Diamonds are formed deep within the earth, under extreme heat and pressure; they often contain unique marks, either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes).
Diamond clarity refers to the absence of these inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds without Blemishes and inclusions are rare, and rarity affects a diamond’s value, diamonds are assigned a clarity grade from flawless FL to diamonds with obvious inclusions I3.
The diamond is analyzed using a 10X magnification by a minimum of three gemmologists to determine its clarity grade based on the number, type, position and size of the clarity characteristics displayed on the stone. Each gemmologist examines the stone without knowledge of the previous gemmologist’s findings in order to attain the most accurate clarity grading.
The Clarity Scale contains 11 grades, with most diamonds falling into the VS (very slightly included) or SI (slightly included) categories. In determining a clarity grade, the system considers the size, nature, position, colour and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10× magnification.
- Flawless (FL) – No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
- Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification
- Included (I1, I2, and I3) – Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance