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 maximise your budget, consider an SI quality diamond, knowing that it may have very slight inclusions visible to the naked eye.

Clarity refers to the tiny, natural imperfections that are present in all but the rarest diamonds. The less inclusions, the better the clarity. Gemmologists 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 diamond example
I3-I2
I1
SI2
SI1
VS2
VS1
VVS2
VVS1
IF
FL
Flawless
FL: No visible blemishes, < 1% of diamonds.
Inclusions are not visible under 10X, rarest clarity grade.
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

Characteristics miniscule and difficult to see under 10x magnification, even to a trained eye.

See VVS Graded Diamonds
  • VVS1: Few miniscule inclusions
  • VVS2: Slightly more miniscule inclusions
VS1, VS2
VS Graded Diamond

Very Slightly Included

Minor inclusions ranging from difficult to somewhat easy to see at 10x magnification.

See VS Graded Diamonds
  • VS1: Difficult to see minor inclusions
  • VS2: Somewhat easier to see minor inclusions
SI1, SI2
SI Graded Diamond

Slightly Included

Inclusions noticeable at 10x. Best value. SI2 inclusions may be detectable to a discerning unaided eye.

See SI Graded Diamonds
  • SI1: Inclusions occasionally visible to the keen eye without magnification
  • SI2: Inclusions typically visible from the pavilion, and often seen from the top, without magnification
I1
I1 Graded Diamond

Included

Diamonds may have more obvious inclusions at 10X and may be visible to the eye. Blue Nile offers a limited selection of jewellery with I1 clarity diamonds..

See Diamond Jewellery
  • I1: Loose diamonds of this grade not offered by Blue Nile
I2, I3
>I2, I3 Graded Diamond
Clarity grades not carried by Blue Nile.

Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification, usually visible to the unaided eye.

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 jewellery 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?

Contact us by phone at 00353-1-899-1351 from Slovakia, 0800 098 8541 from the United Kingdom, or 00353 1 899 1351 for all other EU countries or email at serviceuk@bluenile.co.uk. In addition, Live Chat is available during most business hours.