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Diamond Clarity Grades – the Four C’s of Diamonds

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Each clarity grade has a range from lowest to highest. That’s why a diamond can appear “clearer” than another with the same grade, so insist on viewing your diamond under a microscope with a diamond expert. Clarity is a characteristic within a diamond that you can see easily for yourself. You’ll even find that you can distinguish between, say, a high SI1 and a low SI1.

diamond clarity chart - BIXLER

FL

 = Flawless. No internal inclusions or external blemishes are visible under ten-time magnification to a trained gemologist. Extremely rare. Bixler’s does not recommend this grade if the cost is a factor since there is a negligible distinction between this grade all the way down to VS1 by an untrained viewer using a microscope. A diamond of this grade will not sparkle more than a VS2 or nice SI1 with all other characteristics being equal.

IF

 = Internally Flawless. No internal inclusions are visible under ten times magnification to a trained gemologist. Extremely rare. Bixler’s does not recommend this grade if the cost is a factor since there is a negligible distinction between this grade all the way down to VS1 by an untrained viewer using a microscope. A diamond of this grade will not sparkle more than a VS2 or nice SI1 with all other characteristics being equal.

VVS 1

 = Very Very Slightly Included “Grade” 1. Usually, just one extremely tiny pinpoint inclusion is visible under ten times magnification to a trained gemologist. Inclusions are difficult for an untrained viewer to see using a microscope. Extremely rare. Bixler’s does not recommend this grade if the cost is a factor since there is barely a perceptible distinction between this grade all the way down to VS1 by an untrained viewer using a microscope. A diamond of this grade will not sparkle more than a VS2 or nice SI1 with all other characteristics being equal.

VVS 2

 = Very Very Slightly Included “Grade” 2. Very tiny pinpoint inclusions are visible under ten times magnification to a trained gemologist. Inclusions are not easy for an untrained viewer to see using a microscope. Very rare. Bixler’s does not recommend this grade if the cost is a factor since there is barely a perceptible distinction between this grade and a VS1 by an untrained viewer using a microscope. A diamond of this grade will not sparkle more than a VS2 or nice SI1 with all other characteristics being equal.

VS 1

 = Very Slightly Included “Grade” 1. Very small inclusions are visible under ten-time magnification to a trained gemologist. Inclusions take time for an untrained viewer to identify using a microscope such that they are surprised to learn that there are four steps higher in clarity grade. Rare. Bixler’s does not strongly recommend this grade if the cost is a factor since there is a minor perceptible distinction between this grade and a VS2 by an untrained viewer using a microscope. A diamond of this grade will not sparkle more than a VS2 or nice SI1 with all other characteristics being.

VS 2

 = Very Slightly Included “Grade” 2. Very small inclusions are visible under ten-time magnification to an untrained viewer. Inclusions can take time for an untrained viewer to identify using a microscope such that they are surprised to learn that there are five steps higher in clarity grade. Rare. Bixler’s recommends this grade since inclusions are not typically visible to an untrained viewer without magnification.

SI 1

 = Slightly Included “Grade” 1. Small inclusions are easily visible under ten-time magnification to an untrained viewer and may be visible without magnification. Still a fine clarity diamond. Bixler’s strongly recommends this grade since inclusions are not easily visible without magnification even after being identified using a microscope. A casual observer cannot see an imperfection when the diamond is placed in an engagement ring. A typical “Bixler SI1” often appears much clearer than a typical “Internet SI1” especially since the range from the highest to lowest SI1 is wider than VS and higher.

SI 2

 = Slightly Included “Grade” 2. Several small inclusions are visible without magnification to an untrained viewer and usually visible without magnification when viewed from less than ten inches. Still, a very nice clarity diamond provided the inclusion is not in the form of a “cloud” which can diminish the appearance of fire. Bixler’s highly recommends this grade since inclusions are not easily visible without magnification even after being identified using a microscope. A casual observer would have a very hard time seeing an imperfection when the diamond is placed in an engagement ring. A typical “Bixler SI2” often appears much clearer than a typical “Internet SI2” especially since the range from the highest to lowest SI2 is wider than VS and higher.

I 1

 = Included “Grade” 1. Flaws that are visible without magnification. A reasonable clarity diamond and excellent value when Bixler’s has them in stock. Bixler’s recommends this grade if the price is a factor in choosing your diamond. A Bixler I1 is amongst the top ½% of the grade but rarely available. A “Bixler I1” will appear so much clearer than an average I1 since the range from the highest to lowest I1 is very wide.

I 2

 = Included “Grade” 2. Many flaws are easily visible to the point that there is a decrease in brilliance. Not recommended or available at Bixler’s. Seen at chain stores and department stores.

I 3

 = Included “Grade” 3. Many flaws are easily visible to the point that there is a decrease in brilliance and a compromise to the structural integrity of the diamond. Not recommended or available at Bixler’s. Seen at chain stores and department stores.

Learn about the other 3 of the Four C’s of Diamonds or check out the comprehensive BIXLER diamond guide!

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