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What Diamond Clarities Look Flawless To The Naked Eye?

Scratching your head at this question? Almost all clarities look flawless to the naked eye. Only an expert or gemologist can detect the imperfections in your diamond, and that too with an instrument. 

The clarity of a diamond is one of the 4 Cs of the diamond. When someone talks about the diamond’s clarity, they are concerned about the diamond’s blemishes and marks.  These marks can affect the brilliance and price tag of the diamond. Read on to get an insight into different diamonds’ clarities, and then consult your jeweler like a knowledgeable buyer. 

Imperfect Diamonds

All diamonds have some imperfections in their structure. The tiny, cloudy dots or fissures are naturally formed in crystal structure under high pressure at a depth of 120 miles beneath the Earth’s crust. The inclusions are the birthmarks or the Earth’s fingerprints on the diamonds. 

Some diamonds have internal (inclusions) as mineral crystals, dots (pinpoints), and feathers or fractures in the diamond crystal.  Some diamonds might have external (blemishes) imperfections that appear with polishing and wear and tear. Only a few diamonds are 100 percent flawless. 

The diamond’s clarity is graded with a 10X or greater power microscope when it is placed face-up. And each diamond is unique to its inclusions. The imperfections’ size and position are important as they can obstruct light and affect a diamond’s brilliance. A large-sized inclusion located close to the center table affects the clarity of the diamond significantly. 

Types of Inclusions in Diamonds

The inclusions in a diamond can be cloud, grain, cavity, or feather. As the name says, a cloud is a cluster of pinpoints that make a diamond cloudy and imperfect. The irregular crystal formation results in graining or reflective lines. A mineral inclusion leads to a colored or colorless cavity within the diamond. And a crack/feather can also be detected at a certain angle. 

Diamond Clarity Scale

The diamonds’ clarity is scaled from clear, flawless diamonds (FL) to imperfect diamonds with inclusions (I3) visible to the naked eye. The lesser the inclusions are, the closer a diamond is to flawless grade. 

The scales of GIA (alphabetic) and AGS (numeric) for diamond clarity can be compared as follows; [table imported from 4Cs of the diamond]

0FL (Flawless) or IF (Internally Flawless)No inclusions or blemishes; extremely rare.
1-2VVS1 (Very, Very Slightly Included 1) or VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included 2)Very, Very Slight inclusions are difficult to see under 10X magnification; VS1 visible from Pavilion and VS2 from Crown. Invisible to the naked eye.
3-4VS1 (Very Slightly Included 1) or VS2 (Very Slightly Included 2)Minor inclusions; under 10X magnification on close inspection.
5-6-7SI1 (Slightly Included 1) or SI2 (Slightly Included 2)Noticeable inclusions under 10X magnification on close inspection.
7-8-9-10I1 (Inclusions 1) or I2 (Inclusions 2)Noticeable inclusions; visible to the naked eye.

Let’s discuss what does the grading scale has to tell us about the clarity of the diamonds. 

The FL diamond clarities (with no inclusions and blemishes) are rare in nature. However, if the FL grade diamond is set in jewelry, it might level down to the IF grade. IF diamonds don’t have inclusions. But, it may get a scratch and an extra facet during setting. 

VVS (VVS 1 and VVS 2) diamonds, as the name implies, have very, very slight inclusions. These inclusions are difficult to be identified even for a trained gemologist. 

VS diamonds (very slightly included 1 and 2) are a good choice with minor inclusions. These inclusions are termed as Minor because they are only visible to gemological experts. 

The inclusions are visible only if the diamond has open facets, such as in Step Cut (Emerald cut or Asscher cut) diamond. The tiny inclusions are flawless to the naked eye. Furthermore, VS1 is clearer than VS2 as the latter might have small clouds (dots) or crystals. This makes VS diamonds an excellent choice.

SI (Slightly included 1 and 2) grade diamonds are eye-clean (invisible to the naked eye). The SI 1 inclusions are visible under 10X magnification, while an expert can detect SI 2 inclusions with a naked eye. 

Inclusion (1-2-3) is the lowest grade of diamond clarity. The inclusions are visible to the naked eye with ascending grades of I1, I2, and I3. The decreasing clarity affects the overall brilliance and luster of the diamond. 

Diamond Clarities Flawless To Naked Eye

While the FL grade diamonds are rare, the IF and VVS are very expensive.  Thus, the best options for eye-clean and visibly flawless diamonds are VS and SI grades. Furthermore, the VS2 and SI1 grades are not only light on the pocket, but also they will sparkle eye-clean in the eyes of your fiancé. 

Diamond Clarities compared to Diamond Cut Carat Weight 

A diamond is termed eye-clean when it is visibly clean or flawless to the naked eye. The clarity of the diamond is also affected by its cut

Usually, the VS2 and SI1 grades are termed eye-clean for their brilliant cut, while VVS1 and VVS2 for step cut diamonds (Emerald cut and Asscher cut). 

The lower grades of VS2 and SI1 are not preferred for step cut because they do not mask inclusions. The step cut gives a window to see through the stone for inclusions. 

That’s why a brilliant-cut diamond with VS2 inclusions can rank higher on the grading scale than the step cut for the same carat weight and inclusions. 

Cushion cut, radiant cut, oval cut, or heart-shaped cut mask the inclusions better even with a VS1 or SI grade.  Thus, offering more flawless quality in your budget.

Diamond Clarities compared to Carat Weight 

The carat weight also plays a role in determining diamond clarity. Though two stones of the same carat weight can vary in size, the inclusions can be detected in larger stones with 10X magnification. Thus, a large stone of 2-carat weight would be a healthy investment if it belongs to higher clarity grade, i.e., VVS2 or VS1 

Investment in Diamonds

From an investment point o view, it would be wise to invest in a medium-sized, eye-clean stone with VS2 or SI1 clarity than a VVS2 or VS1 stone. This is because all of these are flawless to the naked eye. So, a lower grade of an eye-clean diamond can save you a few hundred to thousand dollars. 

Suppose you are investing in a diamond with a carat weight over 2. In that case, it is recommended to not compromise on clarity and cut as well. Go for a Cushion or Radiant cut with VS2 or a Step cut with VVS1 or VS1 clarity grade. It would be unwise to buy a 2-carat diamond with an Emerald cut in this grade. The Emerald cut will show off the inclusions, and this would affect the quality of the diamond.


The clarity of diamond plays a vital role in determining its worth and the cut and carat weight. It is also crucial to identify the clarity of the diamond before investing or setting it into jewelry. Ensure you consult diamond experts or gemologists for their opinion about the complimentary pairing of cut and clarity. Most clarity looks flawless and invisible to the naked eye. Always buy your gemstones from a reputable jeweler with GIA or AGS certifications. That way, you’ll know your investment is in safe hands. 

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