Diamonds from different clarity grades may not look any different to the naked eye, but they will be considered vastly different in quality (and value). It is, therefore, critical to buy diamonds that have been certified by an accredited institution, such as GIA, HRD or IGI, to ensure you acquire a top-quality diamond.
The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) diamond clarity scale has six categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades:
Flawless (FL diamonds): No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
Internally Flawless (IF diamonds): No inclusions visible under 10x magnification. These diamonds will only have surface blemishes.
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2 diamonds): These diamonds contain inclusions that are so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification. VVS1 and VVS2 loose diamonds will be more expensive than lower graded diamonds as they are rarer and of a high quality. However, it’s important to note that clarity is just one of the 4 Cs, and you should bear in mind the other qualities before making your choice of investment diamond.
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2 diamonds): Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification but can be characterised as minor.
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2 diamonds): Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification.
Included (I1, I2, and I3 diamonds): Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance.