Diamonds with few flaws, or inclusions, are very rare and highly valued. Inclusions are natural identifying characteristics such as minerals or fractures, appearing while formed in the earth. They may look like tiny crystals, clouds or feathers.
When gemologists inspect diamonds for overall quality, they must painstakingly determine the clarity of the diamond. Using a 10x magnification loupe, gemologists determine the size, type, and position of the imperfections.
Gemologists then put the stone into one of the following classifications based on the results of their inspection:
FL Flawless: No internal flaws. Very rare and very expensive.
VVS1-VVS2 Very, Very Slightly Imperfect: Extremely difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification. Rare and expensive.
VS1-VS2 Very Slightly Imperfect: Inclusions are not visible to the unaided eye. High quality.
SI1-SI2 Slightly Imperfect: Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification. Good quality.
I1-I2-I3 Imperfect: Inclusions and flaws visible to the naked eye. Shapiro Diamonds does not carry diamonds of I1, I2, I3 clarity grade.
Within the VVS, VS, and SI classifications, there are additional gradations denoted by a number 1 or 2. For the included class, the subdivisions are denoted with a number from 1 to 3. Because most diamonds have flaws, flawless diamonds and nearly flawless diamonds (clarity between FL and VVS2) are considered particularly rare and are consequently particularly expensive. An ideal cut diamond will optimize the use of light, creating fire and brilliance. Inclusions can hinder how the light reflects, lessening the brilliance and prismatic effect of color in a diamond.
For the best clarity value, we recommend that you choose a clear, “clean”, or “eye-clean” diamond. An eye-clean diamond has no inclusions or blemishes visible to the naked eye. For clarity grades FL through SI, inclusions (internal flaws) are NOT visible to the naked eye.