When perusing our treasures, you might have noticed that we describe our diamonds using the term clarity, often accompanied by an assortment of letters and numbers.

Clarity describes the degree to which imperfections are present either inside a diamond (inclusions) or on its surface (blemishes). Because pressure and extreme temperatures act on diamonds deep below the earth’s surface, small imperfections are, more often than not, a reality of their form.

It is commonly misconceived that the more inclusions and blemishes a diamond possesses, the duller its brilliance. This is generally not the case, as imperfections only impact a stones sparkle when they are large enough to impede refraction and light return. These kinds of inclusions are found in diamonds with extremely poor clarity. 

GIA’s Diamond Clarity Scale

Our diamonds are all carefully hand-selected, and assigned a level of clarity utilizing the GIA International Diamond Grading System. This 11-point scale considers the frequency, size, position, color and reflectivity of imperfections under 10x magnification, and ranges from visible inclusions (I), to flawless form (FL). 

It is estimated that as few as 1 in every 5000 jewelry quality diamonds achieve flawless status.

 

FL

Flawless:

No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification

IF

Internally Flawless:

No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification

VVS1

VVS2

Very, Very Slightly included:

Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification

VS1
VS2

Very Slightly Included:

Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification

SI1
SI2

Slightly Included:

Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification

I1
I2
I3

Included:

Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance

 

Know your inclusions

At a certain degree of magnification, all diamonds are likely to host small, internal imperfections of some form. The inclusions most commonly encountered are pinpoints, clouds, feathers and twining wisps.

  • Pinpoint inclusions are minute, typically white crystals, which resemble pinpoints of light. Pinpoints are usually eye-clean, meaning they do not impact on the clarity of the diamond unless magnification is used.
  • Clouds refer to an assembly of grouped pinpoints, which cause the diamond to take on a cloudy aesthetic. Small clouds comprising several pinpoints are unlikely to affect the eye-clean appearance of the diamond.
  • Feathers are cracks that touch, but do not rift the surface of a diamond. Small feathers may be seen from certain angles, but are generally not problematic. Large feathers, however, have the potential to grow with time and use, and are a risk to durability if they breach the surface of the diamond.
  • Twining Wisps regard a twisting of intergrowth within a twinning plane. This intergrowth can contain a combination of other inclusions including crystals, pinpoints, feathers and clouds. At 10x magnification, twining wisps may appear as white or black stripes, however, stones with these inclusions should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as to whether they will impair visual performance.

Don’t get us wrong though; inclusions have their merits too. Natural flaws in formation mean you’ve found yourself something unique and special, at a lower price to IF and FL options, but with a similar eye-clean aesthetic. Diamond inclusions are also a natural way to identify your stone if it is not laser inscribed. You can therefore think of inclusions as the birthmarks of bling!

At Ethan Lord, we source diamonds in the FL - SI2 clarity range. Our diamonds with SI1 and SI2 clarity are hand-selected with white inclusions such as feathers or twining wisps, positioned with minimal visibility – such as in facet lines.

Ethan Lord knows diamonds

To pop the question, mark an occasion, or for sheer and utter self-indulgence; there are diamonds. Conflict-free and GIA certified, our prismatic diamond collections are curated to include a large variety of clarity, cut, color and carat options.

Now that you are familiar with the terminology of clarity, it’s time to indulge in a diamond delight from Ethan Lord!