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The clarity of a diamond refers to inclusions which can be black, grey or white marks that internally flaw the diamonds structure. These small imperfections are graded under 10 x magnification which is the standard to grade diamond clarity. A diamond with fewer inclusions is both rarer and more desired which makes it also more expensive. Diamond clarity from IF to VS2 will sparkle with intensity whereas diamonds from SI1 to SI2 will sparkle and I1 to I3 will lack sparkle and life with the inclusions being noticeable to the naked eye. All conditions being constant, the less inclusions the greater the life and sparkle of a diamond and the more one will pay.

Clarity is synonymous with purity, lucidity and calm. The dictionary quite appropriately mentions 'spotlessness' which can be quite literally applied to diamond clarity. A diamonds clarity grade is determined under a 10 times magnification by trained gemologists. Although very strict guidelines are in place it is open to judgment and a prudent approach is always highly regarded. This prudent approach is why choosing a diamond with a reputable certification report is very important.

IF = Internally Flawless (IF)

An internally flawless IF diamond is very special because there are no internal inclusions, nature has made it perfect. A very small percentage of diamonds are this perfect and when given as a symbol of love this characteristic is highly regarded. The emotional link between a diamond and a couples union makes the flawless diamond the most revered and sought after. Because of this emotional and symbolic attachment, diamond clarity has the greatest influence on price after carat weight or size. Can there be a more powerful gesture than to propose and declare your love with a D Flawless diamond?

VVS = Very Very slightly inclusion (VVS1 and VVS2)

A diamond with very very slight inclusions, VVS1, has an amount of non crystallized carbon often situated around the girdle or edge of the diamond. A very very slight inclusion, VVS2, will have inclusions of the same size but closer to the table or center of the diamond. Both VVS grades represent high quality and a near perfect clarity. Diamonds with IF or VVS characteristics are considered investment quality and the purist will insist on this clarity. Having few inclusions will improve the performance of light return and sparkle so these diamonds are sought after for their beauty. The price is proportional to the amount of inclusions in every diamond and IF, VVS diamonds have a significant premium because of the scarcity.

VS = Very Slightly included (VS1 and VS2)

VS quality diamonds represent good value and retain a high clarity rating. A VS1 diamond will contain inclusions around the girdle or edge and the VS2 will have a similar amount of inclusions around the table and more central areas of the diamond. VS quality diamonds are 'eye-clean', which suggests that no visible marks can be seen with the naked eye, and we recommend this classification for quality minded purchasers.

SI = Slightly imperfect small inclusions (Si1, Si2 and Si3)

Slight inclusion, Si1 quality diamonds are graded as Si1, Si2 and a not so common Si3. A Si1 quality diamond is considered to be eye-clean although unaided but very close viewing or a trained eye could identify the inclusions. The fact that such concentrated unaided analysis is not normally performed by brides to be or their friends at dinner parties make these diamond popular as they are priced significantly below the VS quality diamonds. Having an 'eye-clean' diamond is the preference in nearly all diamond buyers and we would stress that Si1 diamonds are considered eye-clean because the location of the inclusion is difficult to detect and usually around the edge.

Slight inclusion, Si2 quality diamonds have slight inclusions they are often located around the table and include black carbon which contrasts to a diamonds whiteness and is more noticeable. We would advise customers against Si2 clarity diamonds as they usually have at least 1 noticeable inclusion and so we consider them unfit to recommend. For the budget shopper who is interested in carat size a Si2 diamond could be appropriate but we would recommend having the diamond professionally reviewed prior to an unsighted purchase and we are happy to perform this service. Slight Inclusion, Si3 clarity diamonds are a new scale that the European Gemological Laboratory EGL introduced as there was perceived to be a significant difference between an SI2 and a I1. The SI3 has not been endorsed by other grading laboratories at this time and only time will tell if it is ever accepted into main stream grading.

Inclusions visible to the naked eye (I1, I2, I3 - or sometimes refered to as P1,P2,P3)

Are all very poor clarity diamonds with an I1 being visibly included. 'I' clarity diamonds loose light return because the inclusions are so large the light that enters the diamond can be refracted at random angles. The many inclusions also weaken the diamonds durability and a jeweller can more easily chip the stone when setting it into a ring. These diamonds I1, I2, and I3 are suitable for when size matters and a low budget requires very poor clarity.