Clarity is a term used to describe how many natural inclusions, or flaws, there are within a diamond. Most diamonds have natural marks within the stone which have formed deep underground, though some exceptionally rare diamonds are without flaws, and are considered flawless.
Diamond clarity is graded through a 10x loupe, an eyepiece jewellers use to examine a diamond under magnification, which allows the jeweller to see the diamond 10 times larger than it would to the naked eye. On request, we are happy to show you how to use a loupe effectively and to identify markings when examining stones. Just ask one of our team for help
IF/FL diamonds are extremely rare. Both grades denote that the diamond is free from any markings within the stone, however internally flawless diamonds may have minor surface graining present and are thus not considered ‘externally flawless’. Sometimes, these diamonds may be called LC, or loupe clean (this is the case with the HRD certification).
Very very slightly included one
Diamonds which achieve a clarity of VVS1 will usually have a single microscopic inclusion within the stone. Even under 10x magnification, this inclusion would be extremely difficult to find, even to the most skilled of diamond graders. These diamonds are extremely rare, and are often just as sought after as the IF/FL grade. However, VVS clarity diamonds are significantly cheaper than their flawless counterparts.
Very very slightly included two
VVS2 graded diamonds usually have two microscopic inclusions within the stone and, like VVS1, these marks are extremely difficult to detect. These diamonds are extremely rare but come with a reduced cost compared to VVS1 clarity diamonds.
Very slightly included two
The inclusions found in VS2 stones are slightly larger and easier to find under magnification than VS1, but are considered ‘good’ markings. Instead of being black marks of carbon, the inclusions will usually be transparent feathers or small white clouds. These marks are very hard to detect to an untrained eye as it is very easy to ‘see past them’ under magnification.
Slightly included one
Diamonds of SI1 clarity will either possess one or two larger inclusions or multiple smaller ones. Depending on if the inclusion(s) are minor in nature, the stone can often be eye clean. A ‘top SI1 stone’ will have inclusion(s) located in discreet places of the stone, such as corners and edges. SI1 stones offer the best trade-off for value and appearance.
Very slightly included one
Diamonds that are considered VS1, still have no inclusions visible to the naked eye, but are still very clean under magnification. These diamonds offer great value for money, as they are very cost effective compared to the VVS1/2 clarity.
Slightly included two
The last of the eye-clean stones. SI2 clarity diamonds normally have more than one inclusion within their structure, varying from minor white marks to heavier black carbon inclusions. Markings in SI2 stones can still only be found under magnification, but are occasionally in more obvious areas of the stone, such as in the table or near other large facets of the diamond and may be noticeable to the unaided eye. Diamonds of SI2 clarity offer good cost-saving potential and are a popular choice.
If you are unsure about a SI1/2 diamond, we would recommend that you speak to one of our diamond consultants so they can give you detailed information regarding the nature of the inclusions within any particular diamond.
SI3 / P1
Slightly included three / piqued one
Depending on the grading laboratory, this grade is either referred to as S13 or P1/I1. At this grade, the inclusions become visible to the naked eye, and can be found without the use of magnification. Stones of this grade can still be exceptionally white, bright diamonds, but at a massively discounted price. We recommend this grade to clients who would appreciate a much larger, brighter stone for a lower cost.