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A Guide to the Diamond Clarity Scale

Diamond clarity is a measure of the extent of natural inclusions occurring within a Diamond. Diamonds form under tremendous heat and pressure. This often results in internal and external characteristics. These help gemologists separate natural Diamonds from synthetics and simulants and identify individual stones.  Inclusions and blemishes create a unique blueprint for your Diamond. We describe Diamond clarity by using a scale. This consists of eleven grades.

Fl and IF Clarity

Flawless and Internally flawless

Flawless Diamonds and Internally flawless Diamonds are the highest clarity grades. Both grades are 'loupe clean' but truly 'Flawless' Diamonds lack outer blemishes. 

Please remember that you don't need to choose a flawless Diamond to ensure a visibly clear Diamond. You will be paying a much higher price for a clarity difference you will not necessarily see. 

VVS1 and VVS2 Clarity

Very Very Slightly Included 1 ...higher in clarity than....

Very Very Slightly Included 2

Are you struggling to see the inclusions? That's no surprise! 

Diamonds achieving VVS1 and VVS2 clarity grades are exceptionally clear. Again, there is no real necessity to seek VVS1 or VVS2 clarity grades to achieve a clear Diamond. Even to a trained eye, inclusions are very difficult to detect.

VS1 and VS2 Clarity

Very Slightly Included 1 ...higher in clarity than....

Very Slightly Included 2

At VS clarity, Diamonds have very small inclusions visible under 10 x magnification. Wise buyers often choose VS clarity Diamonds for the reassurance of owning an eye clean Diamonds with very small natural marks hard to see even under magnification. We advise VS1 clarity especially for Emerald cut Diamonds. 

SI1 Clarity

Slightly Included 1

We list this clarity separately even though similarly a lower SI2 clarity follows. Expect GIA certified SI1 clarity Diamonds to be clear of marks to the naked eye. Only under 10 x magnification will you see the inclusions. SI1 clarity Diamonds with the exception of Emerald cuts (see why below) SI1 clarity Diamonds are very popular because they give a very good clarity without the additional cost of higher grades. 

SI2 Clarity

Slightly Included 12

SI2 clarity Diamonds reveal small inclusions that are just visible to the naked eye. Although clarity goes much lower than SI2, we chose this particular clarity grade as our minimum for website jewellery to ensure client satisfaction for entry-level Diamond clarity on our website. 

I1 Clarity

Included 1 

I1 clarity Diamonds are sometimes called piqué 1 (pronounced pee-kay 1) clarity Diamonds. They reveal visible inclusions to the naked eye. There are no specific types of inclusion or location within the Diamond determining this grade, merely the amount of inclusions and visibility within the stone. 

I2 Clarity

Included 2

I2 clarity Diamonds are sometimes called piqué 2 (pronounced pee-kay 2) clarity Diamonds. They are more heavily included with visible marks within the Diamond. Expect inclusions, either white or black to be quite noticeable at this level which can affect the brilliance of your Diamond. 

I3 Clarity 

Included 3

I3 clarity Diamonds are sometimes called piqué 3 (pronounced pee-kay 3) clarity. This clarity grade is officially the lowest clarity grade which can be assigned to a Diamond. Diamonds at this grade appear very heavily included. Please note that although I3 is the lowest clarity grade, some Diamonds can be extremely included, appearing lifeless and still achieve this clarity grade. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Clarity

What is a good clarity?

VS1 clarity is considered a perfect option for Emerald cuts, Asscher cuts, and Baguette cut Diamonds. However, VS1 clarity is considered better than eye-clean for brilliant cut Diamonds. SI1 clarity is considered perfectly sufficient for brilliant cut Diamonds under 1 carat. This is provided that the Diamond is GIA certified and the buyer expects the diamond to be clear to the naked eye

What is the most popular Diamond clarity?

If we consider the most popular Diamond clarity to ensure a visible clear Diamond, we would suggest SI1 clarity for the most popular shapes. Our most popular colour and clarity combination is G colour and SI1 clarity for Diamonds below 1 carat in weight. 

Is it possible to see a difference between VS1 and VS2

The difference between VS1 clarity and VS2 clarity is very slight. An academic difference exists, recognised by a trained eye, grading under 10x magnification. 

Should I buy IF clarity for my Diamond?

Don't opt for IF clarity unless you want the prestige of the very best Diamond clarity. It is a well-known fact that very high colour (D, E, F) colour Diamonds at the highest clarity grade ascend in price and are favoured as investment Diamonds along naturally fancy coloured Diamonds. 

What is the difference between IF and FL for Diamonds?

Flawless Diamonds (FL) have no visible inclusions or blemishes appearing externally on the Diamond. External blemishes are microscopic but might be present on IF clarity Diamonds. 

How do I know where my inclusions will be when I buy my Diamond at Serendipity?

We can provide detailed photography and microscopy of your Diamond if needed to show you any inclusions within your Diamond. We provide this service for the purchase of any loose Diamonds, or for certified Diamonds being set into Engagement Rings. Please contact us for guidance. In many instances, we can also provide 365 degrees HD video of your Diamond.

Is SI2 clarity eye clean?

At SI2 clarity, characteristics within the Diamond start to become visible. The overall appearance of the Diamond is clear, with the exception of very small marks that may appear within the Diamond. GIA certified Diamonds are graded strictly and stand a greater chance of appearing eye clean. We don't recommend this clarity for Emerald cut Diamonds. Characteristics may be more apparent within step-cut Diamonds.