Diamond Clarity

Key Points

  • Clarity is a measure of the number and size of the tiny imperfections that occur in almost all diamonds.
  • Many of these imperfections are microscopic, and do not affect a diamond's beauty in any discernible way.

Much is made of a diamond's clarity, but of the Four Cs, it is the easiest to understand, and, according to many experts, generally has the least impact on a diamond's appearance. Clarity simply refers to the tiny, natural imperfections that occur in all but the finest diamonds. Gemologists refer to these imperfections by a variety of technical names, including blemishes and inclusions, among others. Diamonds with the least and smallest imperfections receive the highest clarity grades. Because these imperfections tend to be microscopic, they do not generally affect a diamond's beauty in any discernible way.

Grading Scale

Use the slider to see clarity grade details or view the Clarity Grade Chart below.
I3-I2
I1
SI2
SI1
VS2
VS1
VVS2
VVS1
IF
FL
Flawless
FL: No visible blemishes, < 1% of diamonds.
Inclusions are not visible, rarest clarity grade under 10x magnification.
See FL Graded Diamonds

Diamond Clarity Grade Chart

FL & IF
FL, IF Graded Diamond

Flawless, Internally Flawless

Under 10x magnification, inclusions are not visible, rarest clarity grade.

See FL & IF Graded Diamonds
  • FL: No visible blemishes, <1% of diamonds
  • IF: Very slight blemishes, <3% of diamonds
VVS1, VVS2
VVS Graded Diamond

Very, Very Slightly Included

Under 10x magnification, inclusions are so small, it is difficult to see.

See VVS Graded Diamonds
  • VVS1: Inclusions in bottom-half, pavilion
  • VVS2: Inclusions in top-half, crown
VS1, VS2
VS Graded Diamond

Very Slightly Included

Under 10x magnification, inclusions are minor, slightly visible.

See VS Graded Diamonds
  • VS1: Slightly less inclusions than VS2
  • VS2: Slightly more inclusions than VS1
SI1, SI2
SI Graded Diamond

Slightly Included

Under 10x magnification, inclusions are noted, more visible.

See SI Graded Diamonds
  • SI1: Inclusions possibly invisible to the eye
  • SI2: Inclusions often visible to the eye
I1
I1 Graded Diamond

Included

Under 10x magnification, inclusions are obvious, visible to the eye.

See Diamond Jewelry
  • I1 Grade loose diamond are not offered by Blue Nile
I2, I3
>I2, I3 Graded Diamond
Under 10x magnification, inclusions are obvious, visible to the eye.

Grade not offered by Blue Nile.

What Clarity Grade Is Right For Me?

  • Select an "eye-clean" diamond - one that has no imperfections visible to the unaided-eye through the crown. An excellent value, diamonds of this clarity are much less expensive than flawless (FL) or internally flawless (IF) diamonds, which are extremely rare and command higher prices.
  • Frequently, imperfections in diamonds graded slightly included (SI) are not visible to the unaided eye, making them an excellent value. If you're considering a diamond with an SI clarity grade, call to speak to a diamond and jewelry consultant who will review the diamond to ensure the imperfections are not visible to the unaided eye.

Now that you understand clarity, learn about a diamond's carat weight.

Have A Question

Contact us by phone at 800 0353 0016 or email at service@bluenile.com. In addition, Live Chat is available during most business hours.

Request a Free Diamond Buying Guide