What is Diamond Clarity?
Diamond clarity refers to the state of a diamond being clear without inclusions, blemishes and surface defects. Clarity is one of the four Cs of the diamond grading scale, the other three being cut, carat and color. Analyzing the level of clarity is a process that evaluates the number, nature, position and size of internal and external characteristics and how these affect the overall appearance of the stone.
The Modern Clarity Scale was invented in the 1950s as a universal standard to address different ranges of diamond clarity. The scale features six categories with 11 specific grades. These include:
- Flawless (FL) - Very rare. Has no inclusions visible at up 10x magnification.
- Internally Flawless (IF) - Has no inclusions visible at under 10x magnification. Features very little blemishes.
- Very, Very Slightly (VV₁ and VV₂) - Has very tiny inclusions at 10x magnification.
- Very Slightly (V₁ and V₂) - Has minor but noticeable inclusions at 10x magnifications.
- Slightly Included (SI₁ and SI₂) - Has readily visible inclusions when magnified or viewed by the naked eye. Inclusions are often hidden when the stone is set.
- Included (I₁, I₂, I₃) - Has visible inclusions without magnification and are very apparent when magnified. These diamonds are typically less expensive, allowing for an increased carat size at an affordable price.
- Stones with the least inclusions receive the highest grade of clarity.
- Diamond clarity is an important attribute when appraising a diamond's value.