be seen by a diamond expert with 10x magnification. 

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