A diamond clear is when it has no visible inclusions. That’s a fancy way of saying that all the imperfections have been removed, and what you see is a pure diamond without any flaws. There are some exceptions to this (like the cat’s eye), but for the most part, when a diamond is 100% flawless and clear, it will be graded as D-F or Flawless Fancy.
Diamonds are graded on clarity by the GIA. They use a 10x magnification, which is how they determine a diamond’s clarity. They rate diamonds in categories ranging from flawless to included. The most common type of inclusions are feathers, silk, and clouds. A diamond without any inclusions is considered flawless.
A Guide to Diamond Clarity
1. Flawless Limestone – FL, IF (Internally Flawless)
The rarest and most valuable grade of diamond is flawless. The diamond clear has no inclusions or blemishes visible to the naked eye. A top professional will have to use special instruments to locate any inclusions that are invisible to the naked eye.
Flawless diamonds are scarce and usually only found in deep mines with little human interference. Transferring diamonds from the depths of the Earth to store shelves in jewelry stores is a highly controlled process.
2. Internally Flawless – IF (Internally Flawless)
These diamonds are flawless or nearly flawless. They have minor inclusions that can be seen under 10x magnification. Two types of inclusions can be seen with IF diamonds: Inclusions (lumps and bumps) and Blemishes (slight imperfections). Both can be seen under special lighting, but blemishes are only visible with magnification IF diamonds are nearly flawless but priced lower.
3. Very Very Slight Inclusion – VVSI (Very Very Slight Inclusion)
These diamonds have minor inclusions that can only be seen under 10x magnification and are usually not visible to the naked eye without special lighting and vision.
4. Slight Inclusion – SI (Slight Inclusion)
These diamonds have inclusions that can be seen under 10x magnification but are not always visible to the naked eye without special lighting and vision.
5. Very Slight Inclusion – VS (Very Slight Inclusion)
These diamonds have only inclusions under 10x magnification but may not be visible to the naked eye without special lighting and vision.
6. Inclusion – I (Inclusion)
These diamonds have inclusions that can be seen under 10x magnification, but the inclusions are sometimes not visible to the naked eye without special lighting and vision.
7. Blemish – B (Blemish)
These diamonds have blemishes or imperfections visible to the naked eye, and no more than 5% of these blemishes can be seen by 10x magnification.
8. Very Blemish – VB (Very Blemish)
These diamonds have blemishes or imperfections visible to the naked eye, and not more than 1% of these blemishes can be seen by 10x magnification.
9. Blemish – None (None)
These diamonds have no blemishes visible to the naked eye, and more than 99% of imperfections are invisible under 10x magnification.
10. Frost – FD (Frost)
These diamonds have blemishes or imperfections visible to the naked eye, and more than 1% of these blemishes can be seen by 10x magnification.
11. Commonly Found With Inclusions – IC (Inclusions Commonly Found)
These diamonds have inclusions often hidden by the setting and are not visible to the naked eye without special lighting and vision.
12. Commonly Found Without Inclusions – CG (Commonly Found Without Inclusion)
These diamonds have no inclusions visible to the naked eye, and more than 99% of imperfections are invisible under 10x magnification.
13. Carbonado – CD (Carbonado)
Carbonado diamonds are a form of synthetic diamond created by injecting hydrocarbon gas into molten iron and processing the result in a carbon atmosphere. Carbonados are usually grey, black, or brown and more like coal than diamond, though newer production methods have created more attractive specimens. They are not naturally occurring but can be mistaken for natural diamonds by untrained eyes.
Colorless diamonds have an appearance similar to white sugar. They may be light yellow, grey, or blue-white. According to the American Gem Society (AGS): Colorless diamonds include those with a body-color of D, E, and F (AGS Diamond Color Guide)
15. Fancy Colors
Fancy-colored diamonds are rare and considered valuable. They are classified by color, such as blue diamonds (also called “blue-white”), pink, orange, and yellow.
Fancy colors are said to be created when the diamond is subjected to shock waves or extreme amounts of heat, causing the lattice structure in the diamond to become distorted. People who purchase fancy colored diamonds are usually big spenders for aesthetic purposes (they may not even care about pricing).
16. Pink, orange or yellow diamonds
These are more commonly known by the names that the gemstone dealers give them and consist of various colors, from brown to yellow hues.
It is a form of diamond enhancement, wherein specific stones and color enhancements are added to make a diamond appear whiter. This “whitening” is sometimes done by applying an oil or other treatment to the stone. The effect of this may range from very subtle to quite spectacular.
17. Lab Diamonds
These are created in a laboratory setting and have similar properties to mined diamonds.
Carbonado, synthetic, and simulant diamonds are not naturally occurring but can be mistaken for natural diamonds. They consist of carbon but do not have the same qualities as a diamond. Lab-created diamonds tend to cost less than mined diamonds, so they are more affordable and, therefore, more popular among consumers who don’t want to spend a lot on a diamond engagement ring.
18. Synthetic diamonds
These are created through extreme heat and pressure in high-tech machines. These machines replicate the natural process of diamond formation. More than 50% of mined diamonds are synthetic and labeled as such. Labels for these types of diamonds often say they are “laboratory-grown.”
19. Imitation diamonds
These are manufactured and are made of various metals or synthetic materials. They come in multiple colors, including imitation diamonds that resemble the real thing. These stones can be costly and may be harder to tell apart from the real thing than other diamonds. As with all jewelry, there is no guarantee that a person won’t lose or damage one, so it’s best to proceed with caution when purchasing them.
These are artificial and look similar to the real thing but are not the same. They are generally used to deceive people into thinking that they are buying a natural diamond. DeBeers is one of the most prominent companies to market simulants, which they call “halo stones.”
Diamonds symbolize faith and are one of the most expensive precious stones. They are in many shapes and sizes, but a brilliant round cut is the most popular diamond shape. When choosing which type of diamond you want to purchase, it is crucial to ensure that the diamond you select matches your ring. While some diamonds look good in any ring, it is best to consult a jeweler before purchasing a diamond to guarantee that it will match the style and color you choose.