Because diamonds are formed deep within the earth, under extreme conditions of heat and pressure, they often contain unique birthmarks, either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes).
Diamond clarity refers to the absence of birthmarks. Diamonds without these are rarer, and rarity affects a diamond’s value. Using the GIA grading system, diamonds are assigned a clarity grade that ranges from flawless (FL) to diamonds with obvious inclusions (I3).
The GIA Clarity Scale contains 11 grades, with most diamonds falling into the VS (very slightly included) or SI (slightly included) categories.
- Flawless (FL) - No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
- Internally Flawless (IF) - No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) - Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) - Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification
- Included (I1, I2, and I3) - Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance
HOW DID THE GIA CLARITY SCALE COME ABOUT?
GIA’s clarity grading system developed because jewelers were using personal and connoiseur terms , such as "loupe clean," or "piqué." Today, Every jeweler in the world use the same clarity grading scale so they can easily compare and trade the stones.