Diamond Clarity Scale

Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called blemishes or inclusions. 

Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value.

The GIA diamond clarity scale has 6 categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades.

  • Flawless (FL) - No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification. 
  • Internally Flawless (IF) - No inclusions visible under 10x magnification.
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 & VVS2) - Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 & VS2) - Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor. 
  • Slightly Included (SI1 & SI2) - Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification.
  • Included (I1, I2 & I3) - Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance. 

Many inclusions and blemishes are too tiny to be seen by anyone other than a trained diamond grader. To the naked eye, a VS1 and an SI2 diamond may look exactly the same, but these diamonds are quiet different in terms of overall quality. This is why expert and accurate assessment of diamond clarity is extremely important.  

Source of information: http://4cs.gia.edu/