The 4Cs: Clarity

Diamond Clarity Refers to the Absence of Inclusions and Blemishes

Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to extreme heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of unique birthmarks, either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes).  Diamond clarity refers to the absence of these inclusions and blemishes. Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the size, nature, position, color, and quantity of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value. Diamonds without these birthmarks, known as flawless diamonds,  are exceptionally rare, and rarity affects a diamond’s value.

Using the GIA International Diamond Grading System™, diamonds are assigned a clarity grade that ranges from flawless (FL) to diamonds with noticeable inclusions (I3). The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has six categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades.


  • Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
  • Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
  • Included (I1I2, and I3) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance
This short video explains the GIA clarity scale and how GIA classifies diamonds with a clarity grade ranging from Flawless to I3 by using a 10X magnification loupe and a microscope to see and plot the diamond’s inclusions.