What is diamond clarity?

The 'clarity' describes how flawless a diamond is.

  • Clarity is affected by flaws known as 'inclusions' on or in the stone.
  • Grades of clarity range from FL (flawless) to I3 (visible inclusions).
  • The less inclusions a diamond has, the more valuable it is.
  • FL - flawless is the purest diamond grade.

Types of clarity flaw

There are 2 types of flaw:

  • Inclusions
  • Blemishes

Inclusions are flaws within the stone itself such as air bubbles, cracks, and non-diamond minerals; blemishes are surface flaws such as scratches, and pits.

For the purposes of grading diamonds, all flaws are called 'inclusions'. Diamonds are graded for clarity under 10 to 30 times magnification. Grades range from 'Flawless' (completely free of blemishes and inclusions), to 'Included 3' (diamonds which possess large, heavy blemishes and inclusions that are visible to the naked eye).

Clarity grade

FL, IF Flawless
FL, IF Flawless: No internal or external flaws, extremely rare. Internally Flawless: no internal flaws, but some surface flaws. Very rare.
VVS1-VVS2 Very, Very Slightly
VVS1-VVS2 Very, Very Slightly Included: Inclusions are very difficult to detect under 10x magnification. An excellent clarity grade

 

 
VS1-VS2 Very Slightly
VS1-VS2 Very Slightly Included: Inclusions are not typically visible to the unaided eye, and difficult to see under 10x magnification. A very good clarity grade.
SI1-SI2 Slightly
SI1-SI2 Slightly Included: Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification, and may be visible with the unaided eye. A good diamond value.
 
I1-I2-I3
I1-I2-I3 Included: Inclusions are visible under to the unaided eye. This clarity grade represents the best value for those who prefer size over quality.
 

 

You can substantially reduce the cost of a diamond if you see that the inclusion will be hidden behind the mounting and not affect the overall appearance of the stone.

You can get excellent value with diamonds which have 'Slight Inclusions' (grades SI1, SI2, SI3). You should consult with our diamond experts as to whether any of the inclusions can be visible to the naked eye. if so, they may be able to be hidden by the choice of mounting.

At Vashi.ie we only sell diamonds with a clarity grade of SI1 and higher.

What clarity grade is best?

FL (Flawless) is the best clarity grade and therefore the best to buy, it is also the most valuable grade of clarity.

The average person can't tell the difference between FL and VS1 clarity diamonds, to ensure the diamond is free from visible inclusions (eye clean) you will need a VS1 or VS2 clarity grade.

Many people believe that all diamonds with SI clarity grade are eye clean, but this is far from true. There can be visible differences between two diamonds with the same SI clarity grade, and this will depend on the number, type, size, and location of the inclusions.

Which clarity grade is best for my budget?

  • Finest quality: VVS1/VVS2
  • Best balance for quality and cost: VS1/VS2
  • Biggest size for price: SI1

Other diamond quality factors: