Diamond Clarity

Information about the purity of the diamond

 
 

Almost all diamonds contain minute traces of uncrystallized carbon, called inclusions. Most are not visible to the naked eye and require magnification with a X10 loupe or microscope to be observed. They are the imprint of nature and make each diamond unique. However, the fewer the impurities, the purer the stone and the higher its value.

  round diamond clarity
 

The size of the impurities and imperfections determine the clarity of a diamond. Diamonds with the fewest and smallest inclusions are assigned the highest clarity grade. Diamond clarity grades are measured by the gemologist under a x10 magnifying glass and are qualified on a scale of IF (Internaly Flawless) to I (Included), with each category having a gemological definition to be read further down on this page in the chapter "how to define the clarity of a diamond? ". To combine the purity criteria with the other criteria (weight, color, cut...), we recommend you to read our article dedicated to Which diamond quality criterion to choose ?

Note that the very high refractive index of light in diamonds and its great power of reflection make most inclusions difficult to see with the naked eye. These small natural defects and inclusions are microscopic and do not alter the beauty and brilliance of the diamond. The presence of inclusions visible to the naked eye is called "pitted diamond" (P).

How to define the purity of a diamond?

 

In 1953, Richard T. Liddicoat and his collaborators established the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) diamond grading system and purity scale. Also known as the Diamond Grading Table, the complete list of diamond grading categories and diamond purity grades is shown below. To purchase a diamond require an independent and recognized certificate (GIA, HRD or IGI) attesting to the purity.

View a Diamond's Clarity Scale

Clarity grades

IF - Internally Flawless

In French we say "Pur à la loupe" under x10 magnification. For the purchase of an IF diamond, also require a recognized certificate.

VVS - Very Very Small inclusion(s)

Very difficult to see with a 10X magnifying glass. Position and number of inclusions determine the difference between VVS1 and VVS2. For the purchase of a VVS diamond also require a recognized certificate.

VS - Very Small inclusion(s)

Difficult to find with a 10X magnifying glass. Position and number determine the difference between VS1 and VS2. Require a recognized certificate.

SI - Small Inclusion(s)

 

Easily (*) visible with a 10X magnifying glass (* easily... by an experienced professional) and does not affect gloss. SI1 and SI2 represent good purity, above the so-called "commercial" quality generally found in trade. A beautiful S "i" represents an "i "intelligent choice (but not all SI's are equal). Certificate always recommended.
SI3, a "limit" category to be chosen with great discernment "eyes wide open". Choose Si3 "off center".

I1 - Included

Visible to the naked eye (by an experienced professional) and slightly affecting the brilliance, but mostly affecting the very idea of the beauty of the diamond.

I2 and I3

Larger and/or numerous inclusions, visible to the naked eye and diminishing shine, clearly for I3.

Selection
of diamonds
by clarity

Small inclusion

0.70

G

Si2

VG

GIA

VAT Diamond Price

2732 €

Very small inclusion

0.70

G

VS2

EX

GIA

VAT Diamond Price

3891 €

Very very small inclusion

0.71

G

VVS2

EX

GIA

VAT Diamond Price

3772 €

Pure

0.73

G

IF

EX

GIA

VAT Diamond Price

4579 €

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Guide

What diamond criteria to favour ?