Did you know that diamond clarity is the most misunderstood factor when it comes to 4C?

In fact, most people assume that a high degree of purity is required for a better shine and to avoid inclusions visible to the eye.
The truth is far from it.
In this section of our website, you will learn what is and is not part of the technical side of diamond clarity. We also share insights on what to look for in a diamond and how to shop smart.

First of all, what is clarity?

The purity of a diamond is a selective assessment of the diamond’s flaws.
Basically, flaws are classified into two different categories depending on where they are found;
Defects (external defects such as scratches and chips)
Inclusions (internal defects such as needle tips and crystals)
Clearly, the fewer flaws a diamond has, the higher the clarity grade and value it has.
When diamonds are created under extreme conditions, natural flaws cannot be avoided as a by-product of their formation. Interestingly, diamond inclusions work in the same way as fingerprints. This means that one diamond can be identified from another using its inclusions as a reference.

Diamond purity table - Summary and visualisation

A flawless diamond has no external flaws or inclusions and is abbreviated FL.On the other hand, the worst clarity diamond is abbreviated I3 and stands for a diamond with many inclusions and visible ugly flaws.Generally, diamonds of VS2 or better are visually good-looking (inclusions cannot be seen without a dome). In low carats, diamonds between SI1 and SI2 are also visibly clean.
However, it is important to note that eye clarity is highly subjective. Thus, all SI diamonds need to be evaluated individually due to the different inclusions in the diamonds.We do not recommend buying diamonds below I1(P1) clarity, as they usually have inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye and/or can cause durability problems for the engagement ring.

What do the GIA clarity scale categories mean?

The grading process is carried out by a skilled gemmologist who examines the diamond under a 10X magnifying microscope. The diamond is then graded for clarity based on an assessment of inclusions.
The list below explains what each classification means. For full details on diamond clarity grading, click on the link opposite to see real life examples of diamonds

FL (Flawless)

No occlusions or visible defects at 10× magnification.

IF (Internally Flawless)

No Inclusions. Minor defects are allowed (surface grain or polishing details), but only as seen by a skilled classifier at 10× magnification.

VVS1 & VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included)

The inclusions are really difficult to see at 10× magnification.

VS1 & VS2 (Very Slightly Included)

Inclusions are difficult to identify using 10× magnification and generally do not affect the visual beauty of the diamond.

SI1 & SI2 (Slightly Included)

The inclusions are easily identifiable at 10× magnification and usually visible to the naked eye.

I1, I2, ja I3 (Included)

The inclusions are clearly visible at 10× magnification. In addition to potential durability problems, they can affect the diamond’s transparency and brilliance.

How are closures listed and marked in the classification report?

In the GIA classification report, all defects found in diamonds are collectively listed under the section “Clarity Characteristics”. In addition, you may find a Clarity Table showing the types and locations of inclusions in the diamond

GIA grading report vs. GIA diamond dossier

While the inclusion map can be used for convenient stone identification, you should be aware that it is not an accurate representation of the diamond’s true appearance. This is because inclusions are mapped in two dimensions, and it does not tell you what the inclusions look like or how they might affect the beauty of the diamond.
In fact, a messy and scary-looking map may not be so serious in real life. On the other hand, a clean-looking map for an unclean diamond may cause more concern about its appearance.We know that many consumers have difficulty deciding on the best clarity grade to choose when buying a diamond. It is also a misconception that a higher clarity grade will guarantee a diamond that sparkles more.

Does clarity really affect how brilliant or sparkling a stone is? Is it compulsory to buy a clear diamond just because you can't see flaws with the naked eye?

The appeal of diamonds or other jewellery is usually down to personal preference and taste. For this reason, it is impossible to say which clarity grade is “best” because you may have your own preferences when making a purchasing decision.Over the years, I have heard of countless reasons ranging from superstition (must have a pure diamond) to practicality (budget constraints) that lead people to choose a particular clarity.Most of these reasons are valid, but some are due to misconceptions and misinformation. In any case, it is important to understand how clarity really affects the beauty of a stone.I know there are people who want to buy FL/IF diamonds for symbolic reasons, because they only want the best. That’s perfectly okay.

So what is the best diamond clarity to buy?

It depends on what you are looking for.