Diamond Clarity

Clarity is the degree to which a diamond is free from flaws, which can hinder light as it passes through your diamond.

Like people, diamonds have "birthmarks" that vary in size, shape, position, quantity and color. These birthmarks are known as inclusions (internal) and blemishes (external). Inclusions are formed deep in the earth during the diamond's growth. Blemishes can result from the diamond-cutting process.

The clarity grade is determined based on the size, number, position of, nature and color of the diamond's blemishes.

Though nearly all diamonds have inclusions and blemishes, the most prized diamonds are flawless.

The clarity scale, developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), has 11 grades:

  • F (flawless inside and out)
  • IF (internally flawless, which means there are blemishes on the surface but not inside the diamond)
  • VVS1 and VVS2 (very, very slightly included - two levels)
  • VS1 and VS2 (very slightly included - two levels)
  • SI1 and SI2 (slightly included - two levels)
  • I1, I2 and I3 (included - three levels)

It may be difficult to see inclusions with the naked eye, depending on where they are located within the diamond. But every diamond is unique, so you need to look closely. If you view an SI2 diamond and can't see the inclusions without a jeweler's loupe, you can probably accept a lower grade and save on cost without compromising beauty.

Understanding Clarity

Like every love, every diamond is unique. One reason for this is clarity. Clarity measures the imperfections in a diamond.

Like people, diamonds nave natural birthmarks that vary in size, shape position, quantity and color. Internal birthmarks are called inclusions, while those found on the external surface of a diamond are known as blemishes. Inclusions and blemishes are very common. They may be caused during a diamond's growth or may develop during the mining, cutting, polishing or setting process.

Though nearly all diamonds have inclusions and blemishes, the most prized diamonds are flawless. Light can flow uninterrupted in a flawless diamond, resulting in a beautiful sparkle. Flawless diamonds are uncommon and expensive, however, as only 2% of the world's diamonds are without inclusions and blemishes.

Experts measure clarity with special equipment. A classic jewelers' tool is the loupe, a small 10-power (10x) magnifying glass. This is the standard magnification when determining diamond clarity. Jewelers will also use a gemological microscope to show you the characteristics of your diamond. Even diamonds with inclusions and blemishes can be among the most beautiful, especially those with good color and cut. Many inclusions are difficult to see with the naked eye, and some may be minimized by the setting you choose.

Work with your Kay jewelry consultant to find a diamond whose inclusions and blemishes have a minimal effect on the beauty of the stone. That way, you can own a stunning piece of jewelry that still fits within your budget.


The information entered on this form will not be used to send unsolicited email and will not be shared with a third party.

Thank You!

Your email has been sent.