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International Diamond Clarity Grade Chart

International Diamond Clarity Grade Chart

Diamonds come from deep within the earth in the mantle and are formed under extremely high pressure and temperature.

Along the birth process, imperfections are encapsulated inside the diamond and very, very few diamonds are formed totally flawless.

The International Diamond Clarity Grade Chart has several categories which are rated according to the presence or – in the case with Flawless diamond – the absence of these tiny inclusions or objects encapsulated both inside and sometimes also extending to outside the diamond. 

These tiny inclusions or objects are sometimes referred to as “Flaws”.

 

The Clarity Grade categories are:

  • Flawless
  • Internally Flawless 
  • Very Very Small
  • Very Small
  • Small
  • Included
 
The flaws which extend to outside the diamond are known as blemishes.
These inclusions or blemishes can be tiny little particles which were caught insight the diamond as it was being formed deep in the earth and millions of years ago!
 

Each diamond is unique and these individual characteristics give each diamond a separate identity. 

You can think of it as the diamond’s fingerprint  – each is unique. 
 

 

Diamonds graded under 10X magnification

 

The location, nature and size of inclusions in diamonds  directly affects the Clarity Grading of the diamond.  

These inclusions can sometimes extend to outside the diamond and be present as blemishes on its surface.

These inclusions are mapped out by Diamond grading laboratories using 10x magnification. 

This is done using special microscopes under very precise lighting conditions to ensure consistency.

Take a look at the images below:

 

 
 
Diamond Clarity Grading
International Diamond Clarity Grade Chart
 

You will note that the number and/or size of the inclusions increase as one moves from left to right.

They start out very, very small (which is where the grading VVS originated) and end up becoming larger and more easily visible.
 

Take a look at the table below.

You will see the category grading’s are listed in descending quality on the left.

So, the higher up the table the better the diamond’s clarity.

The second column of the table shows the mapping of the inclusions per diamond under 10x magnification.

Note that these mappings are different for every single diamond – as nature is random after. 

After all, wouldn’t it be boring if we all looked the same!

The third column shows the same clarity diamond but with no magnification – this is what you would see with the naked eye.

All the diamond clarity classifications without visible inclusions are highlighted in GREEN.

As you will see, only diamonds below SI have inclusions which are visible to the naked eye. 

These have been highlighted in RED and comprise the I1, I2, and I3 clarity grades.

Grade Classification

Visual of Diamond 

(Under 10X magnification)

What you will see

(With the naked eye)

FL – Flawless

Only about 2% of diamonds fall into this category.

Flawless and Internally Flawless diamonds

Under 10X magnification

Flawless and Internally Flawless diamonds

With the naked eye

 IF  – Internally Flawless 

Tiny surface blemishes that are only visible under 10x magnification.

Diamond clarity Flawless and Internally FlawlessI1 under 10x magnification

Under 10X magnification

Diamond clarity Flawless and Internally FlawlessI1 under 10x magnification

With the naked eye

VVS1 VVS2 – Very, Very Slightly Included. 

VVS diamonds have minor inclusions that cannot be seen without 10x magnification.

Diamond clarity VVS

Under 10X magnification 

Diamond clarity Flawless and Internally FlawlessI1 under 10x magnification

With the naked eye

VS1 VS2  – Very Slightly Included.

VS diamonds have minor inclusions that cannot be seen without 10x magnification.

Diamond clarity VS2 under 10x magnification

Under 10X magnification

Diamond clarity Flawless and Internally FlawlessI1 under 10x magnification

With the naked eye

SI1 SI2 – Slightly Included.

Si diamonds have minor inclusions that cannot be seen without 10x magnification.

Diamond clarity SI1 under 10x magnification

Under 10X magnification

Diamond clarity Flawless and Internally FlawlessI1 under 10x magnification

With the naked eye

I1 – Included (1). 

Included (1) diamonds have visible inclusions which can be seen by the naked eye without any magnification.

Diamond clarity I2 under 10x magnification

Under 10X magnification

Diamond clarity I2 under 10x magnification

With the naked eye

I2 – Included (2). 

Included (2) diamonds have multiple a or a single large visible inclusions which can be seen by the naked eye without any magnification.

Diamond clarity I1 under 10x magnification

Under 10X magnification

Diamond clarity I1 under 10x magnification

With the naked eye

I3 – Included (3). 

Included (3) diamonds have multiple visible inclusions which can be seen by the naked eye without any magnification.

Diamond clarity I1 under 10x magnification
Under 10X magnification 
Diamond clarity I1 under 10x magnification

With the naked eye

So – what does all this mean to you?

FLAWLESS DIAMONDS

Well – simply put, totally flawless diamonds, without any inclusions or blemishes, at all are by far the most rare.

They are therefore also the most expensive.

You can view Flawless diamonds like these here (be prepared for the shock)!

It follows that as the number of flaws within a diamond increases so the cost starts to decrease.

CLARITY GRADING CLASSIFICATIONS

You may view diamonds here in the different Clarity Grading classifications:

IF – Internally Flawless

VVS – Very Very Slight Inclusions

VS – Very Slight Inclusions

SI- Slight Inclusions

I – Included

EYE CLEAN STONES

All diamonds which are eye clean are great jewellery quality gems as few people wander around with 10x magnification in their pocket (and not many would have the gumption to ask you to remove your ring so they can examine it with a jewellers loupe or similar magnification tool)!

Any diamonds which have inclusions (which cannot be seen without magnification) are considered to be pleasing on the eye and will still sparkle beautifully if well cut.

If you do want to purchase a diamond that is eye clean, select a diamond in the IF (Internally Flawless) to SI (Slight Inclusions) Clarity range.

INCLUDED STONES

Diamonds which have a grading of I1 to I3 have visible inclusions which can be seen with the naked eye.

Often these show as black spots in the diamond – almost like specks of dirt on an otherwise clean car windscreen. 🙁

Included diamonds are the lowest clarity quality but often are selected where the size is an issue and a larger diamond is wanted.

TIPS WHEN SELECTING THE CLARITY

I have often been asked to show 1ct diamonds (as that often seems to be a reference point for many folk) and that is often the initial criteria – the Carat.

It does however not end with the diamond Carat weight alone.

Recently a customer came into our Studio wanting the largest  diamond his budget could accommodate. 

He was insistent that his intended fiancee was only interested in the diamond size.

After viewing lots of diamonds, he finally selected a smaller stone with a better clarity.

This is often the case with diamond clarity and value, less is always more!

This was a very wise choice as she said “Yes!”.

When I finally met the lady in question,  she told me that she had only once ever said she did not like tiny diamonds.

DIAMOND GRADING CRITERIA

According to the GIA there are 16 different types of inclusions, and
(believe it or not) 11 types of blemishes which are found in diamonds.
 
TREATED DIAMONDS
There are unfortunately some charlatans in the diamond market and sales of treated diamonds do occur from time to time. 

 

So, take care to  select your diamond from someone you can trust – preferably with many, many year’s experience.

IF YOU NEED HELP

 

As always, if you have any questions or need any additional info – 

click here to contact me or click here to schedule an appointment.

 

COMING UP NEXT!

We will discuss the Diamond Colour in our next episode and how it interacts with the Diamond Clarity.

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