Diamond clarity is measure of the amount of impurities and imperfections trapped within the diamond when it was formed over 1 billion years ago. Diamonds are graded into clarity grades depending upon the quantity, size and type of impurity within the stone.
Clarity grades are assessed at ten times magnification. The highest clarity grade is flawless, and this means there are no impurities in the diamond visible at ten times magnification.
VVS1 and VVS2 is the next grade. VVS stands for very very small, and at this level the impurities will resemble five to ten microscopic specks of dust within the stone. This level of clarity is very rare, and you certainly can not see the impurities with the naked eye.
After VVS on the scale is VS1 and VS2, where VS stands for very small. At this level the size and the quantity of inclusions are getting more frequent, although they are still not visible to the naked eye in a round brilliant cut.
Below VS is SI1 and SI2. SI stands for small inclusions. This is the level where the inclusions are getting quite a lot larger and more obvious, and then can sometimes be seen with the naked eye. In fact, in general around 30% to 40% of the inclusions of an SI2 clarity diamond are visible.
There are quite a lot of differences between individual diamonds which are graded at this level. It is therefore important to check the diamond from the side, because often the inclusion from above may be obscured by the facets in the crown, whereas from the side the inclusion could be easily visible. At Samara James, we only sell diamonds which we have checked are ‘eye clean’.
Beyond SI2 are the levels known as I1, I2, and I3. These diamonds do have obvious flaws when viewed carefully and are considered typical commercial quality. This means that most of the uncertified diamonds that, for example, you might find on the High Street will often be somewhere between a I1 and I2 level.