Diamonds Defined: Understanding Clarity

Out of all of the 4Cs of diamonds - cut, color, clarity, and carat - clarity is the “C” most obscured to the naked eye. Clarity refers to the visual purity of a diamond. Determined by the number of inclusions or imperfections in the stone, clarity is difficult to notice without the help of a magnifier. These inclusions occur naturally during the diamond growth process and are what make each diamond unique.

The importance of clarity

While imperfections are often invisible to the untrained eye, clarity is still important to the overall brilliance of a diamond. Internal spots and lines can affect how light passes through the stone. Inclusions can obstruct the refraction and return of light and can impact how cloudy a diamond appears.

Diamond clarity chart

Five factors are considered when assigning a diamond’s clarity grade. The size and number of imperfections, their position within the diamond, how they impact its durability, and the noticeable contrast between the imperfections and the diamond itself. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare and rank highest in clarity grade. For a diamond to be deemed Flawless, no inclusions or blemishes must be visible under 10-power magnification.

VRAI’s true clarity

We offer a wide selection of diamonds sustainably created in our zero-emissions foundry, with high clarity grades of VS2 and above that are without any eye-visible inclusions to deliver maximum brilliance. For diamonds with clarity grades below VS2, our graduate gemologists can provide an eye-clean assessment, as the visibility of the inclusions vary depending on the diamond cut and shape. All of our VRAI created diamonds are high clarity graded VS2 and above with no eye-visible inclusions to deliver maximum brilliance.

Our offerings are graded:

FL: FL diamonds are Flawless with no internal or external imperfections visible under magnification

IF: IF diamonds are Internally Flawless but may have small surface blemishes visible under magnification

VVS1 VVS2: VVS diamonds are Very, Very Slightly Included with tiny inclusions that are difficult to see even under magnification

VS1 VS2: VS diamonds are Very Slightly Included with minor inclusions that range from difficult (VS1) to easier (VS2) to see under magnification

Selecting diamond clarity

Selecting diamond clarity

The higher the clarity grade, the more you can expect to pay for a diamond. Given this “C’s” less visible nature, there is some opportunity to save when selecting clarity. The best value is found in diamonds with inclusions that can’t be seen under magnification—those at the VS level. As with any “C,” exploring different combinations of carat, size, and shape can also afford you added flexibility in diamond clarity and price.
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Diamond clarity & size

Diamond clarity & size

Certain diamond sizes are more susceptible to visible inclusions. The larger surface area of higher carat weight diamonds can make inclusions more visible. We suggest increasing clarity grade as you size up in carat weight to maximize brilliance and sparkle.‎
Diamond clarity & shape

Diamond clarity & shape

Some diamond shapes mask inclusions better than others. The brilliant facets of round, cushion, oval, marquise, pear, and trillion shapes may tolerate lower clarity grades as they reflect light from a number of angles. The large, rectangular facets of emerald cuts benefit from a higher clarity grade, as they emphasize transparency and allow you to see deeper into the diamond.
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Clarity terminology to know

Inclusion: The internal formations of a diamond

  • Cavity: An angular opening on the surface of the diamond created by feathering
  • Cleavage: A straight crack that can extend to the surface
  • Cloud: A group of tiny crystals found inside the diamond
  • Crystal: Tiny matter found inside the diamond that can extend to the surface
  • Feather: A fracture found inside the diamond extending to the surface
  • Internal graining: A white or colored line found inside the diamond
  • Knot: A transparent crystal that extends to the surface

Blemish: The external formations on the surface of a diamond

  • Chip: A piece of diamond broken at the surface
  • Nick: A minor surface indentation along perimeter of the surface
  • Pit: A small hole on the surface
  • Polish line: A small groove left on facets after polishing
  • Scratch: A fine line on the surface

Book an appointment with our diamond experts to learn more about diamond clarity and read on to discover more about our diamonds.


Diamonds Defined: Understanding Color

Diamonds Defined: Understanding Color

Learn more about color - part of the 4Cs - and why the absence of color in a white diamond makes it rarer and more valuable than others.

Diamonds Defined: Understanding Cut

Diamonds Defined: Understanding Cut

Learn more about cut - part of the 4Cs - and how it can have the most significant impact on a diamond’s overall beauty and value.

Diamonds Defined: Understanding Carat

Diamonds Defined: Understanding Carat

Learn more about carat - the most famous of the “4Cs” - and how this reference to your diamond’s weight, not size, can affect its overall beauty.

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