Diamond Clarity Grading Explained

diamond clarityDiamonds are a natural creation that occurs up to 20 miles below the surface of the planet. These precious gemstones form over extended periods of time and, once formed, they are mined and then either sold loose or fitted in jewelry. Unfortunately, the majority of diamonds that are mined often contains some kinds of imperfects. In very rare cases, however, diamonds are mined with absolutely no imperfections – these diamonds, however, cost a significant amount more than the diamonds that contain imperfections. A diamond that contains imperfections does not necessarily look bad when compared to one without imperfections – this is where diamond clarity comes in. Let’s look at what diamond clarity grading is, how the clarity rating of a diamond is determined and how you can save a considerable amount of money by educating yourself about the different clarity grades that an appraiser can appoint to a particular diamond stone.

Diamond Clarity Chart

Diamond clarity refers to how flawless a diamond is – in other words, the fewer inclusions and blemishes, the more flawless. This particular grade appointed to diamonds play a big part in the value of the custom diamond jewelry; thus, buying a diamond that is completely flawless (which, in the first place, is extremely rare), will cost you much more than buying a diamond that contains some imperfections would. To understand how diamond clarity grades work, let’s take a look at the standard clarity chart that is used by most grading institutes throughout the entire world. We will use the Gemological Institute of America as a reference, but the same grading criteria are used by the other popular institutes, including the American Gem Society and the European Gemological Laboratory.

At the top of the scale, as we have already discussed, you get the best clarity grade – “Flawless”. When you shop for rough diamond jewelry, you will often find the abbreviated version of this grade instead, which is “FL”. This grade refers to any diamond that has absolutely no flaws or imperfections – even when an appraiser places the diamond under a special device that magnifies the diamond ten times. If a flawless royal diamond contains some blemishes, but no inclusions, then it is rated as “Internally Flawless”. The abbreviated term for such a diamond is “IF”.

diamond clarity chart

Going down the scale, after “Flawless” and “Internally Flawless”, you will find two grades that are both classified as “Very Very Slightly Included”, or “VVS1” and “VVS2”. These two grades refer to diamonds that contain slight inclusions, but this can only be observed when a special magnifier is used to inspect the diamond. After this grade, you get diamonds graded as “Very Slightly Included”. This grade is also split into two classes, “VS1” and “VS2”. Similar to “Very Very Slightly Included”, this grade also refers to diamonds with slight inclusions (somewhat more severe than VVS1 and VVS2) that can only be observed under magnification.

The lower quality diamonds are either classified as “Slightly Included” (SI1 and SI2) or “Included” (I1, I2 or I3). Diamonds with a clarity rating of “Slightly Included” still contain inclusions that are difficult to observe without actually placing the diamond under a special magnifier, but the inclusions are more severe than the previous grades. “Included” diamonds, however, are those that contain inclusions and other imperfections that can be observed with the naked eye.


The clarity grade of a diamond refers to its flawlessness. A completely flawless diamond is very rare and can cost thousands of dollars more than a diamond with some imperfections, yet the two may appear very similar to the naked eye. The guidance we’ve provided here allows you to save quite a large sum of money by opting for a lower quality clarity grade, without sacrificing any visual aspects of the diamond you would like to purchase.



Mary Turner


With experience dating back to when brick and mortar was the ONLY source for shopping for diamonds, I have countless men find the perfect diamond for that special occasion. As your Personal Diamond Consultant, I'm here to make sure you end up with the perfect stone.

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