Clarity

Clarity is the extent to which a diamond is devoid of inclusions.  A diamond is said to be flawless if no inclusion or blemish is visible under 10x magnification.  Inclusions are the equivalent of a diamond’s fingerprints.  Fewer inclusions enhance the passage of light through a stone and make a diamond rarer.  The internationally recognized gemological clarity grading scale is set forth below:

 

CLARITY GRADING SCALES

FL
FLAWLESS 
describes diamonds in which a gemologist under favorable lighting conditions, cannot see any inclusions at ten power magnification
IF
INTERNALLY FLAWLESS 
describes diamonds which have no internal characteristics observable under the the same conditions as (FL), but which have minor surface blemishes that do not penetrate the stone.
VVS1
VERY, VERY SLIGHTLY INCLUDED 
describes diamonds that have very, very small inclusions which are difficult for a gemologist to see at 10x magnification.
VVS2
VS1
VERY SLIGHTLY INCLUDED 
describes stones with very small inclusions which can be difficult to observe with 10x magnification. Inclusions are barely visible to the unaided eye, except on some larger stones or large Emerald Cuts.
VS2
SI1
SLIGHTLY INCLUDED 
describes stones with small inclusions which are usually obvious when viewed with 10x magnification. Inclusions are difficult to see with the unaided eye, except on larger stones or occasionally with Emerald Cuts.
SI2
SI3
I1
IMPERFECT or PIQUE 
describes stones with medium to large inclusions (Piques) which are usually obvious to a gemologist with the unaided eye.  An I1 may have inclusions barely visible or located to the side while an I2 will have numerous inclusions that may be centerally located.
 

 

Clarity of SI-1 or greater appears flawless to the naked eye (VS-2 for emerald, princess and radiant shapes).  The presence of inclusions that are visible to the naked eye result in a clarity grade of SI-2 or SI-1.  Accurate clarity grading can only occur with a loose unmounted diamond, as it is relatively easy to set an I-1 stone to disguise inclusions to make the diamond appear to be a better clarity grade