Diamond Clarity

When we come across a Diamond that is crystal clear to look at, don’t we just love how it visually appeals to us? That’s simply because- the finer and flawless the clarity, the more sparkly is the Diamond. So, needless to say, Clarity ultimately has a lot to do with the quality and aesthetic appeal of the Diamond.

That makes it one among the integral four Cs that goes through the route of assessment and analysis to arrive at a quality grade that is accredited by a gemological laboratory. That would tell you how crucial clarity is for Diamond. And don’t worry, it isn’t as tough for a layman to understand it thanks to our Diamond clarity Education Guide that has you covered with everything. Right from the meaning of Clarity and what infiltrates it to the grades assigned to it and their impact on the price, let’s understand Diamond Clarity in true terms:

What Is Diamond Clarity?

In simplest terms, Clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes that infiltrate a Diamond. So, Diamond clarity basically tells you of its purity.

Don’t get confused. Inclusions simply refer to the internal imperfections that occur naturally in a diamond during its formation and growth. Blemishes, on the other hand, are external imperfections on the surface of the diamond, such as scratches, chips, or nicks.

In case you were wondering “how does it impact the visual appeal of Diamonds?”, the reason is quite simple. A Clearer Diamond would any day reflect light more efficiently, which in turn helps it sparkle more brilliantly. In poor clarity Diamonds on the other hand, the light often remains stuck inside.

Diamond Clarity Grading Scale

Just like all the other Cs, Clarity is graded by professional gemological laboratories. They have a standardized system under which they assign grades to different ranges of clarity. To arrive at the grade, they assess the diamond for any imperfections, typically inclusions and blemishes. Gemologists leave no stone unturned in determining the clarity to the very core. Interestingly, they look into the Diamond under 10 X magnification for that.

Precisely, it implies that with the help of microscope, they examine the diamond when it appears 10 times more than its actual size. Since many inclusions trapped inside the Diamond are microscopic, it gets really difficult determine them until seen with such emphasis. Now, you can tell what reliability a Grading Scale of Diamond Clarity holds.

Please note that these clarity grades take into account- the number, position, and intensity of the inclusion. Now you’re all set to be well versed with it:

  1. Flawless (FL):

You’d have guessed by the grade name by now. A Flawless Diamond is flawless in true terms since even when examined 10 X magnification, no inclusions or blemishes are noticed by gemologists. It’s extremely rare to witness a Diamond that fits in this clarity grade. Statistically, less than 1 % of Diamonds belong here. And thanks to that, they fetch the most expensive price tag.

  1. Internally Flawless (IF):

Those that are considered internally flawless are home to surface blemishes that are extremely tiny, almost negligible. Apart from that, no inclusions are detected in them. Please note that the blemishes are only detectable under 10 X magnification and are generally the polish lines of the Diamond. Don’t take it to mean that they affect the sparkle or beauty of Diamond in any way. Those that belong to this Clarity Grade are simply perfect to look at.

  1. Very Very Slightly Included 1 (VVS1)- Very very slightly included 2 (VVS2):

Diamonds belonging to this grade possess very minute inclusions, that are very difficulty detectable under 10 X magnification. Thanks to the small size of inclusions, it’s hard to differentiate them from FL and IF Diamonds. On top of that, the sparkle and beauty of Diamond also doesn’t have to be compromised with. That’s what makes them so sought after since you’re basically getting the same aesthetics as in the higher grades, just at a much lower price.

  1. Very Slightly Included 1-2:

When examined under 10 X magnification, Diamond under the VS1-VS2 grade display minor inclusions. The only difference between VS1 and VS2 grade is that inclusions belonging in VS1 grade are quite hard to witness while those in the latter are comparatively easy to see. But the good part is that both are eye-clean and thus are very sought-after thanks to their value for money. The common kind of inclusions trapped inside these Diamonds are cloud, feather, pinpoint, small sports.

  1. Slightly Included 1-2:

SI1 clarity grade is also quite popular for (mostly) being eye-clean and comparatively easy on the pockets. Inclusions under SI1 grade are noticeable under 10 X magnification. But those that belong to the SI2 grade can display slight inclusions when seen from the naked eye as well. A handy shopping tip while looking for diamonds under this clarity grade would be to avoid those that possess slightly large, single inclusion. That’s because they can make the Diamond look a little hazy. As per gemologists, the most common inclusions that infiltrate these diamonds are- twinning wisp, feathers, crystals, clouds, knot.

  1. Included 1,2,3 (I1, I2, I3):

When you see apparent inclusions with a naked eye (without any magnification), consider the Diamond to belong in these grades. These are preferred by those who are on a tight budget and wish to place more importance on getting hands on a desirable grade for the other Cs. Inclusions that you can expect to witness in them include clouds, feathers, large crystals, and knots.

Factors that determine the Clarity Grade of Diamond

Though we leave the evaluation process in the hands of the professionals to do it best, understanding it enough to know our Diamonds better carries its own importance. 
Some factors play an integral role in influencing the clarity and thus in the overall clarity evaluation process.

  • Size of inclusions and diamond:

To no surprise, size of the inclusion/blemish has a considerable impact on the clarity since it is more easily detectable. Apart from that, , the surface size of the Diamond also indirectly influence the clarity. Larger diamonds are more likely to have more flaws simply because they hold more surface area and volume. Additionally, The facet size of the diamond also increases with its own. That way, inclusions come to notice more.

  • Number:

It comes as no surprise that the Diamond appears less clear if the number of inclusions are significantly more. So, in simpler terms, the less the inclusions, the higher is the clarity grade and vice-versa.

  • Nature:

We talk of the nature of an inclusion in terms of its type. Inclusions can be of many kinds and they largely differ from each other. As a result, they impact the clarity differently. For example, an inclusion that is a crack or a feather can have a more significant impact on clarity than one that is a white crystal. That’s because cracks and feathers can interfere with the way light travels through the diamond. Other than that, inclusions also have a considerable impact on the durability. A cavity would any day deteriorate the durability more than a pinpoint.

  • Color:

It is no rocket-science to detect an inclusion that is dark in color. Thus, the color goes on to impact the clarity in understandable ways. Thanks to its refractive index, it can also impact the way the diamond interacts with the light. Additionally, Inclusions that are highly contrasting with the color of the diamond can be more noticeable. That’s because Dark inclusions in a light-colored diamond are more visible.

  • Location:

You may have never paid heed to this factor as much but the location/position of the inclusion or blemish matters! Understanding the anatomy of the Diamond comes in handy for this. For example, you may notice that the girdle (edge) is not as visible (since it is below the surface). And thus, if it is infiltrated by inclusions, they are not that noticeable. On the other hand, if an inclusion is somewhere on/near the surface, it is more likely to be seen. It is important to ignore Diamonds that possess significant inclusions on/ near the pavilion since that’s the area where light reflects.

Types of Inclusions present in Diamond

The amount of importance you place on the inclusions is a complete matter of choice. But yes, it is understandable if you get finicky with them since they CAN make your Diamond look cloudy. So, just to develop a better understanding of them, let’s get you well versed with the most common kind of inclusions/blemishes you’re likely to witness.


  1. Crystals:

These are solid inclusions that are usually visible under magnification. They can be made of various minerals, such as garnet, rutile, or another type of crystal.

  1. Feathers:

These are cracks that can occur in the diamond during the formation process or during cutting. They can have a significant impact on the diamond's clarity and durability.

  1. Pinpoints:

These are tiny bubbles of gas that are trapped inside the diamond. They are often not noticeable without magnification.

  1. Clouds:

These are groups of tiny inclusions that can make a diamond appear hazy or cloudy.

  1. Needles:

These are elongated inclusions that can be seen under magnification. They are often made made of rutile, or another type of crystal.

  1. Knots:

These are inclusions that are located at the surface of the diamond, and they can be visible without magnification.


  1. Chips:

These are small, flat inclusions that occur on the surface of the diamond and can be the result of rough handling or damage during the cutting process.

  1. Scratches:

These are surface abrasions that can occur during cutting, handling, or wear. They can affect a diamond's luster and overall appearance.

  1. Nicks:

These are small chips that can occur on the surface of the diamond, usually at the girdle (the edge of the diamond).

  1. Pits:

These are small indentations on the surface of the diamond. They can occur naturally or during the cutting process.

  1. Extra facets:

These are additional facets that were not intended during the cutting process and can affect a diamond's appearance and symmetry.

  1. Surface graining:

This is a type of internal irregularity that can cause a hazy or cloudy appearance in a diamond.

  1. Abrasions:

These are small nicks or scratches that occur on the diamond's girdle (edge). They can be caused by rough handling or wear.

  1. Polish lines:

These are parallel lines on the surface of the diamond that can be seen under magnification. Consider them to be the result of improper polishing during the cutting process.

What causes the inclusions to trap inside the Diamond?

Ever heard the phrase- “Our imperfections make us unique.” Well, consider that to be the case with Diamonds as well. You will never find two Diamonds to be exactly same in terms of clarity, even if they belong to the same grade. That’s the uniqueness of Diamonds for you. Each comes with its own distinctive set of inclusions and blemishes.

That’s simply because each Natural Diamond undergoes its own process of underground formation that may take place in millions of years. While underground, they are subject to immense heat and pressure. In effect to that, carbon atoms not only form diamond crystals, but also trap other materials such as minerals, gases, and minerals inside the diamond. Inclusions can also form as a result of disruptions in the crystal lattice structure during the diamond's growth.

Effect of Clarity on Price of the Diamond

The rule is: As you move up the Clarity grade scale, you can expect to pay more. Simply because higher quality of clarity justifiably fetches a higher price tag and vice-versa.

But in clarity, all the difference lies in the magnitude of price jump that you will observe while shifting a grade or two. The difference between the prices of consecutive clarity grades, for example between VVS1 and VS1 is significantly large (more than in the case of any other C). That’s because Diamonds with high clarity grades are rarer. Thus, This scarcity of high clarity diamonds increases their demand and therefore drives up their price.

Apart from that, do we even need to mention that higher clarity grade diamonds exude more beauty? And since as a result of that, they are considered more desirable, it is only fair for them to command more price.