Diamond Color: Grade Chart and Buying Tips for Beginners

Diamonds are not only a symbol of enduring love but also a significant investment. When shopping for diamonds, beginners often find themselves navigating through a plethora of information, including the renowned Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Diamond Clarity Scale. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of diamond color, specifically focusing on the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale, the best clarity grade, different types of inclusions, frequently asked questions, and essential buying tips for beginners.


Understanding the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale

The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale is a standardized grading system developed by the Gemological Institute of America, the leading authority in gemology. The scale ranges from Flawless (no internal or external flaws visible under 10x magnification) to Included (inclusions visible to the naked eye). The clarity grades include:

GIA Diamond Clarity Scale

  1. Flawless (FL) – No inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification.
  2. Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions visible under 10x magnification; slight blemishes may be present.
  3. Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1-VVS2) – Minute inclusions difficult to detect under 10x magnification.
  4. Very Slightly Included (VS1-VS2) – Minor inclusions observed under 10x magnification but not visible to the naked eye.
  5. Slightly Included (SI1-SI2) – Inclusions noticeable under 10x magnification but usually not visible without magnification.
  6. Included (I1-I3) – Inclusions visible to the naked eye, affecting transparency and brilliance.


The Best Clarity Grade vs. The Best Clarity Grade for You

Choosing the best clarity grade for a diamond is a nuanced decision that involves balancing various factors to suit your preferences and budget. While many might be drawn to the idea of owning a diamond with the highest clarity grade, it’s essential to understand that the “best” clarity grade may not always be the best for you. Let’s explore the diamond color guide and the considerations between the highest clarity grade and the one that aligns with your unique requirements.


The Best Clarity Grade – Pursuit of Perfection

Flawless (FL) and Internally Flawless (IF)

The highest clarity grades, Flawless (FL) and Internally Flawless (IF), indicate diamonds with no visible inclusions under 10x magnification. These diamonds are exceptionally rare and often come with a premium price tag. The allure of owning a flawless diamond is undeniable, but practicality and personal preferences must be taken into account.


The Best Clarity Grade for You – Balancing Act

Very Very Slightly Included (VVS) and Very Slightly Included (VS)

For most buyers, diamonds falling within the Very Very Slightly Included (VVS) and Very Slightly Included (VS) categories offer an optimal balance of quality and value. In these grades, inclusions are minimal and often invisible to the naked eye. Choosing a diamond with VVS or VS clarity allows you to enjoy a nearly flawless appearance without the hefty price associated with FL or IF diamonds.


Factors to Consider:

  1. Budget Constraints

While a flawless diamond is a symbol of perfection, it comes at a premium. Assess your budget and determine whether the cost of a higher clarity grade aligns with your overall spending plan.

  1. Visual Preferences

Consider your personal tolerance for imperfections. Some individuals are more sensitive to inclusions than others. Opting for a slightly lower clarity grade might not compromise the visual appeal if inclusions are not noticeable without magnification.

  1. Purpose of the Diamond

If the diamond is intended for an engagement ring or a piece of jewelry worn daily, a slightly lower clarity grade may be pragmatic. Inclusions that are invisible to the naked eye but significantly impact the price can be a wise compromise for an everyday piece.

  1. Individuality of the Diamond

Each diamond is unique, and the presence of certain inclusions can be a distinguishing feature. Some inclusions may be viewed as nature’s signature on your precious gem, adding character and uniqueness.


Different Types of Inclusions in Diamond Clarity

Inclusions are natural imperfections within diamonds that affect their clarity. Common inclusions include:

Different Types of Inclusions in Diamond Clarity


  • Description: Small cracks or fractures that resemble feathers within the diamond.
  • Impact: Depending on the size and location, feathers may be harmless or may affect the diamond’s durability.


  • Description: A group of tiny, closely spaced inclusions that create a hazy or cloudy appearance.
  • Impact: Clouds can affect transparency and brilliance, especially if they are large or numerous.


  • Description: Long, thin crystals that may resemble needles or hair-like inclusions.
  • Impact: While small needles may be inconspicuous, larger ones can affect the diamond’s clarity and brilliance.


  • Description: Tiny, pinpoint-sized crystals that may be clustered together.
  • Impact: Pinpoints are often insignificant, but their density and arrangement can influence the diamond’s appearance.

Internal Graining:

  • Description: Irregularities in crystal structure that create faint lines within the diamond.
  • Impact: Internal graining may be subtle and not always visible, but pronounced graining can affect the diamond’s transparency.


FAQs About Diamond Clarity

Q1: Can I see inclusions with the naked eye in a VS clarity diamond? In most cases, inclusions in VS clarity diamonds are not visible without magnification. However, individual eyesight and preferences vary, so it’s advisable to examine the diamond in person.

Q2: Are inclusions covered by a warranty or insurance? Insurance may cover damage to the diamond, but it typically doesn’t cover natural inclusions. Check with your jeweler or insurer for specific details.

Q3: Can inclusions affect the durability of a diamond? Generally, small inclusions don’t affect the durability of a diamond. However, large or numerous inclusions might compromise the stone’s integrity.


Buying Tips for Beginners

  1. Prioritize Cut: A well-cut diamond enhances its brilliance and can mask certain inclusions. Opt for an excellent or ideal cut for maximum sparkle.
  2. Consider Clarity Enhancement: Some diamonds undergo treatments to improve clarity. Be aware of any enhancements and their impact on the diamond’s value.
  3. Choose a Trusted Jeweler: Purchase from reputable jewelers with GIA or other reputable certifications, ensuring transparency and quality.
  4. Balance Your Budget: Allocate your budget wisely across the four Cs (cut, color, clarity, carat weight). Prioritize aspects that are most important to you.
  5. Use a Loupe: When inspecting diamonds, use a jeweler’s loupe to view inclusions. This allows you to see details under magnification similar to what a gemologist would use.



Understanding diamond clarity is crucial for making an informed purchase. By familiarizing yourself with the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale, considering the best clarity grade for your preferences, recognizing different types of inclusions, addressing common FAQs, and following essential buying tips, you can embark on your diamond-buying journey with confidence and make a choice that reflects both quality and personal style.…