When diamonds were formed, small imperfections such as tiny bubbles, scratches or minerals found their way into the diamonds crystal. These flaws or inclusions make each diamond different and unique and is sometimes referred to as nature’s fingerprints.
Clarity, one of the four c’s, documents a diamond’s inclusions by the number, size, and position of internal and external blemishes it has. Inclusions are not usually visible to the naked eye. To determine a diamonds clarity grade, it must be examined loose (un-mounted), under 10x magnifications by a gemologist.
It is extremely important to view the diamond loose for clarity grading because it is very easy hide flaws in a setting to make a diamond appear better than it is. There is nothing wrong with flaws as long as you know about them and you are not paying a premium for a lesser diamond.
Diamond’s clarity is rated according to their position on the GIA Clarity Scale:
F: Flawless. No internal or external flaws.
IF: Slight flaws inside the diamond.
VVS1-VVS2: Just slightly flawed. Slight imperfections that are hard to see using 10X magnification.
VS1-VS2: Very slightly flawed. Imperfections not detectible with unaided eye but visible using 10X magnification.
SI1-SI2: Slightly flawed. The imperfection is not visible with the naked eye but is easily seen with magnification.
I1-I3: Flawed. The imperfections are noticeable to the naked eye.
Generally, a diamond rated SI-1 or above looks flawless to the unaided eye. Even a tiny inclusion visible to the naked eye will bump the diamond to an SI-2 or I-1. A diamond rated SI2 and VS1 on the clarity scale is your best choice for quality and value.