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    Diamond Clarity

    Diamond clarity is the assessment of small imperfections on the surface and internally. The surface flaws are called blemishes, and internal defects are known as inclusions. These tiny, natural blemishes and inclusions are microscopic and do not affect a diamond’s beauty in any way. Diamonds with the least and smallest inclusions receive the highest clarity grades.


    Clarity is one of the 4Cs of diamond grading and quality. Diamond clarity is the least important factor when choosing to buy a diamond because most diamonds have blemishes and small inclusions that are microscopic, unable to be seen with an untrained or unaided eye.

    Diamond Types According to the GIA Clarity Grading Scale

    In 1953, Richard T. Liddicoat and colleagues established the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) diamond grading system and clarity scale. The GIA diamond grading scale is divided into six categories and eleven diamond clarity grades.


    Below is the GIA diamond clarity chart with definitions, accompanied by further explanatory comments from Lumera:



    Flawless: No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification.

    Extremely rare, less than 1 in 5000 jewelry quality diamonds are rated FL.


    Internally Flawless: No inclusions, only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification.

    FL and IF diamonds appear identical unless viewed under 10x magnification by a skilled grader. Less than 3% of jewelry quality diamonds are rated IF.


    Very, Very Slightly Included: Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.

    VVS1 inclusions are typically only visible from the pavilion, while VVS2 inclusions are visible from the crown. In each, the inclusions are invisible to the eye, appearing identical to the higher grades unless viewed under 10x magnification by a skilled grader.


    Very Slightly Included: Inclusions are clearly visible under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor.

    Inclusions are not visible to the naked eye. Perhaps 1 in 100 untrained observers can detect VS2 inclusions with the naked eye, on close inspection under ideal conditions.


    Slightly Included: Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader using 10x magnification.

    SI1 is the lowest grade with flaws often invisible to the naked eye. SI2 inclusions are usually visible to the naked eye, although they will require close inspection.


    Included: Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.

    I1 diamonds have inclusions that are almost always visible to the naked eye.

    Because I2-I3 diamonds have prounounced inclusions, and in the case of I3 may even affect the diamond's durability, they are not offered by Lumera.


    Diamond Shape & Size Affect Clarity

    Diamond shape and cut play with and impact diamond clarity in different ways.


    Diamond Shape — Some diamond shapes require a higher clarity grade than others. Emerald and Asscher-shaped diamonds (referred to as step cut) are designed with rectangular facets that emphasize transparency and let you see farther down into the diamond, which can make inclusions more visible. For these diamond shapes, choose a clarity grade of VS1 or better to ensure the inclusions will not be visible.


    Conversely, round, princess, oval, marquise, pear, and heart-shaped diamonds may not require as high of a clarity grade. Cut with a brilliant facet pattern, which reflects light from many different angles, these shapes naturally hide many inclusions.


    Diamond Size — As diamond size increases, the size of the facets (the multiple mirror-like surfaces on the diamond) also increases. This can make inclusions more visible. Be sure to prioritize a higher clarity grade as the size of your diamond increases.