Because diamonds are formed deep within the earth under extreme heat and pressure, they often contain unique birthmarks called inclusions, which are imperfections within the diamond itself.
Each and every diamond is one of a kind. No single diamond is absolutely perfect under 10x— magnification (under a loupe), except for diamonds that have been graded ‘Flawless’ by the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA).
These are extremely rare, so much so that most jewellers have never even SEEN one let alone sold one!
The GIA Clarity Scale contains 11 grades, with most diamonds falling into the VS (very slightly included) or SI (slightly included) categories.
In determining a clarity grade, the GIA system considers the size, nature, position, colour or relief, and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10x— magnification.
Flawless (FL) – No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x— magnification.
Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x— magnification.
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x— magnification.
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification.
Included (I1, I2, and I3) – Inclusions are obvious under 10x— magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.