Clarity refers to the presence or absence of certain diamond identifying characteristics, known as inclusions. The location, size, types and color of these inclusions all help to determine where a diamond falls on the clarity grading scale. Clarity is only one characteristic of quality, so don’t use the terms interchangeably. Keep in mind that the higher the clarity, the more rare, and consequently more expensive. Only about 2% of the world’s diamonds are flawless.
Diamond Clarity Grading Terminology
The most widely accepted standard for clarity grading is the scale developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Its greater number of classifications makes it the strictest system. (An alternative scale is the AGS, which has slightly fewer classifications.)
- Internally Flawless: No inclusions visible at 10x magnification.
- VVS1: Minute inclusions, extremely difficult to see at 10x magnification.
- VVS2: Minute inclusions, very difficult to see at 10x magnification.
- VS1: Minor inclusions, difficult to see face-up at 10x magnification.
- VS2: Minor inclusions, somewhat easy to see face-up at 10x magnification.
- SI1: Noticeable inclusions, easy to see at 10x magnification.
- I1: Obvious inclusions at 10x, visible to the unaided eye.
- I2: Obvious inclusions, easily visible to the unaided eye.
- I3: Prominent inclusions.