Explore the 4 C’s of Engagement Rings: Clarity

In the next installment of our 4 C’s series, Schwanke-Kasten will take a look at a diamond’s clarity.

The clarity of a diamond is determined by the presence of inclusions or birthmarks that are visible on a diamond, whether by the naked eye or through a microscope. The presence of inclusions in a diamond prevent light from passing through, which reduces its sparkle.

There is an 11-point scale created by the GIA that is used to grade diamonds in terms of their clarity. Size, color, number, and position of every flaw is taken into account when grading diamonds. A 10x microscope is used for the grading process.

The grades are as follows:

FL: Flawless – Diamond has no blemishes, inclusions, or birthmarks. Extremely rare. Less than 1 in 5,000 diamonds are rated as flawless
IF: Internal Flawless – Diamond contains no inclusions; blemishes only visible under 10x microscope. Between 2 and 3 percent of diamonds are rated internal flawless.
VVS1/VVS2: Very, Very Slightly Included – Inclusions very tough to detect, even under 10x magnification. Appearance to the naked eye is very similar to IF graded diamonds.
VS1/VS2: Very Slightly Included – Inclusions are clear under 10x magnification but can usually only be detected by the naked eye by trained professionals
SI1/SI2: Slightly Included – The lowest grade that is generally still invisible to the naked eye.

I1/I2/I3: Included – Inclusions almost always visible to the naked eye. They are obvious under 10x magnification and will usually affect the transparency and brilliance of the diamond