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What is Clarity?

GIA's Official Definition

According to GIA, the clarity of a diamond pertains to the stones relative position on a Flawless to Imperfect scale. Clarity characteristics can be either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes). The size, number, position, nature, & color or relief of the imperfections determine the clarity grade.

The Clarity Scale

The following is the the GIA clarity scale. AGS' standards are similar to GIA's. However, AGS uses numerical grades rather than GIA's descriptive grades. I have listed the GIA grades, AGS' corresponding grades and a short description of the grades.

GIA

AGS

DESCRIPTION

 
FL
0
Flawless: Shows no inclusions or blemishes of any sort under 10x magnification when observed by an experienced grader FL
IF
0
Internally Flawless: Has no inclusions when examined by an experienced grader under 10x magnification, but may have some minor blemishes IF

VVS1
VVS2

1
2
Very Very Slightly Included: Contains inclusions that are difficult, even for an experienced grader, to see under 10x magnification. VVS
VS1
VS2
3
4
Very Slightly Included: Contains inclusions such as small crystals, clouds or feathers when observed with effort under 10x magnification. VS
SI1
SI2
5
6
Slightly Included: Contains inclusions (clouds, included crystals, knots, cavities, and feathers) that are noticeable to an experienced grader under 10x magnification. SI
I1-I3
7-10
Included: Contains inclusions (possibly large feathers or large included crystals) that are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance. I
 

 

 
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What do all these mean?

The clarity of the diamond is affected by the presence of impurities. These translate to major differences in pricing. The closer the clarity gets to being flawless, the more expensive the diamond. The magnitude of price differences between clarity grades depend largely on demand and supply of that clarity grade. However, you can be assured that the price differences between clarity grades are very real, and very large.

The only way to get a good idea of how different clarity grades look like is to look at some pictures of diamonds. Over the next few pages, we will see some sample of diamonds of various clarity grades.

We will be analysing the diamonds using "darkfield illumination". you are adviced to read up on it in the Advanced Tutorial section, just to get a good idea of what you are actually seeing.

 
     

Next: Flawless Diamonds...