Marks that are internal or inside the diamond are called inclusions and imperfections on the external surface are called blemishes. Carbon caved under pressure deep inside the earth paired with the tremendous heat gave birth to natural diamonds. Since they were born under such pressure, they all virtually contain ‘birthmarks’ in the form of flaws or inclusions. The less the inclusions, the better the clarity grades assigned and hence those diamonds would be more expensive.
Diamonds that have flaws or imperfections are less brilliant as the flaws interfere with the path of light, dulling its reflection. Diamond cutters while cutting make every effort to ensure these defects are not visible on the finished diamond. Diamond Clarity is evaluated basis the nature, size, number, position and colour of these characteristic flaws. The closer it is to perfection, higher is its value.
Clarity grades are as follows:
FL–IF (Flawless and Internally Flawless)
These grades of diamonds are extremely rare and the only difference between the two is that IF diamonds, like FL diamonds are 100% flawless from the inside but IF diamonds have certain surface graining on the outside which is invisible to the untrained eye. Unless they are viewed under 10 x magnifications by a skilled grader, they would appear identical to a buyer. In essence, FL diamonds have no blemishes or inclusions whereas IF diamonds have only blemishes externally but no inclusions.
VVS1-VVS2 (Very Very Slight Inclusions)
This variety consists of very, very slight inclusions that are difficult even for a skilled grader to perceive under 10x magnification.
VS1-VS2 (Very Slightly Included)
VS1-VS2 clarity diamonds are extremely popular as these are the last grades that virtually guarantee an eye clean diamond. Certain shapes like Emerald and Asscher may be exceptions as they tend to give away blemishes or inclusions. These diamonds have minor inclusions that are clearly visible under 10x magnification.
SI1-SI2 (Slightly Included)
This range of diamonds typically has slight inclusions that are visible not only under 10x magnification but also to the naked eye on close inspection. Since they are commonly found than their higher graded counterparts, they are an easy bargain. If you’re on a strict budget, these diamonds offer great value for money even though they have tiny series of flaws internally and externally.
Diamonds tabled under this clarity grade will always have imperfections that are clearly visible to the untrained eye. Though they offer great value for money, the flaws may affect brilliance, transparency and durability causing the stone to look dull or grainy.