Diamonds are formed deep within the earth, under the influence of extreme heat and pressure. Hence, every diamond contains birthmarks. These birthmarks simply refer to the imperfections that are associated with a diamond and they are bifurcated in two types .
Imperfections that are present on the surface of the diamond are called blemishes.
Imperfections that are on the inside of the diamond are known as inclusions.
The degree to which these imperfections are present reflects on the grading of a diamond’s clarity. The diamonds that contain large number of blemishes or have inclusions present in them in significant amount have less brilliance because these flaws obstructs the path of the light going through the diamond.
The position of inclusions plays a significant role in determining the quality of a diamond. Therefore, the diamond cutters try and cut the diamond in a way in which the inclusions are not visible through the table of the finished diamond. Under the bezel facets or near the girdle are the preferred positions of the inclusions because they are difficult to see there.
Grading for clarity of almost every diamond is done using the 11 point diamond clarity scale that is created by the GIA. For grading the clarity of a diamond the GIA considers every flaw visible under 10x magnification. The test of the number, size, color and the position of the flaw is done.
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Flawless, Internally Flawless (FL & IF)
When seen under 10x magnification there are no blemishes or inclusions These are extremely rare and the ratio of getting the diamond graded under this rating is 1:5000
When seen under 10x magnification only blemishes are present and inclusions are completely absent
It is quite similar to a flawless diamond but when viewed under magnification a slight blemish can be viewed. Only three percent of the jewelry quality diamonds are rated as IF
Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 & VVS2) & Very Slightly Included (VS1 & VS2)
When seen under 10x magnification inclusions are difficult to identify
Unless viewed under magnification the inclusions cannot be identified. In VVS1 the inclusions can be seen from the pavilion while for VVS2 it is visible from the crown
When seen under 10x magnification the inclusions can be observed quite clearly but are negligible
Inclusions are almost invisible to the naked eye however very rarely someone could identify the inclusion with the naked eye if the conditions are ideal
Slightly Included (SI1, SI2)
When seen under 10x magnification inclusions are visible
In SI1 the flaws are often invisible to the naked eye however, it is the lowest grade with flaws. SI2 inclusions are visible to the naked eye but requires close inspection
Included (I1, I2, I3)
When seen under 10x magnification the inclusions are very obvious and affecting brilliance and transparency in the process.
I1 diamonds have inclusions that are usually easily visible to the naked eye.
I2-I3 diamonds have inclusions up to a level where the diamonds durability is affected