Personally, Diamond Clarity is the hardest to decipher out of all the Diamond 4Cs. There are 2 main reasons. First, the grading does not follow an ordered list, for example, the alphabet order used for Diamond Colour Grades. At a glance, I know that a C colour is a better grade when compared to H Colour because of the alphabetic order. But the terms used for Diamond Clarity are, just to name a few, VVS1, VS2, I2, SI1, and etc. How do I know what these grades really mean?
Second, I cannot tell the difference between the different Diamond Clarity grades just by looking at the diamonds. Most of the time, the differences are more visible when viewed under magnification. Let us look at how the Diamond Clarity is graded by GIA.
The Diamond Clarity is graded based on the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Inclusions are small imperfections in the diamond while blemishes are on its surface. Small crystals growth trapped in a diamond during formation deep in the earth causes the inclusions. Although the grade of the diamond clarity affects the value of the diamond, most of the inclusions and blemishes are too tiny to be visible to the naked eye.
Diamond Clarity Scale
A diamond’s clarity is evaluated under 10x magnification and classified into 6 categories, with some categories further divided.
No inclusions and blemishes can be seen under 10x magnification
Internally Flawless (IF)
No inclusions can be seen under 10x magnification
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 & VVS2)
Minuscule inclusions that are extremely or very difficult to see under 10x magnification, even by a skilled grader
Very Slightly Included (VS1 & VS2)
Small inclusions that range from difficult to somewhat easy to see under 10x magnification, by a skilled grader
Slightly Included (S1 & S2)
Inclusions noticeable under 10x magnification and S2 may be visible to the naked eye
Included (I1, I2, & I3)
Inclusions obvious under 10x magnification and are usually visible to the naked eye
Choosing the Optimal Diamond Clarity Grade
Diamond Clarity is one of the least important aspects out of the Diamond 4Cs. The naked eye cannot see most inclusions and blemishes. In addition, it does not affect the visual effects of a diamond significantly. In order to maximize your budget, go for diamonds between grades VS1 to VVS1 as the inclusions are not visible without magnification.
We recommend reading about the Diamond Cut, Colour, and Carat Weight in our previous articles before making any purchases. We have also included buying tips and recommendations. Need more tips? Sure, we have compiled a comprehensive list of buying tips! Call or book an appointment to visit us at the Draco Diamonds workshop to know more about choosing the right diamond!