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Learning Diamond Clarity

A diamond is composed of 100% pure carbon without any impurities and may be a completely colourless stone. However, almost all diamonds do contain some degree of colour impurity caused by long-drawn-out traces of nitrogen, boron, hydrogen or other elements. Most diamonds are affected merely by nitrogen traces which create pale yellowish or brownish tints.

Empress Diamonds offers a wide selection of diamonds with a range of clarity grades from FL (Flawless) to I1 (Included). Diamonds with clarity ratings of I1 or higher contain inclusions that are visible to the naked eye.

Clarity determines the relative visibility of inclusions in a diamond and their impact on its overall appearance. To grade the clarity of a diamond, it is important to look at the size, colour, number and position of different clarity features.

Diamond Clarity Chart

Diamond Clarity Grades Chart Guide

Clarity is graded based on an intricate scale:

FL (Flawless) - There are no inclusions or blemishes visible under 100x magnification and the stone is completely clear.

IF (Internally Flawless) - There are no inclusions noticeable under 100x magnification however, there are very small blemishes present but can't be seen even under 100x magnification.

VVS1 – VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included) - With these, only an expert could notice flaws under a 10x microscope. They have minute flaws that only an expert could pick under 10x magnification.

VS1 - VS2 (Very Slightly Included) - These diamonds have minor inclusions that are difficult to somewhat easy for a trained grader to see when viewed at 10x magnification and properly lit. The VS category is divided into two grades: VS1 being a higher clarity grade than VS2. The inclusions in VS diamonds are unperceivable without magnification and hard to see even with magnification.

SI1 – SI2 (Slightly Included) - These diamonds have obvious inclusions that are easy to very easy for a trained grader to spot when viewed at 10x magnification. The SI category is divided into 2 grades: SI1 represents a higher clarity grade than SI2. These may not be obvious to the untrained naked eye.

I1, I2, I3 (Included) - Included category diamonds have clear inclusions that are visible to a trained grader even without 10x magnification. The Inclusions in I1 diamonds are often perceived by an unaided eye. In I2, inclusions are easy to spot. They are obvious in I3 diamonds and usually impact the brilliance of the diamond. Some I1 diamonds can have inclusions that are positioned in a place that can be covered by a claw, making the diamond seem a better clarity.


Clarity-enhanced, also known as “fracture-filled” diamonds are those which would have had a larger "crack like" inclusion that has been filled. This process of filling was developed by an Israeli diamond cutter Zvi Yehuda. By filling out cracks with molten glass under high temperature and pressure.

Clarity enhancement is likely to improve a diamond’s clarity by one grade but it does not affect the overall colour or weight of a diamond. This process effects no more than 2% of the diamond.

2 Types of Clarity Enhancement

There are two main procedures for refining a diamond's clarity:

1. Laser Drilling

This process is used to get rid of small dark inclusions. A laser drills a small hole into the diamond's interior and “burns away” the inclusion or creates a channel through which a bleaching agent can be applied to polish an inclusion.

2. Fracture Filling

This process removes white fractures called "feathers" from a diamond. A glass-like material is poured into a fracture to make it less noticeable and to improve the stone's clarity. Good fracture filling is very delicate, so inspection by a qualified diamond grader is needed to identify its presence in a stone.

When you are shopping for diamonds, look carefully for information about clarity enhancement. Choosing clarity-enhanced stones not only ensures that your diamond is 100%, it also provides an affordable option, allowing you to purchase larger stones for less.

Our Guarantee

At Empress Diamonds we take pride in offering a Lifetime Guarantee on all Clarity Enhanced diamonds. Were something to happen to the enhancement in the stone, we will re-fill it for you. Special care needs to be taken with Clarity Enhanced diamonds. Immense heat or pressure can loosen the enhancement, therefore if you are getting you jewellery cleaned or modified make sure you inform the jeweller it is a Clarity Enhanced stone.

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