If you think about a diamond's journey that begins deep below the surface of the earth, it is no wonder that every diamond develops certain types of unique clarity characteristics. These clarity characteristics are classified as inclusions – microscopic features such as scratches, air bubbles, blemishes, or other tiny minerals included within the diamond or on its surface. While most inclusions occur as a diamond forms in nature, on rare instances it is due to the mishandling in the cutting process.
The clarity grade refers to a stone's relative absence of clarity characteristics on a flawless-to-imperfect scale. The size, number, and position of a diamond's clarity characteristics determine the clarity grade. Keep in mind, that very few diamonds are flawless, that is, show no inclusions or blemishes when examined by a skilled grader under 10X magnification. If other factors are equal, flawless stones are most valuable.
FL: Flawless – no blemishes or inclusions when examined by a skilled grader under 10X magnification, which is extremely rare.
IF: Internally Flawless – no inclusions when examined by a skilled grader, and only insignificant blemishes under 10X magnification, also a very rare diamond.
VVS1-VVS2: Very, Very Slightly Included – contain minute inclusions that are difficult for even a skilled grader to locate under 10X, which is a high-quality and rare diamond clarity grade.
VS1-VS2: Very Slightly Included – contain minor inclusions invisible to the unaided eye and difficult to see under 10X magnification. This diamonds are more affordable then VVS1 or VVS2 grades and offer good value.
SI1-SI2: Slightly Included – Minute inclusions can be seen under 10x magnification and in some cases, in SI2, inclusions may be visible to the unaided eye. These diamonds offer great value.
I1 - I2 - I3: Included – contain inclusions, which are noticeable under 10X, and can also be seen with the unaided eye. DreamStone does not carry these diamonds to ensure the highest quality of diamonds and fine jewelry for our customers.
While the presence of inclusions does lower the clarity grade, and therefore the value of a diamond, the unique clarity characteristics can also be perceived as the stone’s fingerprint. Since no two diamonds share the same exact characteristics, it makes the diamond you choose, truly yours. GIA grading reports include a diagram of each diamond’s inclusion and their relative size and position. Comparing the unique characteristics of your diamond to the GIA diagram assures you that you get what you pay for.
Which Clarity grade is right for me?
Since a diamond's ability to refract and reflect light truly determines its brilliance, a diamond does not have to be completely flawless to be attractive and exhibit brilliance. As long as the diamond you select does not have a characteristic that will impede on the light's passage within the diamond, it will not have a substantial effect on its beauty.
For those who want an excellent value, choose a diamond with a clarity grade of VS – no visible inclusions to the unaided eye.
For a more affordable diamond, select a diamond with an SI grade – many of which are “eye-clean.” You can always call us to speak with an expert diamond consultant whom will examine the diamond you are considering to ensure that there are no visible inclusions to the naked eye.
Finally, if you are working with in a budget, but do not want to compromise on clarity at all, go for diamond with an IF – F – VVS clarity grade, good cut, and a near-colorless color grade, such as I or J .