Diamond clarity is all about transparency. A diamond’s clarity grade is evaluated by analyzing inclusions and blemishes, or lack thereof. The less inclusions and blemishes, the better the grade and higher the value.
Knowing how to buy a diamond with clarity that meets your preference means understanding what inclusions and blemishes are.
For instance, inclusions are simply part of a diamond’s creation deep within the earth. And blemishes are the result of polishing or wear on a diamond. Inclusions are internal while blemishes are found on a diamond’s surface.
“Diamond graders use their expertise to analyze the size, nature, number, location, and relief of the inclusions and blemishes to decide what clarity grade is most appropriate for your diamond,” details the AGS.
Clarity is graded using the following aspects:
- Inclusion Size
- Inclusion Nature
- Amount of Inclusions
- Inclusion Location
Inclusions and blemishes are often too small to identify with the naked eye. Jewelry professionals grade clarity using 10x magnification. This is the industry standard and important to recognize when learning how to buy a diamond.
Once graders have plotted the inclusions and blemishes, they use a clarity grade scale to identify the highest clarity from the lowest.
Diamonds are graded using this clarity scale:
- FL – Flawless:
- No internal or surface blemishes exist. This is the most valuable grade.
- IF - Internally Flawless:
- No internal imperfections. This is a very rare diamond.
- VVS1 or VVS2 – Very, Very Slightly Included:
- Imperfections are very difficult to identify using 10x magnification. This is an excellent, rare diamond.
- VS1 or VS2 - Very Slightly Included:
- Imperfections are difficult to see with 10x magnification. This is a very good clarity grade.
- SI1 or SI2 - Slightly Included:
- Imperfections can be seen under magnification, but are considered eye-clean. This is a good grade.
- I1 to I3 – Included:
- Inclusions are noticeable without magnification. These diamonds are considered fair.