Diamond clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes.
Natural diamonds are formed from carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. During this process, a variety of clarity characteristics may occur in the diamond, called ‘inclusions’ or ‘blemishes’. Inclusions are enclosed within the gem and blemishes are on the surface of the diamond.
Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes to being flawless, the higher its value.
The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades:
Flawless (FL): No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
Internally Flawless (IF): No inclusions visible under 10x magnification, only very slight blemishes
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2): Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2): Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterised as minor
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2): Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
Included (I1, I2, and I3): Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance