Diamond Clarity

Often clients use a jeweler's loupe to examine their diamond after they are told what the clarity grade is by the supplier. It is not possible to properly grade a diamond using a loupe, and many times the purchaser does not know what to look for. This usually works well for the supplier selling a non-certified stone as many times a person using a loupe only sees a bigger diamond. Naturally, it does look better. A loupe can help, but a client should always be careful and not hesitate to ask for outside expert advice when they need it.

G.I.A. clarity grades are given by trained, skilled Graduate Gemologists using a 10 power binocular microscope. With the binocular microscope both eyes focus on the diamond for a three dimensional perspective. The loose diamond must be properly cleaned and examined in overhead white light and dark field illumination.

The size, number, position, color and nature of inclusions and blemishes are considered when assigning a clarity grade. The clarity grade ordinarily is determined by judging the relative visibility of clarity characteristics when the stone is viewed in the face-up position.

The following are general guidelines of the various clarity grades.

  • FLAWLESS (FL) - Free from all inclusions and blemishes at 10x.
  • INTERNALLY FLAWLESS (IF) - No inclusions visible at 10x. Minor surfaces blemishes only.
  • VVS1 - Minute inclusions - Extremely difficult to see at 10x.
  • VVS2 - Minute inclusions - Very difficult to see at 10x.
  • VS1 - Minor inclusions - Difficult to see at 10x.
  • VS2 - Minor inclusions - Somewhat easy to see face-up at 10x.
  • SI1 - Noticeable inclusions - Easy to see at 10x.
  • SI2 - Noticeable inclusions - Very easy to see at 10x, may be visible through the pavilion to the naked eye.
  • I1 - Obvious inclusions at 10x, visible to the unaided eye.
  • I2 - Obvious inclusions - Easily visible to the unaided eye.
  • I3 - Prominent inclusions - Extremely easy to see with the unaided eye, or the stone has a durability problem.