Diamond Clarity

The formation of a diamond is not a gentle process. Most diamonds are born in extreme circumstances from primeval carbon deep in the earth’s mantle at about 500,000 to 2 million feet below the surface. They are then shot up to the surface at supersonic speeds by eruptions inside the earth. These volcanoes are very small compared to ones like Mt. St. Helens or Stromboli off the coast of Sicily, but the magma originates much deeper, which is what enables the diamonds to be extracted and carried up through the earth. The extreme heat and pressure that diamonds undergo during their ascent can cause unique “birthmarks” that affect their clarity. These are referred to as inclusions when they are internal or blemishes when they appear on the diamond’s surface.

The independent grading report that comes with every diamond we sell shows a diagram indicating the characteristics of your diamond, including any inclusions or blemishes your diamond may have and where they appear. The most important thing to remember when it comes to clarity is that a diamond’s inclusions and blemishes should not be noticeable to the naked eye, nor should they be so excessive that they affect the diamond’s durability.

We grade a diamond’s clarity according to the GIA International Diamond Grading System. The GIA Clarity Scale has a range of 11 grades that run from flawless (FL) to obvious inclusions (I3). A diamond that is higher up on the Clarity Scale will be more brilliant – and with all other characteristics being equal, more valuable – because it doesn’t have inclusions and/or blemishes that impede its ability to refract and reflect light.

Clarity Grading Scale

Clarity Scale

GRADE
DESCRIPTION
F
Flawless. The diamond shows no inclusions or blemishes of any sort under 10X magnification when observed by an experienced grader. Note: Truly flawless or internally flawless (F or IF on the GIA’s grading scale) diamonds are extremely rare.
IF
Internally Flawless. The diamond has no inclusions when examined by an experienced grader using 10X magnification, but will have some minor blemishes.
VVS1,
VVS2
Very, Very slightly included. The diamond contains minute inclusions that are difficult even for experienced graders to see under 10X magnification.
VS1,
VS2
Very slightly included. The diamond contains minute inclusions such as small crystals, clouds or feathers when observed with effort under 10X magnification.
SI1,
SI2
Slightly included. Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may or may not be visible to the naked eye. However, when set in jewelry, the inclusions may become less visible.
I1,
I2,
I3
Included. Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and are usually visible to the naked eye. This quality allows for a larger diamond to be purchased at a lower price.