Diamonds Defined: Clarity
Diamonds Defined is an ongoing educational series providing you with all the knowledge needed to help with your diamond purchase. We offer the finest selection of sustainably created diamonds direct from our own foundry.
The “C” most obscured to the naked eye, clarity, refers to the visual purity of a diamond. Determined by the number of inclusions or imperfections in the stone, clarity is difficult to notice without the help of a magnifier. These inclusions occur naturally during the diamond growth process and are what make each diamond unique.
The Importance of Clarity
While imperfections are often invisible to the untrained eye, clarity is still important to the overall sparkle of a diamond. Internal spots and lines can affect how light passes through the stone. Inclusions can obstruct the refraction and return of light and can impact how cloudy a diamond appears. All our sustainably created diamonds are high clarity graded VS2 and above with no eye-visible inclusions to deliver maximum brilliance.
Diamond Clarity Chart
Five factors are considered when assigning a diamond’s clarity grade. The size and number of imperfections, their position within the diamond, how they impact its durability, and the noticeable contrast between the imperfections and the diamond itself. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare and rank highest in clarity grade. For a diamond to be deemed Flawless, no inclusions or blemishes must be visible under 10-power magnification.
FL: FL diamonds are Flawless with no internal or external imperfections visible under magnification
IF: IF diamonds are Internally Flawless but may have small surface blemishes visible under magnification
VVS1 VVS2: VVS diamonds are Very, Very Slightly Included with tiny inclusions that are difficult to see even under magnification
VS1 VS2: VS diamonds are Very Slightly Included with minor inclusions that range from difficult (VS1) to easier (VS2) to see under magnification
SI1 SI2: SI diamonds are Slightly Included with inclusions visibly noticeable under magnification
I1 I2 I3: I diamonds are Imperfect with obvious inclusions visibly noticeable to the naked eye
Clarity Terminology to Know
- Inclusion: The imperfections inside of a diamond
- Cavity: An angular opening on the surface of the diamond created by feathering
- Cleavage: A straight crack that can extend to the surfaceCloud: A group of tiny crystals found inside the diamond
- Crystal: Tiny matter found inside the diamond that can extend to the surface
- Feather: A fracture found inside the diamond extending to the surface
- Internal graining: A white or colored line found inside the diamond
- Knot: A transparent crystal that extends to the surface
- Blemish: The imperfections on the surface of a diamond
- Chip: A piece of diamond broken at the surface
- Nick: A minor surface indentation along perimeter of the surface
- Pit: A small hole on the surface
- Polish line: A small groove left on facets after polishing
- Scratch: A fine line on the surface
Selecting Diamond Clarity
The higher the clarity grade, the more you can expect to pay for a diamond. Given this “C’s” less visible nature, there is some opportunity to save when selecting clarity. The best value is found in diamonds with inclusions that can’t be seen under magnification—those at the VS level. As with any “C,” exploring different combinations of carat, size and shape can also afford you added flexibility in diamond clarity and price.
Diamond Clarity & Size
Certain diamond sizes are more susceptible to visible inclusions. The larger surface area of higher carat weight diamonds can make inclusions more visible. We suggest increasing clarity grade as you size up in carat weight to maximize brilliance and sparkle.
Diamond Clarity & Shape
Some diamond shapes mask inclusions better than others. The brilliant facets of round, cushion, oval, marquise, pear and trillion shapes may tolerate lower clarity grades as they reflect light from a number of angles. The large, rectangular facets of emerald cuts benefit from a higher clarity grade, as they emphasize transparency and allow you to see deeper into the diamond.