Diamond Clarity

In the 18th Century, the clarity of a diamond was often compared to the purity of water. Diamonds of a desirable clarity were described as ‘perfect water.’ Since then, the GIA has implemented a universal grading system to outline a diamonds freedom from imperfections and blemishes. Clarity is graded from the appearance of the diamond ‘face up’ with 10x magnification. The gradings are as follows:

F - Flawless
Freedom from inclusions and blemishes under 10x magnification.
IF - Internally Flawless
Freedom from inclusions, blemishes visible under 10x magnification.
VVS1 – Very Very Slightly Included
Minute inclusions that range from extremely difficult to very difficult to see are visible using 10x magnification.
VVS2
Minute inclusions that range from extremely difficult to very difficult to see are visible using 10x magnification.
VS1 – Very Slightly Included
Minor inclusions that range from difficult to somewhat easy to see are visible using 10x magnification.
VS2
Minor inclusions that range from difficult to somewhat easy to see are visible using 10x magnification.
SI1 – Slightly Included
Noticeable inclusions that range from easy to very easy to see are visible using 10x magnification.
SI2
Noticeable inclusions that range from easy to very easy to see are visible using 10x magnification
I1 – Included, or Piqué
Obvious inclusions are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.
I2
Obvious inclusions are visible using 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.
I3
Obvious inclusions are visible using 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.

Diamonds are graded for clarity for the absence of blemishes and inclusions. Blemishes are surface imperfections on the stone, such as polish marks, extra facets, or burns from the jewellers’ torch.

Inclusions are natural features that were caught in the diamond crystal whilst it was forming. Inclusions can vary from thin fractures (feathers) to pinpoint inclusions (clouds) or even small crystals growing within the diamond crystal. Some inclusions can only be seen under 10x magnification and to an experienced diamond grader. The nature and location of the inclusions is important, pinpoint inclusions around the crown and kite facets are preferable to crystals towards the pavilion that can be reflected throughout the stone.