The clarity of a diamond refers to the purity, or cleanliness of the gem. This is determined by the number of
inclusions a diamond might have by a professional gemologist who will inspect the diamond with a 10x magnification loupe
to make their assessment. The fewer inclusions, the better its clarity grade will be.
In this guide, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about the different clarity grades and what you
should be looking for.
How are Clarity Grades Determined?
A diamond’s clarity grade will be determined by its absence of flaws and blemishes.
Typically, a qualified gemologist will use a 10x magnification loupe, although sometimes a higher power may be used
if the inclusions are extremely difficult to see and determine the number, size, relief and position of any inclusions
within the diamond. Once fully examined, the diamond will then be given a clarity grade on the chart mentioned above.
Since natural diamonds are formed in the earth’s mantle layer, using extreme pressure and heat up to approximately
1204 degrees Celsius, a diamond is rarely extracted in perfect condition. More often than not, they will feature
varying amounts of inclusions and blemishes after being in the earth for billions of years.
The less amount of inclusions there are, the more valuable the diamonds become, hence the need for a clarity chart
to determine the correct grade.
Choosing the Perfect Clarity Grade
Choosing the perfect clarity grade will depend on several factors. Firstly, how much you want to spend should be taken
into consideration before deciding what clarity you want. If you have a lower budget, then a flawless diamond won’t be
possible, but a VS2, for example, which are still clean to the naked eye, will be a more suitable option.
The shape and style of the ring can also make a difference when it comes to choosing clarity. For example, with a Round,
Princess or Oval shape you’ll be able to get away with a lower clarity grade as these shapes can hide inclusions better.
If you’re looking to get either an Emerald or Asscher-shaped diamond, since these tend to have a large surface face,
a higher clarity grade will be needed.
Here are the details for each grade and what you can expect from them:
A flawless or internally flawless diamond will have no inclusions or blemishes visible even under a 10x magnification. If you’re able to see a tiny speck on flawless diamonds, you can be confident that it’s only dust and not an actual flaw.
(Very Very Slightly Included 1st Degree)
If a small speck on a flawless diamond turned out to be a tiny inclusion, then it would be classed as a VVS1. At This grade, inclusions are extremely difficult for a skilled gemologist to see with a strong magnification but are still there. To the naked eye, you won’t be able to see anything at all, and it’ll be a beautiful sparkling diamond.
(Very Very Slightly Included 2nd Degree)
A VVS2 grading typically features the same tiny pinpoint inclusion as a VVS1 but, instead of just one, there may be a few of them in separate spots. Collectively, these inclusions will equal a VVS2 grade where still only a powerful magnifying tool will be able to identify.
(Very Slightly Included 1st Degree)
A VS1 graded diamond will have minor inclusions that will be fairly easy for a professional grader to see under a 10x magnification. These inclusions are still very small and shouldn’t be visible to the naked eye.
(Very Slightly Included 2nd Degree)
Similar to VVS2, a VS2 clarity graded diamond will have several small inclusions that are easy to pick up by a trained gemologist. At this grade, the inclusions may also start to become visible to the naked eye depending on the cut of the stone and if the inclusions are black and more in the centre.
(Slightly Included 1st Degree)
Diamonds that have been given an SI1 grade will have inclusions that are easily noticeable under magnification. There will often be several inclusions and blemishes grouped together in different spots.
(Slightly Included 2nd Degree)
An SI2 clarity diamond inclusion will be visible to the naked eye with cuts such as an Emerald or Asscher. For other cuts, such as a Brilliant Round, it may be less obvious but still visible in certain angles or light. SI2 clarity diamonds tend to have many small inclusions in different points of the diamond.
(Included 1st Degree)
Diamonds with an I1 clarity grading have inclusions that are obviously visible both under magnification and to the naked eye. These inclusions will be larger than inclusions of other grades and spread more widely. You’ll also likely find that diamonds of an I1 clarity won’t be produced into Emerald or Asscher cut diamonds as the inclusions will drastically affect the transparency and brilliance of the stone.