‘Clarity’ measures the purity of the diamond. It shows how much the diamond is free of tiny spots. These so-called ‘spots’ occur when the diamond is formed in the earth’s crust under high temperature and pressure and is often invisible. These are like the unique fingerprint of the diamond. The degree of clarity given to a diamond is determined by the extent to which these natural formations can be seen when the diamond is zoomed-in ten times, and the number, type, color, size and location of the diamond. ‘Spots’ are naturally occurring formations in the diamond. The rarest diamonds with excellent clarity are those that do not have any spots inside or outside the diamond, even when zoomed in ten times.
Even if the spots do not affect the sparkle or beauty of the diamond, perfect diamonds are more valuable than diamonds with very small spots because they are rare. In the degree of clarity called “Slightly Included 2” or “SI2”, no stains or marks are visible to the naked eye. The differences between the degrees are so subtle that even a jeweler may not be able to distinguish between the first five degrees in the diamonds on the jewel. Two diamonds with the same cutting grade but having the “SI2” and the “perfect” clarities are the same in terms of brightness, even if their values are very different. VS2 and SI1 are the most popular options if we choose beauty as a value priority. The prices of diamonds having the same carat weights, colors and cuts will be very different depending on their clarity values. The globally accepted rating system divides clarity into five different groups.
Diamond Clarity Scale
The type of clarity we call IF or FL is called Internal Flawless or Flawless. It means a stone with no spot in it. If you don’t have financial problems and your budget is large, it may be nice to buy a diamond without any spot. So what is the clarity of VVS1, VVS2, and VS1, VS2? VVS means Very Very Small, which means the diamond has very very small tracks. VS stands for Very Small, which means very small tracks. Grades 1 and 2 are graded according to the type, location, and density of the tracks. It does not indicate the number of tracks, only that 1 degree is better than 2 degrees.
There are traces both in VVS and VS. Diamonds with differences VVS can easily be seen with a microscope, but not with a lens in a normal jewelry store. With the naked eye, it can never be seen. In the case of VS stone, a person who really understands diamonds (not the jeweler I mean, but the person who is interested in the jewelry business with diamonds) can understand the difference between SI1 and VS when looking through a lens. It is impossible for the consumer to understand this with the naked eye.
- Excellent (FL-IF): Flawless & Internally Flawless
The rarest diamonds, known as flawless (FL) diamonds, do not have any marks or stains, even when enlarged ten times inside and outside the diamond.
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS)
Diamonds that are in the Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS) category are diamonds with very small spots in them. These marks are so small that even a diamond specialist can hardly see them even when they are enlarged ten times.
- Very Slightly Included (VS)
There are tiny spots in the diamonds of the category Very Slightly Included (VS), which are divided into VS1 and VS2. However, these marks are small enough to be detected by a grading specialist, even when enlarged ten times. The VS1 diamond may contain a small trace cloud or a tiny crystal, whereas the VS2 diamond may contain, for example, a small stained crystal.
- Slightly Included (SI)
Slightly Included (SI) diamonds, which are divided into SI1 and SI2, are diamonds that have visible traces when enlarged ten times. These marks do not affect the transparency or appearance of the diamond. In very rare cases, large diamonds or fantasy cuts, these marks can be seen with the naked eye.
- Included (I)
Traces of diamonds classified as I-1, I-2, and I-3 have defects that are visible to the naked eye and may affect the durability of the diamond. Diamonds of this clarity cannot be Forevermark.
What Diamond Clarity Should I Get?
While the color of the diamond is something that can be more easily noticed by the naked eye, clarity is not the case. In this respect, the clarity of diamonds is more psychological in the consumer’s eyes.
The consumer can think of what should be the clarity of the diamond in such a way: Let’s say there are 2 diamonds with VS2 and SI1 clarity levels. When I get a solitaire diamond with SI1 clarity, do I get an invaluable jewel? Should I add some more money and get VS2 clarity? Never!! SI1 clarity diamond is not bad, VS2 clarity is not bad. If there are marks that cannot be seen with the naked eye, you do not need to ask for SI1. As a result, there is no rule that a diamond with a high clarity will be more beautiful and glitter than a diamond with low clarity.
How can you tell the difference between a beautiful SI1 clarity and a VS2 clarity diamond by just looking with a naked eye? On the other hand, you cannot even understand the difference by looking through a lens since you’re not an expert. The only way that you can understand this via the diamond certificate. (In the past, goldsmiths only gave their own diamond certificates and all the stones were written VS on them). So my personal advice if your budget is going between SI1 clarity and VS2 clarity, choose SI1 clarity solitaire or five stone diamond and keep the size and the color of the stone high. If your budget allows more, then get VS1 clarity.
If you bought a GIA certified or HRD certified diamond solitaire and the clarity is SI1, this does not mean that your stone will lose much more value. If you bring it to the place where you bought it, the same procedure with a VVS clarity diamond is applied when returning a diamond product. The difference is same as the price difference when you buy the product. VVS clarity is a diamond product that is more expensive, so when you sell it, it is priced based on the same values. In this case, it is quite normal. But, of course, if you take the diamond solitaire or five stone diamond to another jeweler’s shop and not the company you bought it, you may be given the impression that your product has lost its value.
More about Diamond Clarity
Clarity characterizes the presence (or absence) of impurity, defect, or other characteristics in a diamond. Clarity characteristics make each diamond completely separate from others. There are no two diamonds in the same place that will have exactly the same inclusion. There are five factors used in determining the degree of clarity of any diamond in large diamond rating agencies such as GIA and HRD.
- Size: How big or small is the inclusion covered by the diamond?
- The number of inclusions: Are there how many inclusions on the diamond?
- Location: What is the location of the diamond inclusions? Inclusions are located beneath the shaved upper face, or the heart of the diamond affects the clarity of the diamond more than the inclusions under the shaved side faces.
- Natural Feature: Do inclusions affect the durability of the diamond? Large feathers can be dangerous depending on their size and position in the diamond.
- Relief: To what extent can inclusion appear? Dark inclusions can be more easily identified and graded more accurately than white or light color inclusions.
GIA Clarity Degrees
The GIA offers us a universally understandable method to define the degree of clarity of diamonds. There are five main levels of clarity that you can find in your GIA, IGI, or HRD report;
FL / IF flawless / internally flawless: There is no inclusion below 10x. Inside: No surface defects or inclusions that can be considered significant when examined under 10x. Normally, many of the defects can be remedied by a light grinding process. Very rare, beautiful and expensive diamonds.
VVS1-2 very very slight inclusions: Very Very Light Content: Small inclusions of 10x magnification very difficult to detect by an experienced diamond specialist in gold. VVS diamonds are extremely rare and beautiful.
VS1-2 very slight inclusions: Very Light Content: They contain small inclusions in a range that is easily visible or invisible with a 10x magnifying loop. Typical VS inclusions are small crystals, hairs or discrete clouds. In rare cases, VS stones may contain a visible inclusion. Diamonds are of excellent quality.
SI1-2 slight inclusions: Lightweight: Inclusions are not easily visible to a naked eye by an expert under a 10x magnification lens. They have great value.
I1 / I2 / I3 inclusions: Contains significant inclusions. Not suitable for use in diamond jewelry.
In fact, all diamonds have their own specific spots that cannot be seen with the naked eye. The clarity of the diamond is proportional to the degree of such stains. Stains are factors that greatly affect the price and beauty of the diamond.
Another factor you should pay attention to when buying diamonds is whether these spots are seen with the naked eye. Stains that cannot be seen and do not affect the brightness can bring the price of the diamond to more reasonable figures. The position of the spots in the diamond is very important. Diamond cutters work hard to cut such stains to a minimum. The stains on the cone and belt are the least affecting the value of the diamond. Because it’s hard to spot these spots around here. Sometimes stains can be found in an area that can be seen from many angles. Such stains reduce the diamond value very much.
The factors affecting the degree of clarity are generally as follows.
- Number and size of stains
- Whether stains can easily be seen with the eye (naked eye)
- The appearance of stains (light or dark?)
- The nature of the stains (whether it is a crystal trap or a crack within the stone that is at risk of progression)
- The position of the stains (under the table or around the crown facets in an easy place to see each other or in a place that can be destroyed by polishing again)
- Stain type (dot, planar)
With an untrained eye, you can hardly distinguish between FI, IF, VVS1 or VVS2. You will not see a difference between the beauty of a VS stone that is clean when looking with a naked eye and a stone that is clean when viewed with a lens. What you need to know when buying a stone with high clarity is that, although high clarity may raise prices too high, you will not notice it with the naked eye.
VS1 and VS2 contain stains that are difficult to detect even with a lens. These spots are usually small crystals, feathers, clouds, and such stains. SI1 and SI2 are generally the best-selling clarity grades on the market. You can only see stains on these stones when you look with a lens. In SI1 diamonds, you cannot see stains when viewed from above with the naked eye. These are beautiful stones that can be bought at a reasonable price. On most SI2 diamonds you can see stains with the naked eye.
Diamonds with a clarity of I1, I2, and I3 should be avoided. These diamonds have stains that will affect the beauty and durability of the stone. Sometimes I1 and I2 stones are sold in the market as SI1 or SI2 without a certificate. If you do the necessary research to get the diamond and examine the stone, you will not fall into such an error. The above examples are the diamonds I1 and I2-I3.
What Should You Pay Attention To When Deciding Clarity?
- If you want to be 100% sure that there are no visible stains on your diamond, we recommend that you stick to “VS2” or higher grade diamonds.
- If you buy SI-quality diamonds, you will see the best value for your money, but it is still best to consult our experts before finalizing your order. In this way, you can be sure that the diamond does not contain a visible stain.
- It is also a good idea to balance the clarity of your diamond with its color.
- If the color class of the diamond you intend to buy is D-F, you need to focus on clarity of VS2 or higher.
- Diamonds combined with SI clarity in the G-K color range are of great value.