Diamond Clarity
Buyer’s Guide to the GIA Chart & Scales

This is the ultimate guide to Diamond Clarity in 2023.

In this guide we will show you:

  • How to read diamond clarity charts & scales
  • How to choose the best diamond clarity
  • How diamond clarity affects its price
  • Lots more

Let's Get Started

Chapter 1

Diamond Clarity Basics

In this chapter, we’ll cover the basics of Diamond Clarity

First, you’ll see why diamond clarity is crucial part of the Diamond’s 4CS

Then, we will show you the history and source of the famous GIA Diamond Clarity Scale

As the saying goes, diamonds are forever, which only makes finding the right stone for you all the more important. But it can often be confusing when you first step into the dazzling world of diamonds, Where differing levels of clarity come into play, where grading charts, scales, and carats reign supreme, and where cuts and colors can make all the difference.

Be rest assured, we have you covered. Diamond Mansion’s all-encompassing guide offers all the information you could ever need when choosing that forever diamond. Your one-stop resource for expert advice on jewelry at every price point, we’re here to ensure that you’re making an informed choice.

So, regardless of whether you’re looking for that life-changing engagement ring before popping the question, that all-important diamond engagement ring to accompany the words “I do”, or an eternity ring to cement your commitment to the one you love, you’ve come to the right place..

What You Need to Know About
Diamond Clarity

The place to start with diamonds is the 4Cs; which, are the most important factors to consider when you’re in the market for a new diamond: carat, cut, color, and - last but certainly not least - clarity. Clarity is a vital consideration when determining a stone’s value, because a diamond’s clarity is partially what gives each gem its unique sparkle. And sparkle is the magic ingredient.

Diamond clarity refers to the scientific and qualitative rating assigned to each stone based on its unique visual purity.

By scrutinizing gems under 10-power magnification, which is the industry standard, experts can discern a diamond’s purity and, because not all diamonds are created equal, give it a corresponding grading.

The closer to 100% purity the diamond is, the more highly rated its clarity and the more it’s generally worth.

Diamond clarity largely comes down to two crucial factors which affect a gemstone’s visual purity: inclusions and blemishes.

Inclusions are tiny, often microscopic internal flaws in the mineral which have lingered and remain visible in the final cut gem. Caused by a number of factors, such as invasive solids, liquids, or gasses which have seeped into the carbon as the diamond was formed, the more inclusions a diamond has, the less pure it is.

Blemishes, on the other hand, are physical flaws found on the outside of the diamond. Often but not exclusively caused by environmental impacts on the stone during mining, cutting, polishing, or everyday wear, blemishes can range from scratches on a stone’s smooth surface to extra faces, which ruin a gem’s overall symmetry. Such imperfections lower a diamond’s purity and render it less valuable.

The reason that inclusions and blemishes impact a diamond’s value is that, fundamentally, they prevent natural light from being refracted internally in the diamond. This affects the stone’s innate sparkle, with each inclusion making it appear slightly more dull and each blemish making it that bit more cloudy. And most diamonds are riddled with imperfections: only about 20% of all diamonds mined are of a sufficient quality grade to be used as jewelry.

At the highest end of the scale, you’ll find diamonds which have earned a ‘flawless’ rating. These gems are exceedingly rare and, naturally, fetch the highest prices. Only the world’s most skilled gemologists are able to discern grades of clarity when it comes to the industry’s highest caliber gems, with differences between individual diamonds often minute.

What Determines a Diamond’s Clarity?

Given that diamond clarity is, for all intents and purposes, determined by an ultimate lack of flaws, what defines a gemstone’s overall clarity is imperfection and the nature of such flaws: how many of them there are, how they impact visibility and light refraction within the stone, and their location within the diamond.

Natural diamonds are ancient, formed deep in the Earth’s mantle at a depth of 80 to 120 miles, over billions of years. Diamonds occur when pure carbon, nature’s simple element, is exposed to unimaginable levels of pressure and heat, with temperatures regularly reaching 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Molded under these conditions, the carbon gradually crystallizes and is transformed into clear gemstones which are then pushed to the surface by volcanic eruptions.

Over their epic lifespans, diamonds are subjected to countless factors which can impact their clarity. Despite taking up to three billion years to form, the vast majority of diamonds are still not deemed pure enough for use in the jewelry industry, so the odds of a flawless diamond with perfect clarity emerging from its subterranean slumber in a burp of lava are astronomically slim.

On top of that, the process of determining a stone’s clarity is a subjective science, meaning that it can often take multiple gemologists to assess a diamond’s grading. But, when it comes to grading, there are five main factors which all experts focus on when assessing the impact inclusions have on a diamond’s clarity.

They are:

Size: The size of any inclusions within a gemstone is the biggest factor when determining diamond clarity for the simple reason that the larger the inclusions, the less clear and pure the diamond appears when viewed with the naked eye.

Number: The more inclusions within the diamonds, the less clear it becomes. Even if the imperfections are all relatively small, the fact that there are more of them negatively impacts the stone’s clarity.

Type: There are numerous types of inclusions, all with their own characteristics and natures, which have a uniquely different effect on a diamond’s clarity, meaning that experts have to assess how each diamond’s specific pattern of inclusions impacts its overall clarity.

Relief: The relief of inclusions essentially refers to the color contrast between the diamond and the inclusion itself, with more dramatic relief making flaws look darker and more noticeable.

Location: Where an inclusion lies in a diamond has a huge impact on its clarity. For example, an inclusion closer to the diamond’s table, which is the top facet seen when the stone is viewed face-up, is much more noticeable to the naked eye than an inclusion near the girdle, which is the outermost part of the diamond’s widest edge.

Who Invented
the Diamond Clarity Scale?

As the largest and most respected source of industry expertise in the world, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has utterly transformed the way diamonds are appraised and traded. Back in the 1940s and ‘50s, the GIA did three things to change the diamond industry forever: it created the Four Cs and the GIA International Diamond Grading System, it established best grading practices, and it instituted GIA Diamond Grading Reports for gemstones.

Famed for its unparalleled knowledge when it comes to gemstones, the GIA has a stellar reputation as the sector’s premier scientific authority, with its trade-leading reports inspiring immediate professional confidence around the world. Having established the universal barometers by which all diamonds are measured and graded, the GIA is the birthplace of industry standards and verification.

With its thorough and unbiased assessments trusted by museums, retailers, private collectors, and auction houses alike, the GIA was founded by Robert M. Shipley, who established the GIA in 1931 after recognising the need for an integrated international method for evaluating diamonds. Not only a center of research, the GIA has also become a world-class educational facility which has gone on to train more than 365,000 students.

Having set out with the mission statement of ensuring “public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science, and professionalism through education, research, laboratory services, and instrument development”, the GIA today operates 10 campuses, nine grading and gem identification labs, five lab take-in locations, and four research centers in 13 countries, including all the world’s major gem and jewelry centers.

With virtually every diamond on the market described and categorized using GIA terminology and grades, the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale is used in every corner of the globe, making it the foremost source for accuracy with regards to diamond clarity analysis.

Chapter 2

How Does the GIA Diamond
Clarity Scale Work?

Chapter 2 is all about GIA’s Diamond Clarity Scale

In this chapter you’ll learn:

  • The 6 main categories of diamond clarity scale
  • The 11 specific and unique clarity gradings.
  • choosing flawed vs flawless diamonds

So if you want to get a crash course on GIA Diamond Clarity Scale, you’ll really enjoy this chapter.

The bottom four rankings, which accommodate all the diamonds which feature any sort of internal inclusions, are then divided into a series of smaller subcategories, meaning that every single diamond can be given one of 11 specific and unique clarity gradings.

It takes a professionally-trained gemologist to accurately evaluate a diamond’s clarity and assign it a place on the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale. By appraising each stone’s unique fingerprint of inclusions and blemishes as well as the five core factors which impact diamond clarity - the size, number, type, relief, and location of those flaws - gemologists can sort each gem into a precise category.

While no single natural diamond is completely free of imperfections, in cases involving gemstones towards the top end of the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale, the defects can often be so tiny as to be all but unrecognizable. That’s what makes Flawless diamonds so valuable. Thankfully, gems with lesser clarity grades can still appear flawless to the naked eye - such stones are called ‘eye-clean’ diamonds.

With eye-clean diamonds, the inclusions present may render it ineligible to be officially categorized as Flawless under a 10x magnification, but are nevertheless invisible to the naked eye. At Diamond Mansion, we only sell the highest-quality natural, Earth-mined, untreated, 100% eye-clean diamonds certified by independent gemologists like the GIA. We also adhere to strict guidelines set by the internationally-recognised Kimberley Process, to ensure all our diamonds are also conflict-free.

The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale:


Flawless (FL)

A diamond is deemed Flawless if it shows no inclusions or blemishes when viewed under 10x magnification by a gemologist, meaning it is of the highest possible quality. Given that the vast majority of diamonds naturally feature some sort of imperfection, flawless gemstones are exceedingly rare: experts estimate that less than 1% of all diamonds across the globe boast true FL-level clarity.


Internally Flawless (IF)

Like Flawless diamonds, an Internally Flawless gemstone will not feature any visible internal inclusions when inspected by a gemologist under 10x magnification, but a skilled clarity grader will be able to spot some small surface blemishes. These stones are still very rare.


Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)

Split into VVS1 and VVS2, diamonds meeting this classification will feature internal inclusions so slight that it would take a highly-skilled gemologist to locate them under 10x magnification, meaning that such gemstones are still highly-valued. Diamonds are sorted into VVS1 or VVS2 according to the size, number, type, relief, and location of said inclusions.


Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)

Split into VS1 and VS2, the minor inclusions visible in such diamonds are visible to an untrained eye under 10x magnification when pointed out by a skilled gemologist. Still flawless to the naked eye, such gemstones - which are again sorted into VS1 or VS2 according to the nature of their inclusions - constitute the majority of the stones available on the retail market.


Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)

Split into SI1 and SI2, this category features inclusions which are easy to spot under 10x magnification for a skilled gemologist and which can even be apparent to an expert’s eye without magnification. The size, number, type, relief, and location of present inclusions impacts greatly on SI diamonds’ appeal and subsequent value.


Included (I1, I2, and I3)

These diamonds feature inclusions which can affect the gemstone’s transparency and sparkle and which are obvious under 10x magnification. Even at the higher end of the scale, I1 diamonds have inclusions which are visible to the naked eye, while I3 diamonds feature flaws which are striking to the naked eye.

Diamond Clarity Chart

Flawless/Internally Flawless (FL/IF)

These diamonds have no internal or external imperfections. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare and are the highest grade of diamonds.

  • 100% clean to the naked eye
  • 100% clean under 10x magnification

Very Very Small Inclusions 1 (VVS1)

Very Very Slightly Included (1st Degree) – These inclusions are not visible, even under 10x magnification.

  • 100% clean to the naked eye
  • 99% clean under 10x magnification

Very Very Small Inclusions 2 (VVS2)

Very Very Slightly Included (2nd Degree) – These diamonds have inclusions that are just barely visible under 10x magnification and are very difficult to find.

  • 100% clean to the naked eye
  • 98% clean under 10x magnification

Very Small Inclusions 1 (VS1)

Very Slightly Included (1st Degree) – VS1 inclusions are just barely visible when under 10x magnification, and can take a few seconds to identify.

  • 100% clean to the naked eye
  • 95% clean under 10x magnification

Very Small Inclusions 2 (VS2)

Very Slightly Included (2nd Degree) – VS2 inclusions are large enough to quickly identify under 10x magnification.

  • 99% clean to the naked eye
  • 90% clean under 10x magnification

Small Inclusions 1 (SI1)

Slightly Included (1st Degree) – SI1 diamond clarity inclusions are easily found at 10x magnification.

  • 90% clean to the naked eye
  • 70% clean under 10x magnification
  • At Diamond Mansion we only sell SI1s that are 100% clean to the naked eye
  • We do not sell or recommend SI1 clarity for emerald cut or asscher cut diamond shapes

Small Inclusions 2 (SI2)

Slightly Included (2nd Degree) – SI2 clarity inclusions can be seen clearly even more with the naked eye, and are obvious at 10x magnification. These inclusions are visible to the naked eye with emerald cut and asscher cut diamonds.

  • 80% clean to the naked eye
  • 50% clean under 10x magnification
  • At Diamond Mansion we don’t offer or recommend SI2’s; Unless it is 100% clean to the naked eye

I1 - Inclusions 1 (I1)

Included (1st Degree) – I1 clarity inclusions are visible to the naked eye on all diamond cuts, even brilliant cuts. They are more obvious than SI2 inclusions.

  • Not clean to the naked eye
  • We do not recommend these at Diamond Mansion

I2-I3 Included (I2-I3)

Included (2nd & 3rd Degree). These inclusions are obvious to the naked eye. These diamonds sit at the lower end of the grading scale.

  • Not clean to the naked eye
  • We do not recommend these at Diamond Mansion

Real Examples of Different Diamond Clarity










Choosing Flawed vs Flawless Diamonds

When it comes to deciding which category of the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale to make a purchase from, there are a couple of things to remember. The first is the vast majority of natural diamonds have flaws as a result of the dramatic and explosive process they undergo while they are forming. And the second thing to remember is that flaws aren’t necessarily a bad thing at all.

Not only are flawed diamonds cheaper than their far rarer flawless companions, but some people even see the unique patterns of harmless inclusions present in their gemstone as charming and special, like a birthmark or a fingerprint. Provided any imperfections don’t make the gem structurally weaker or significantly impact its shine, then flawed diamonds comfortably pass the eye test and will undoubtedly wow wherever they go.

The principal factors to consider when purchasing a diamond are the things you yourself will notice, which tend to be the diamond’s cut quality and its carat weight, rather than its clarity and color. The fact is that, the difference between an FL (Flawless) diamond and a VSI1 (Very Slightly Included 1st degree) diamond is almost entirely negligible to the naked eye, which is how the diamond will mainly be perceived. Any inclusions will be invisible.

While some may have their hearts set on truly Flawless gemstones, it is important not to forget to take other crucial factors into account, such as size and cut. An FL diamond looks good on paper, but it can pay not to overspend on factors that have a minimal influence on what the diamond looks like in day-to-day life. So long as the gemstone is eye-clean, which is to say of a lesser clarity grade yet still flawless to the naked eye, then your piece will have a lovely sparkle.

Particularly with smaller stones, which covers anything smaller than a .50 carat. Diamonds don’t have to have an FL or IF grading to be breathtaking as the viewable area is naturally limited, meaning that the vast majority of inclusions affect the overall finish far less. On the small scale, tiny imperfections can easily go unnoticed, so innate eye-catching brilliance is what you should be looking for, rather than where it places on the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale.

Chapter 3

Common Diamond Flaws

Now it’s time to dive into different types of diamond flaws.

Specifically, we are going to cover the most common internal & external flaws …

…although this section is interesting, it can be technical & overwhelming. 95% of diamond shoppers stick to GIA’s clarity chart, which summarizes the overall clarity flaws and blemishes with a single grade.

Let’s get started.

If asked to imagine the quintessential diamond, people will typically picture a classic gemstone defined by its sparkle and sharp edges - an immaculately lucid piece of jewelry inside which can be found countless tiny rainbows of color being refracted back and forth. But, as we’ve seen, only the tiniest fraction of diamonds are considered flawless, so we’re going to take a look at some of the myriad factors that impact a diamond’s nature and visual purity.

As we’ve established, the most common factors which negatively impact a diamond’s clarity are internal inclusions and external blemishes. And, given that the process required to turn simple carbon into diamonds is so extreme, taking billions of years, untold amounts of pressure, and temperatures of 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, the opportunities for any number of impurities to find their way into a diamond are almost countless.

Inclusions can be microscopic in size but influential in nature. Consisting of dirt, air bubbles, or other debris, inclusions prevent light from refracting within the stone and can even make it less structurally durable. Similarly, external blemishes such as scratches, cracks, and chips to a diamond’s facet can be miniscule, but can have a huge impact on a gemstone’s final finish.

In total, there are 16 different types of inclusions and 11 different types of external blemishes and here we take a look at what each one denotes, how they are often caused, and what impact they can have on a diamond’s clarity and nature.

External Diamond Blemishes


An abrasion on a diamond is a collection of extremely small snicks and scrapes situated on the edges of the gemstone’s facets, producing a pale fuzzy effect. Normally caused by the slightly haphazard handling of jewelry, an abrasion typically occurs when the gem’s facet junctions are rubbed against something hard, leading to furry nicks and scuffs that are glaringly apparent under 10x magnification.

Extra facet

A gemstone’s facets are its faces - the flat surfaces produced by the geometric cut of the diamond. Normally found near the girdle, which is the outer edge of the diamond at its widest point, an extra facet is an additional face which interrupts the stone’s symmetry. Often introduced when polishing out a blemish, extra facets do not impact a diamond’s clarity, however, with higher grade diamonds often featuring them.

Lizard skin

A lizard skin blemish is a slightly bumpy finish to the surface of a polished diamond, which occurs when the gemstone is polished in the incorrect direction. Despite immediately catching the eye under 10x magnification, lizard skin can be easily polished out and corrected without affecting the diamond’s overall durability, and is essentially the gemological equivalent to the effect you see on wood when you sand against the grain.


A natural is a section of original, rough ‘skin’ left on a polished diamond, which normally consists of tiny triangles known as trigons or of a series of sharp lines. Naturals are usually found near the gem’s girdle but do not affect a diamond’s integrity and can be polished away easily on request. They are not to be confused with indented naturals, however, which differ in that they encroach deeper into the diamond’s core.


A nick on a diamond is a small chip located on a diamond’s facet junction where two faces meet, typically along the girdle edge or at the culet, which is the base point where the lower facets meet. Normally caused by wear and tear, nicks are one of the few blemishes that impact the diamond’s integrity by making further blows more likely to cause fractures and cracks, but they can be polished out by creating extra facets.


A pit is a tiny cavity within a diamond, with the minute surface opening appearing as a white dot on the gemstone. Caused when polishers remove pinpoint inclusions from a diamond, pits are hard to remove and can vary in severity depending on their location: a small pit on the pavilion (the diamond’s underside) is far less noticeable than a larger pit on the table (the gemstone’s flat top), which can greatly impact a diamond’s clarity.

Polish lines

A series of very fine, parallel notches and grooves which are left behind by the diamond polishing process, polish lines occur on gemstones’ facets, but not across their facet junctions. Normally white and transparent in nature, polish lines can occur when the diamond is polished against the grain as is the case with lizard skin, or too hastily. If noticeable, however, polish lines can be easily corrected by re-polishing.

Burn mark

When polishing a diamond too aggressively, excessive heat can be created, leading to a burn mark, which is a hazy, cloudy area on the gem’s surface. Also caused by exposure to other heat - such as in a house fire - burn marks cause an unappealing stain on a diamond, which can lead to discoloration, but thankfully don’t impact the gem’s integrity, and can even be removed with a more careful polish job.

Rough girdle

A rough girdle is when the diamond’s girdle (the perimeter at its widest point) features an irregular surface. Also describing a grainy or pitted effect, a rough girdle is not caused by poor polishing or handling, but is simply a reflection of what the original pre-cut diamond looked like and has typically been left so as not to reduce the diamond’s carat weight. Only in rare cases does a rough girdle impact integrity.


A scratch is a thin white line across a diamond’s surface, which can be caused by handling, storing, or wearing the gem as well as when it’s mounted into a piece of jewelry, or even when it is being transported in diamond paper alongside other stones. While scratches tend to accumulate naturally over time as a result of general wear and tear, they do not impact the diamond’s integrity and can typically be easily polished out.

Surface graining

The result of irregularities in the crystal, surface graining is when a gem presents the occasional non-uniform yet natural line, angle, or curve. Often invisible to the naked eye, surface graining may be a natural occurrence caused by one part of the diamond forming faster than another, but it can impact a diamond’s clarity by preventing light from being refracted around a gem.

Internal Diamond Inclusions


One of the most common kinds of inclusion, a feather is the all-encompassing gemologists’ term for a crack in a diamond, given that such breaks usually appear whitish and feather-like within a stone. While smaller cases can be almost invisible, more dramatic feathers that reach the surface can have a significant impact on not only the appearance, clarity, and colouration of a gemstone, but also on its structural integrity.

Bearded girdle

A bearded girdle is a collection of tiny hairlike fine lines which stretch from the diamond’s girdle to the gemstone’s center, which often emerges during the cutting process. If infested with a proliferation of the minute feathers which extend into the core of the diamond, a bearded girdle can make the gem appear fuzzy and cloudy, impacting its overall clarity.


Despite being the hardest substance on Earth, diamonds can still bruise, with bruise inclusions formed of small impacted areas surrounded by tiny feathers. Usually located at a diamond’s facet junction, owing to the fact that such areas are on a diamond’s extremities, bruises on gemstones are thankfully uncommon, but tend to look like miniaturized versions of what a windscreen looks like after it is hit by a stone.


A diamond cavity is an angled opening at the gemstone’s surface. Usually caused during the polishing process, cavities can be large and deep and tend to occur when an inclusion within the diamond comes away from the gem as a result of a bump or a knock. The impact dislodges the existing inclusion, leaving a crevasse on the surface which, depending on its location, can significantly impact a diamond’s clarity.


A chip is a slight opening on the diamond’s surface which is usually found towards the gemstone’s extremes, such as at the culet, a facet junction, or at the girdle edge. Typically man-made in that they are usually caused by accidental knocks or natural wear and tear, chips tend to be small and shallow but are visible to the naked eye and can even cause structural issues when it comes to a diamond’s integrity if large enough.


A cloud is a broad term used by gemologists to describe a cluster of tightly grouped pinpoint inclusions which give the area a hazy and fuzzy visage. Not one single inclusion but a collection of smaller flaws which, when corralled together, can pose a threat to the diamond’s overall clarity, a cloud’s severity is largely defined by its size. A cloud near the diamond’s table (its flat top) can give the entire gemstone a milky color.


When another mineral crystal is found within a diamond, the inclusion is called a crystal inclusion. Often transparent but sometimes colorful, crystals can either be highly undesirable or comparatively innocuous depending entirely on the type of mineral. Some crystal inclusions are made of separate diamonds, like ice floating in water, while carbon crystals are black, impacting the diamond’s clarity grade to a far greater extent.

Grain center

A grain center in a diamond is a relatively small and concentrated patch of distortion in the crystal caused by irregular growth. Sometimes white or darker in color, a grain center can unfortunately not be removed from a diamond as they lie deep within the gemstone. Nevertheless, grain centers are a rare form of inclusion and some can even end up having minimal impact on a gem’s clarity if they sit in the right place.

Internal graining

Internal graining within a diamond is caused by irregular crystal growth, forming a series of lines, angles, and curves which feature a hazy tint when viewed under 10x magnification. Appearing like footprints left in the snow, the crystal particles scattered inside the diamond can affect light refraction within the gemstone, and while they sadly can not be removed, they happily remain a rare occurrence.

Indented natural

With the diamond blemish known as a natural being a section of original, rough ‘skin’ left on a polished diamond, an indented natural is when a portion of the original skin is recessed into the stone’s surface below its fellow polished facets. Depending on its severity, an indented natural can even feature internal graining, but less invasive cases are innocuous and can even be considered a unique fingerprint.

Internal laser drilling

When a gemologist drills into a diamond using a laser and creates a feather which breaks the gemstone’s surface, this is known as an internal laser drilling inclusion. Usually employed to carry out bleaching, which allows experts to decrease the viability of inclusions of a darker coloration, laser drilling can also cause further inclusions by expanding pre-existing feathers in the diamond.


A knot inclusion in a diamond describes a whitish or transparent crystal, which stretches to the polished surface of a finished diamond. At times appearing as if causing a raised area on one of the gemstone’s facets, a knot can affect the durability of a diamond and differs from a crystal inclusion in that it distorts the stone’s shape - they can also widen, fracture, crack, and leave a huge cavity should they fall out of the diamond.

Laser drill hole

So tiny as to be typically invisible to the naked eye, laser drill holes are miniscule surface-piercing shafts in a diamond produced by an infrared laser beam. After a diamond undergoes treatment for another type of inclusion, a tunnel less than the width of a hair remains and, while such treatments are common and highly successful, lingering laser drill holes can make a gemstone slightly more susceptible to cracks.


A pinpoint appears as a very tiny dot even when viewed at 10x magnification. Consisting of extremely small crystals inside a diamond’s internal structure, pinpoints are widely considered to be the most benign of inclusions because they are so hard to see with the naked eye. When three or more pinpoints gather in one singular cluster, it forms a cloud inclusion but, otherwise, pinpoints are considered to be largely innocuous.


A needle in a diamond is a skinny elongated crystal which is normally either white or transparent and which is visible at 10x magnification. Similar to pinpoints and clouds, the more rod-like needles are one of the more common brands of inclusion and tend to pose very little threat to a diamond’s clarity unless they are joined by other needles in a cluster, which can lead to a hazy visage within the diamond itself.

Twinning wisp

A twinning wisp is a collection of pinpoints, clouds, or crystals formed along the diamond’s twinning plane due to an irregularity in the growth process. Such a deformity occurs when a gemstone stops growing due to unfavorable conditions before restarting again (sometimes thousands of years later) in a different direction. Twinning wisps only tend to cause clarity issues if they are so dense as to appear milky.

Chapter 4

Correcting Blemishes and Inclusions

In this short chapter, we'll cover a few ways that diamond clarity can be treated to make the inclusions appear less visible or completely invisible.

We will also cover what diamond shapes show their inclusions more and which ones mask it better.

Certain flaws on a diamond can be corrected with a professional polish job, but there are also further steps you can take to improve your diamond’s clarity, quality, and color as well. With evermore impressive scientific methods emerging, here are some of the most common industry treatments. Diamonds that go through such treatments are referred to as Treated Diamonds, Clarity Enhanced Diamonds, Enhanced Diamonds or Yehuda Diamonds.


Diamond coating

This is when a gemstone is coated in an ultra-thin layer of chemicals to mask its true color - for example, a diamond with a yellowish hue can be made to look more colorless with a blue coating. Typically only applied to the stone’s girdle or pavilion, a coat can be hard to detect but will wear off over time.



Naturally, diamonds turn green when exposed to radiation underground, but by putting gemstones into a particle accelerator, their color can be changed artificially. Known as irradiation, this process makes diamonds more sensitive to heat produced during repairs, cutting, and polishing, which can cause their color to change further.



A controlled heating and cooling process employed after irradiation to further alter a diamond’s color, annealing can produce clear brown, orange, yellow, pink, red, and purple gemstones, but can also create black diamonds by causing graphite to form in feathers. In fact, more artificial black diamonds are created than occur naturally.


High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT)

A method of annealing at higher temperatures and pressures, HPHT treatment can grow lab-created diamonds and change natural diamonds’ color. Usually employed to lighten brownish diamonds and make them colorless, HPHT is a stable and permanent treatment method which can be exceedingly hard to detect.


Laser drilling

Dark inclusions can be treated by boring a miniscule hole into a diamond and inserting bleaching agent into the tunnel to neutralize the flaw. The residual channel can make the diamond more fragile, leading some to have it filled with glass resin. Note that the GIA does not grade diamonds filled with a foreign substance.


Fracture filling

Fracture filling is a method of hiding feathers by injecting a diamond with molten glass-like resin to make the crack less visible. Not a stable or permanent treatment given that the filling can become damaged or discolored, fracture filling will disqualify a diamond from receiving a GIA grade.

With methods growing more sophisticated all the time, treated diamonds are often just as beautiful as their natural counterparts and come with much lower price tags. However, the GIA will only issue grading reports for treated diamonds provided the treatment they have undergone is stable or permanent, such as laser drilling or HPHT color enhancement. Diamonds featuring non-permanent or unstable treatments like coating or fracture filling will not receive a report.

At Diamond Mansion we do NOT recommend, offer or sell any treated diamonds. We believe what makes diamonds valuable and forever is their organic forming deep within nature. Further a treated diamond is a very poor investment as its resale value is often multiple times less than its retail purchase value.

Hiding Inclusions and Blemishes Using Diamond Shape

When it comes to masking inclusions and blemishes within a diamond, it’s not all about treatment. Often something as simple as the diamond’s shape can have a huge impact:

The more complex and multifaceted the table (the top surface area) of the diamond, the better it is at refracting light and hiding inclusions.

A few examples of shapes (cuts) that hide the clarity better are:

Round Cut

Cushion Cut

Oval Cut

Radiant Cut

Princess Cut

Marquise Cut

Heart Cut

For the shapes mentioned above you can go as low as SI1 or even SI2 clarity grade and still find a nice Eye-Clean diamond.

Whereas, the flatter tables on emerald cuts, asscher cuts, and baguettes result in a more transparent view into the stone and its inclusions. For these shapes we recommend a minimum clarity of VS2, preferably VS1.

At Diamond Mansion we hand select every diamond to make sure no matter what the shape or the clarity, the diamond you purchase is 100% clean to a naked eye. We do not recommend, offer, or sell any diamonds with a clarity grading of less than SI2 (less than VS2 in emerald, asscher & baguette cuts)

Chapter 5

Questions to Ask
Before Making a Purchase

In this chapter, we will cover a few additional general details that you need to pay attention to before making your final purchase.

  • What are the other Cs of the 4Cs?
  • Should I Buy a GIA Certified Diamond?
  • How about the warranty?
  • What if I want to upgrade my diamond in the future?
  • Are there inclusions in Lab Grown Diamonds?

The main questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing a diamond concern the 4Cs - cut, clarity, color, and carat. After you have established your personal priorities when it comes to the 4Cs, you can make a far more informed decision. With Diamond Mansion offering a 30-day no questions asked, full money back guarantee on any purchases, a lifetime warranty covering damages during normal everyday wear, and lifetime maintenance free of charge.


As we’ve seen, a diamond’s clarity reflects the size, number, and visibility of any external blemishes and internal inclusions a diamond possesses.


A diamond’s cut refers to the quality of the workmanship on show when it comes to a gemstone’s proportions, facets, and symmetry. Rather than describing a piece’s shape, the cut is what dictates a diamond’s sparkle, with each stone assigned a rating of ‘Excellent’, ‘Very Good’, ‘Good’, ‘Fair’, or ‘Poor’.


Somewhat counterintuitively, a diamond’s color grading actually measures an absence of color, seeing as the less trace coloring a diamond possesses, the more valuable it is. There are 23 color grades on the D-to-Z scale: D is no detectable color and Z denotes a light coloration and, while D-, E-, and F-grade diamonds are extremely rare, G- and H-grade diamonds are typically considered the sweet-spot for value.


A diamond’s weight is referred to as its carat: the higher the carat, the larger and, generally, the more valuable the gem. How large each diamond appears to the naked eye, however, depends on its proportions and cut - two gems of the exact same carat will look very different if one has balanced proportions and a more professional cut, while the other has wider and shallower measurements.

After you have decided on and purchased a diamond from Diamond Mansion, you are also entitled to lifetime upgrades on all GIA-certified diamonds originally purchased from us. When upgrading, you will get 100% of your original purchase price toward a new diamond, provided that the new piece is at least twice the price of your original diamond and that your diamond is in its original condition, with its corresponding certificate. That way, diamonds truly are forever.

GIA Diamond Grading Reports

When looking to accurately ascertain a diamond’s quality and authenticity, a must-have resource is a GIA Diamond Grading Report. The premier standard in diamond credentials, a GIA Diamond Grading Report reflects the unbiased and scientific evaluation of respected gemologists, containing everything from an assessment of a gem’s 4Cs to a plotted diagram of its clarity characteristics and its proportions. Fundamentally, it is proof of what you are buying.

Diamonds are often a considerable financial and emotional expenditure, so a guarantee of authenticity offers invaluable peace of mind. A GIA Diamond Grading Report details the ways in which each diamond is truly unique, giving you all the information you will ever need to ensure that you are making as informed a decision as possible when browsing, buying, or selling.

Clarity in Lab-grown Diamonds

While natural diamonds are formed in extreme and unpredictable conditions, lab-grown diamonds are created in a far more controlled environment and, as a result, are more likely to have higher clarity gradings. Boasting the exact same chemical properties, lab-grown diamonds are just as visually-stunning as their Earth-grown counterparts, with some expert gemologists finding it almost impossible to tell natural and artificial gemstones apart.

But that’s not to say that lab-grown diamonds are all flawless. Lab-grown diamonds created using the two most popular methods, high pressure/high temperature (HPHT) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD), can still feature inclusions. HPHT can result in tiny metallic inclusions as a result of the metallic flux process, which transfers the carbon onto the diamond seed, while CVD can produce small, black graphite inclusions, which form as the diamond grows.

Regardless of its provenance, every diamond is graded by the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale and, while there are differences in how inclusions in natural and lab-grown diamonds appear, expert testing is required to ascertain a stone’s true nature. Characteristics common in lab-grown diamonds include growth remnants, which are tiny crystal- or pinpoint-like inclusions which form as part of the growth process, and remnant clouds, which are clusters of growth remnants.

Chapter 6

How Does Diamond Clarity
Affect Price?

Now it’s time to transition into one of the most important questions about diamond clarity.

How does different grades of diamond clarity affect its price?

In this chapter we will show you a real time example on how the price of a diamond increases as its clarity is increased while other factors are constant.

Generally, a diamond with a higher clarity rating will fetch a higher price, but the correlation between grade and cost is not necessarily linear. Based on our latest market research as of January 2023, the approximate cost of a one carat, Earth-mined, round-cut GIA-certified diamond of G color with excellent cut quality, polish, and symmetry increases as such:

Clarity grade increase: Approximate price increase:
From SI2 to SI1 37%
From SI1 to VS2 42%
From VS2 to VS1 14%
From VS1 to VVS2 10%
From VVS2 to VVS1 9%
From VVS1 to IF 10%

Below is a more detailed price chart of round cut diamonds with different clarity grades and carat size. All diamonds are G color, Excellent Polish, Symmetry & Cut.

Diamond Clarity Price Comparison Chart Example

Earth Mined Round Cut GIA Certified Diamond
G Color | Excellent Cut, Polish & Symmetry | No Fluorescent
Carat IF VVS1 VVS2 VS1 VS2 SI1 SI2
1 Carat $11,000 $10,000 $9,200 $8,400 $7,400 $5,200 $3,800
1.5 Carat $24,000 $21,000 $18,500 $17,500 $15,500 $12,500 $10,000
2 Carat $45,000 $40,000 $35,000 $32,000 $29,000 $26,000 $19,000
3 Carat $110,000 $95,000 $85,000 $80,000 $68,000 $54,000 $46,000
4 Carat $210,000 $170,000 $155,000 $145,000 $125,000 $110,000 $80,000
5 Carat $380,000 $300,000 $250,000 $220,000 $200,000 $150,000 $120,000
* Please note prices shown above are just approximates (used for comparison illustration).
Based on our expert market price research as of Jan, 2023. Actual price at the time of purchase may vary.

Fundamentally, clarity is not generally regarded as the most important of the 4Cs, with a Diamond cut & color considered by gemologists to be more influential given it can make a diamond catch the light better, appear larger, and mask imperfections - it all comes down to personal preference.

Chapter 7

Bottom Line Tips & Recommendations

This last chapter is a list of some of our favorite diamond clarity tips, recommendations & FAQs.

If you still got questions feel free to email or call one of our diamond guides for unbiased help.

Let’s get to the bottom of this.

Diamond Clarity: Buying Tips

When browsing the market for your forever diamond, there are a few crucial things to bear in mind - pointers which will help you land the perfect gemstone at the right price for you.


Know what you’re buying

Once a piece has caught your eye, get to know it inside and out. Examine its GIA Diamond Grading Report and review the clarity plot, which details the size and nature of every inclusion and blemish. By combining personal preference with thorough expert guidance, you can rest easy knowing you’re making an informed choice.


Avoid overpaying

At the very top of the clarity scale, degrees of difference are so minute as to be discernible only by experts, so it can pay to go for a diamond with a lower grading, provided it’s still eye-clean. You can then invest the money you’ve saved by choosing a Very Slightly Included gemstone over an Internally Flawless piece on things like carat weight and cut quality.


Be clarity-smart

When opting for an eye-clean gemstone with a lower clarity grading, you can still land a brilliant diamond by paying attention to its cut. The facets in round-cut gems make them the best at hiding inclusions, while cushion, oval, radiant, marquise, pear, princess, and radiant cuts refract more light, obscuring imperfections within. Conversely, the flatter facets on asscher, emerald, and baguette cuts offer an unimpeded view into the diamond, making inclusions more noticeable.

Diamond Clarity: Dos and Don’ts

To make sure you’re armed with the knowledge of what to look for, here are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to diamond clarity:

Do: Look for an eye-clean diamond, as such stones can offer the best option for buyers looking to find a balance between affordability and striking brilliance.

Do: Keep in mind that the location of any inclusions within a gemstone is hugely influential. Imperfections restricted to the edges of a diamond are less noticeable than those concentrated in the middle.

Do: When examining a diamond, move away from harsh lighting, which is designed to unnaturally enhance and accentuate a diamond’s sparkle.

Do: Remember that, fundamentally, personal preference is a key factor to consider as well. This is your diamond, so choose the piece you’ve fallen in love with.

Don’t: Overspend on a diamond purely because it boasts a higher clarity grading, such as a FL, IF, or VVSI. If a piece is eye-clean, any imperfections are only detectable under 10x magnification.

Don’t: Choose a diamond which has inclusions under its table, which is the gemstone’s visible facet when viewed from above. Such imperfections will be far more visible once the piece is mounted.

Don’t: Forget each imperfection has a unique impact on clarity. Some are numerous but inconsequential, others are few but influential.

Don’t: Disregard the other 4Cs, including factors such as a gemstone’s carat weight and cut, which can often have a far greater influence on your diamond’s overall brilliance and sparkle than its clarity grading.

Having trouble navigating the diamond buying minefield?
We are happy to help.

Contact Us

Diamond Clarity FAQs

What is diamond clarity?

Diamond clarity refers to the scientific and qualitative rating assigned to each stone, based on its unique visual purity.

How is it measured?

A diamond’s clarity is graded by a gemologist, who scrutinizes it under 10-power magnification, which is the industry standard, enabling them to discern its purity.

What are inclusions and blemishes?

Inclusions are tiny, often microscopic internal flaws in the mineral which have lingered and remain visible in the final cut gem, while blemishes are physical flaws found on the outside of the diamond

What are the main factors that impact clarity?

The main factors that impact a diamond’s clarity are inclusions and blemishes and the nature of such flaws, including their size, how many of them there are, their location, and their relief (color).

How does the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale work?

The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale is split into six distinct categories (Flawless, Internally Flawless, Very Very Slightly Included, Very Slightly Included, Slightly Included, and Included), the bottom four of which are divided into a series of smaller subcategories. This means that every single diamond can be given one of 11 specific clarity gradings.

How do cuts impact clarity?

The diamond’s cut impacts clarity by either obscuring or highlighting inclusions. Multi-faceted tables (the top facet of a diamond when viewed from above) can disguise imperfections by encouraging light refraction within the gemstone, while flat tables offer an unimpeded view into the stone.

How does clarity affect price?

Generally, a diamond with a higher clarity rating will fetch a higher price, but the correlation between grade and cost is not necessarily linear.

What are lab-grown diamonds?

Lab-grown diamonds are man-made gemstones which boast the exact same chemical properties as their natural counterparts, with some expert gemologists finding it almost impossible to tell natural and artificial gemstones apart.

Diamond Mansion’s Standard of Clarity

At Diamond Mansion, we’ve made the process of choosing your diamond or engagement ring as straightforward as possible: simply choose one of our three clarity options (Absolutely Clean, Very Clean, or Clean) and browse our fabulous selection of thousands of eye-clean gemstones from ethical diamond suppliers across the world.


Absolutely Clean

This is our premier diamond clarity option, incorporating stones that fall into the Internally Flawless and Very Very Slightly Included (1st degree and 2nd degree) categories on the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale.


Very Clean

This is our best-selling clarity option, incorporating stones that fall into the Very Slightly Included (1st degree and 2nd degree) category on the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale.



This is our best-value clarity option for those looking for an eye-clean diamond, incorporating stones that fall into the Slightly Included 1st degree category on the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale.

When it comes to the selection of diamonds for our customers, Diamond Mansion’s strict standards are upheld with expertise, integrity, and accuracy. No matter which of our three options you choose, we can guarantee you will be selecting a 100% eye-clean diamond brimming with brilliance, so you know you’ll be getting a dream gemstone with a unique sparkle.

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