Refers to the number of visible imperfections or ‘inclusions’ in a diamond. These can be tiny fractures or minerals trapped within the stone. When viewed through a ‘loupe’ – the 10x magnifying tool jewellers use to look at diamonds – they may appear like minute clouds, crystals or feathers. The size and position of inclusions in a diamond are important in terms of its value. If they are at the side they may be hidden by the mount and have little effect on the stone’s beauty or brilliance. If they are at the top or in the middle of the diamond however they may impact upon the ability of light to pass through the stone and make it less brilliant and less desirable.
Clarity is graded on a scale from Flawless (FL) to Included (I). The grading is as follows:
FL Flawless - No inclusions or surface blemishes under 10 x magnification
IF Internally Flawless – no inclusions and only insignificant surface blemishes under 10x magnification.
VVS1 – VVS2 Very, Very Small inclusions – extremely difficult to see and usually only visible on a microscope or to an experienced grader with a loupe.
VS1 – VS2 Very Small inclusions, visible with 10x magnification but should still be difficult to find.
SI1 – SI2 Slightly Included, usually easily found with a loupe but still ‘eye clean’, however the inclusions in some SI2 diamonds are visible to the unaided eye.
When viewed without magnification the difference in appearance between 'eye clean' diamonds will be negligible.
I1 - I3 Included - inclusions visible to the naked eye (sometimes referred to as P1 – P3 or piqued). As these inclusions are becoming more visible they may affect the outward appearance of the diamond, the best I1 clarity diamonds may have an inclusion visible to the naked eye of a trained grader but not to the untrained eye and will still be very bright.