Diamond Clarity

Key Points

  • Of the 4Cs, clarity is the third most important characteristic because most imperfections cannot be seen unless under professional magnification. (Cut is the most important 4C to consider)
  • Clarity refers to the tiny imperfections called inclusions. Diamonds with the least and smallest inclusions receive the highest clarity grades.
  • To maximize your budget, choose what's called an eye-clean diamond (grades VVSI-SI1), which means it has no visible inclusions to the naked eye.

Clarity refers to the tiny, natural imperfections that that are present in all but the rarest diamonds. The less inclusions, the better the clarity. Gemologists refer to these imperfections by a variety of technical names, including blemishes and inclusions. 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.
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 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
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 Graded Diamond


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.

Expert Buying Tips

  • 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.
  • 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.

Next, learn about Diamond Carat Weight.

Have A Question?

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