The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) employs a meticulous process when grading the clarity of a diamond, taking into account a range of factors to provide a comprehensive evaluation. In the initial stages of the grading process, all diamonds undergo a magnification of 10x, a standard practice that allows gemologists to scrutinize the stone with precision. This close examination involves a careful assessment of the inclusions within the diamond. The position of these internal characteristics, such as pinpoint spots, clouds, or feathers, is meticulously studied to determine their impact on the stone's overall clarity. In addition to pinpointing the location of inclusions, the GIA considers various aspects of their characteristics. The number of inclusions within the diamond is noted, as a higher concentration may affect its overall clarity grade. The size of the inclusions is also a critical factor, with larger or more prominent imperfections potentially influencing the final clarity assessment. Reflectivity, another element in the evaluation, refers to how light interacts with the inclusions, impacting the stone's brilliance.
Gemologists carefully analyze how these internal features reflect and refract light, contributing to the overall visual appearance of the diamond. Moreover, the GIA takes into account the color of the inclusions. While most inclusions are colorless, some may exhibit shades of red, brown, or other hues. This consideration is vital, as colored inclusions can affect the overall appearance of the diamond, influencing both its visual appeal and market value. By thoroughly assessing these multiple facets of clarity, the GIA ensures a comprehensive and accurate grading that provides consumers with valuable insights into the quality and purity of a diamond. This detailed approach not only enhances the transparency of the grading process but also aids buyers in making informed decisions based on the specific characteristics that define a diamond's unique clarity profile.
THE GRADES ARE AS FOLLOWS:
FLAWLESS DIAMONDS (FL)
These diamonds are exceptionally rare, in fact, only around one in every 5,000 diamonds have a flawless grade. This means that there are no blemishes or inclusions, even under magnification.
INTERNALLY FLAWLESS (IF)
IF are extremely similar to FL, there are only a few tiny differences, which can only be viewed by a skilled grader under magnification.
VERY VERY SLIGHTLY INCLUDED (VVS1 AND VVS2)
Diamond has small inclusions only visible under 10x magnification by a trained gemologist. No imperfections can be identified by the naked eye. A VVS2 diamond will have maybe 1 or 2 more inclusions than a VVS1 diamond. The size of the inclusions is roughly the same; often, it’s only the number of them.
VERY SLIGHTLY INCLUDED (VS1 AND VS2)
Again, inclusions are not visible to the eye. They are clearly visible under magnification but they are minor.
SLIGHTLY INCLUDED (SI1 AND SI2)
Now we get to the stage where inclusions become visible to the untrained eye in some cases on close inspection.
INCLUDED (I1, I2, AND I3)
Finally, I1 diamonds feature blemishes that everyone can see. I2 and I3 diamonds can feature pronounced inclusions to the point where the durability of the diamond is compromised.