What does diamond clarity mean and why is it important?

At ADC Online, you’ll always receive full disclosure about the characteristics of each diamond, including the “Four Cs”. This refers to colour, clarity, cut and carat weight.

The clarity of a diamond impacts its overall appearance, so it’s important to keep in mind when purchasing a diamond.


The clarity grade of a diamond indicates how many internal and external flaws a diamond has, along with the size and visibility of these flaws.

Internal characteristics are called inclusions and external characteristics are called blemishes. When assessing the clarity of a diamond, the size, position, type and number of these inclusions and blemishes are all considered.


There are six categories on the clarity scale and eleven grades in total across this scale.

Flawless (FL) – these diamonds are extremely rare. They have no inclusions or blemishes that are visible under 10x magnification.

Internally Flawless (IF) – there are no inclusions and only blemishes are visible under 10x magnification.

Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – this means the inclusions are so slight that they are hard for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.

Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – inclusions can be observed with effort under 10x magnification, but they can be characterised as minor.

Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification. SI1 is the lowest grade that inclusions are invisible to the naked eye. SI2 flaws are usually visible to some degree on close inspection.

Included (I1, I2 and I3) – inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification, which may affect transparency and brilliance.


The good news for your budget is that your diamond doesn’t have to be classified as ‘Flawless’ to be beautiful. Flawless diamonds are very rare and therefore considerably more expensive.

If you want to save some money, you can opt for a diamond that is further down the clarity scale. Keep in mind that you won’t be looking at your diamond under 10x magnification, so slight inclusions won’t make too much of a difference to the overall look of your diamond.

If a stone is heavily included, then light won’t be able to pass unobstructed through the stone. However, if you choose a stone with a SI1 clarity or above, the sparkle won’t be impacted by inclusions. Regardless, sparkle is more determined more by the cut than the clarity.

As a general guide, you should aim for a diamond that has no inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. In saying that, even a diamond that is graded S12 usually has visible inclusions, however some can only be detected by a trained professional.


Clarity is important, however it’s just one component of your diamond. As mentioned, if you’re looking for sparkle, the way the stone has been cut is more critical than its clarity. Even a diamond with good clarity will appear dull if it’s cut poorly.

The colour also makes a difference – generally it’s best to opt for diamonds that are relatively colourless. The colour scale goes from D-Z – D being completely colourless to Z being light coloured. Stones that are G or H don’t look tinted to the naked eye, so they’re a good value choice.

It’s also worth considering your setting – if the diamond is being set in yellow gold, you can choose a lower colour grade as the metal will blend with the tint of the stone.

Carat weight is, of course, also a factor – it refers to the size of the diamond. However, bigger is not always better. If a large diamond has poor cut or clarity, it will still appear dull. That’s why it’s worth considering all four Cs when it comes to buying your dream diamond.

At ADC Online, we list the clarity, colour, cut and carat information for every single diamond and you can search based on your preferences.

Ready to find your perfect diamond? Please feel free to reach out to ADC Online for further assistance in understanding and choosing your dream diamond via our live chat or by calling one of our trusted diamond consultants 1300 345 864.

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