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How Clarity Ratings Are Done

The industry standard clarity grading is done with a loupe of 10X (10-Power). Diamond grades are always determined at 10X.

graphic of a large 10X

What Does “eye clean” Mean?

The term eye-clean is used to describe diamonds that have no visible inclusions to the naked eye when viewed in the face-up position from no closer than 9" to 12". This is the way most diamonds are seen in their setting.

Essential to a diamond’s wow factor is its clarity. Surprisingly, clarity is not rated by how clear the diamond is, but rather by the presence of anything that makes it less clear. These include internal features, called inclusions and external surface irregularities called blemishes.

Combined, we call them clarity characteristics.

Inclusions and Blemishes

Internal inclusions are caused by any material trapped inside the stone during its formation, as well as any growth irregularities. The size and number of inclusions, their degree of visibility, and their position in the diamond are all considerations in the quality and value of a stone. Blemishes include features like scratches or nicks on the surface of the diamond.

Clarity Grading Factors

Five factors determine the clarity grade:

  • Size

    Large inclusions affect clarity more than small ones.

  • Number

    It isn’t just a matter of counting inclusions. A stone might have many small inclusions and still have a high clarity grade. One or two of the largest inclusion usually set the grade.

  • Position

    An inclusion’s position also affects its visibility. Inclusions are more visible under the table (the top, flat part you usually see first), than they are under the bezel facets or near the girdle (the wide, outermost diameter of the diamond).

  • Nature

    The nature of a diamond's inclusion also influences its clarity grade. Large feathers, or areas in a diamond that block the light, have a greater impact on the clarity grade than any other inclusions.

  • Visibility

    Dark inclusions are easier to see so they have a greater impact on the clarity grade than colorless inclusions.

Clarity Grades

Chart depicting clarity grades

  • FL (Flawless)

    Flawless diamonds show no inclusions or blemishes of any kind while examined under 10X magnification. These are very rare.

  • IF (Internally Flawless)

    Internally Flawless diamonds show no inclusions using 10X magnification. They will have some minor blemishes such as surface grain lines naturals and extra facets. These are rare.

  • VVS1~VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included)

    VVS diamonds contain very small inclusions that are difficult for experienced graders to see under 10X magnification and cannot be seen by the naked eye. Inclusions may be pinpoints or tiny feathers.

  • VS1~VS2 (Very Slightly Included)

    VS diamonds contain small or minor inclusions viewed under 10X magnification with slight difficulty. VS diamonds typically have small clouds, feathers, included crystals, and needles.

  • SI1~SI2 (Slightly Included):

    SI diamonds contain inclusions that are noticeable to an experienced grader under 10X magnification. An SI1 in should appear to be eye-clean, while the inclusions of an SI2 can be seen by the naked eye. Typical inclusions are clouds, cavities, knots, crystals, and feathers.

  • I1~I2 and I3 (Included):

    Diamonds that fall in the I range contain inclusions that can be easily seen with the naked eye and very easily seen under 10X magnification. They may contain large crystals and include feathers where, in some cases, may affect brilliance and transparency.

The Black by Brian Gavin Approach to Clarity

The Black by Brian Gavin Approach to Clarity Black by Brian Gavin diamonds represent the height of brilliance, scintillation, and beauty. They all fall within the IF–VS2 range for clarity. When combined with an exquisite cut, you’ll get the most dazzling performance possible from a Black by Brian Gavin. That’s because a precise and balanced cut will optimize a diamond’s brilliance, light dispersion, and brightness.

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