The Best Diamond Clarity to Buy

The absolute best clarity of a diamond you can buy is FL or flawless. This clarity grade has the most “eye clean” look. So if you are after the best diamond or looking for an investment-grade diamond, then FL and IF (Internally Flawless) will be the absolute best.

Before you go and buy that $20,000 flawless diamond we hope you take a good look at our article here. The question comes down to should you?

Generally, diamonds with a clarity grade of VS1 or higher are considered high quality and have minimal visible flaws. However, lower clarity grades like SI1 can still appear eye-clean and offer better value for money.

If you opt for a higher clarity grade like FL or IF, you can expect to pay a premium price due to their rarity and lack of visible inclusions. However, experts suggest that most people cannot differentiate between VVS and VS clarity grades with the naked eye, making them more cost-effective options.

In-Depth Best Clarity You Can Buy

To simplify a diamond’s clarity is any flaws it does or doesn’t have. The best clarity you can buy would be FL (Flawless) or IF (Internal Flawless). These would be considered “eye clean” diamonds.

Eye clean diamonds appear flawless under the naked eye. These diamonds are rare because most diamonds have flaws of some kind. One with almost no flaws will be the absolute best available.

It is diamonds like these you’ll want to look for if you want top tier. FL and IF are clarity abbreviations or grades. They help define not only the clarity; but the price as well.

The most well-known grading laboratories are the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the American Gem Society (AGS), and the International Gemological Institute (IGI). These laboratories are responsible for the grading matrix. Because of them; attaining the perfect diamond, at a fair price is possible.

This grading system allows consumers to purchase diamonds that are certified. Having that certification proves the clarity you wanted. Giving you confidence for the price you bought it for.

Should You Buy The Best Clarity?

Choosing a diamond based on clarity there is an important question you should ask yourself; what is your budget? If your budget allows you to pay a premium for a flawless (FL) or internally flawless (IF) then buy the best.

However, if a diamond graded at VS2 or SI1 can fit within your budget both these grades could be a great option too. Even better is that all these grades can be eye clean:

  • FL
  • IF
  • VVS1
  • VVS2
  • VS1
  • VS2

SI1 and SI2 can also be eye-clean as well, but not all. At these grades and below the flaws can become more numerous making it harder to find eye-clean options, but no impossible

Depending on your use for the diamond any flaws within one of these options could be hidden. Making a diamond that is much less expensive look no different when worn.

Even though these diamonds do in fact have more flaws than IF or Fl. These flaws are only noticeable under a microscope and not by the naked eye. Allowing you to get a beautiful diamond that “seems flawless” for much less.

How Is A Diamond’s Clarity Verified?

These grading agencies and jewelers all have a system for grading clarity. Each one may do things slightly differently but a system exists nonetheless. Jewelers consider diamonds eye-clean when it’s free of flaws. This is determined when viewed in daylight or fluorescent lighting by the naked eye, and by a short distance (12 inches or less).

Here are some universal factors used to assess if the diamond is eye clean and clarity grade:

  • How far
  • Lightning
  • Viewer’s Vision.

These methods are how clarity is measured. Without these general guidelines, anyone could tell you a diamond is a high clarity or eye-clean.

By following a method jewelers can offer assurance of clean looking diamonds. In the form of certification most often.

What Is Diamond Clarity Specifically?

Diamond clarity is a measurement of how internal and external flaws affect diamonds. Another way it’s defined is how “eye-clean” a diamond looks with the naked eye. Clarity tells you how much light can pass through the diamond. Enabling the sparkle and brilliance.

There are different clarity grades. These grades are used by jewelers and diamond experts to determine the cost of diamonds. What can complicate things further is that diamonds can be more flawed yet still appear eye-clean.

Clarity Manipulation

For example, if you were to buy an engagement ring. A lower clarity diamond that has flaws that are more towards the side could still appear clean on the top. Making it perfect for a ring.

A diamond with flaws can also be altered to have the flaws removed. This may happen if you decided to have a round cut for your ring. After the cut, the diamond’s clarity could be improved because the flaws were in the parts that were removed.

These are just two examples on how clarity can be manipulated. Knowing this could help you buy a better-graded diamond with a lower budget. Let’s look at what the various clarity grades are.

What Are the Various Clarity Grades?

Reputable jewelry stores and diamond sellers follow a general grading system for clarity. Once a diamond is inspected it has a certificate that solidifies its clarity and other attributes. When looking for a diamond’s clarity look for these abbreviations:

  • Flawless (FL)
  • Internally Flawless (IF)
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)
  • Included (I1, I2, and I3)

These abbreviations are important to have. They tell you how “eye clean or not” a diamond is. They can still be slightly deceiving.

An example would be the SI1 or SI 2 grade. A diamond’s clarity rated like that most would think it has many flaws. But it’s flaws could be in a spot where it doesn’t matter.

Why might you ask? Well depending on how you are using the diamond it may not matter.

If the diamond has lots of flaws on all the sides that a ring or other setting would hide. Then the flaws wouldn’t matter.

The clarity could still be graded VS1 or VS2 and the flaws are barely noticeable. And depending on the use every grade down to SI2 could be as well. Knowing this difference could save you a few hundred dollars.

What Is the Absolute Best Diamond Clarity Grading?

The absolute best diamond clarity you can get is going to be flawless. These diamonds are incredibly rare. Diamonds like these are also expensive.

For good reason too. Diamonds with flawless grading are absolutely gorgeous. Here you can see just how beautiful a flawless diamond can be.

Clarity Grades and Costs

Now that we have been over the best clarity you can buy. Let’s look at all the clarity grades. Each one can be hard to tell from the other without equipment to see small flaws. By seeing each grade and its related cost you will have enough knowledge to really select the best diamond.

Let’s take a look.

Flawless (FL)

Take a look at this round cut 1-carat diamond. This is the cream of the crop. Arguably one of the best diamonds money could buy.

Flawless diamonds at 1-carat are going to run you typically between $8,000 to $20,000. The end price is going to fluctuate based on the diamond’s color and cut. However, depending on your preferences, a flawless diamond is achievable.

Internally Flawless (IF)

Here is an internally flawless 1-carat diamond. Same color, same cut. As you can see it is a few thousand dollars cheaper.

Internally flawless diamonds run in a range of $10,000 to $17,000.

Very, Very Slightly Included One (VVS1)

A VVS1 1-carat diamond is a step below in price a lot of times. But it is no less in beauty, sometimes flaws even slight ones can become a welcome sight.

VVS1 diamonds are going to range from $8,000 to $16,000. With such little difference, you may want to opt for an internally flawless diamond or even a lower grade.

Very, Very Slightly Included Two (VVS2)

Some may think a VVS2 is a huge step-down. I would argue that this grading is just as good as the others at an even better price point. This 1-carat VVS2 diamond is just over $11,000 and very pretty.

VVS2 diamonds will rand from $6,500 to around $11,000. This is a nice drop from some of the higher graded categories. No less in beauty.

Very Slightly Included One (VS1)

Midway down the list, you start getting into what we would call “the middle ground” of clarity. These grades can still be very beautiful but will have more flaws.

These will be the ones you will want to inspect a little better. Just to be sure they are still brilliant enough for your needs.

This VS1 1-carat diamond gets your pricing to around $10,000. VS1 diamonds will have a range of just over $6,000 all the way up to just under $12,000. If you are around the higher end checking out the VVS2 may be a better option.

Very Slightly Included Two (VS2)

Now just like VVS2, the next step down to VS2 is a nice little jump. This 1-carat VS2 is gorgeous and in the right setting would be brilliant. If you notice a pattern the “2” different grades tend to be great especially if you’re on a tight budget. No matter the grading level you’re in.

VS2 diamonds range from $5,500 to $9,000. This is the beginning territory where a lot of diamonds are great for rings. They are just as beautiful but also allow room for a great metal to be included.

Slightly Included One (SI1)

An SI1 will look something like this 1-carat diamond. More flaws are present of course but this also drives the price even further down. SI1 diamonds range from $4,600 to $7,400.

Slightly Included Two (SI2)

In my opinion, SI2 diamonds are really exciting. The price point of these diamonds is perfect for me. I would be confident in searching for this diamond and scoring a great deal.

An example of SI2 is this 1-carat round cut. Completely beautiful, and in the right setting would shine like no other. SI2 diamonds run anywhere from $3000 to $5,800 making them one of the top choices.

Included One (I1)

Now I1 is the bottom of the barrel we are going to go. These diamonds have quite a few more flaws but are still worth checking out.  Just keep in mind that some of these flaws can be visible even under the naked eye.

If you can find one like this 1-carat round cut IF then you could really come out with an incredible bargain. A diamond is still a diamond.

So if your heart is set on it your dreams can come true. I1 diamonds are anywhere between $2800 to $5000 making them the perfect mix of budget and brilliance.

What About Included Two (I2) and Included Three (I3) Diamonds?

At this level, the diamonds are really too flawed. These will be much cheaper but you will end up missing out on better clarity but these diamonds can serve a better purpose.

These diamonds typically are better used as side stones to complement the main stone. Never use them as your main piece as they typically hold too many flaws. You can have them cut and used as accent diamonds for example.

Your money would be better saved for a better grade for your main stone. For most these diamonds are not worth the time to look into, but in the right placement could work out. Just don’t count on them for much more.

Summary Of Costs

All these diamonds are priced with the same color, cut, and 1-carat weight as guidelines. This is a summary of the examples above:

Here is a chart showing the trend from least clarity to highest.

What Diamond Clarity I Would Personally Choose

My preferred diamond clarity is going to be VS2 or SI2. I chose these because they are the most economical option. Also if I were buying a diamond it would definitely be for an engagement or a ring of some kind.

With my diamond going into a ring the flaws don’t matter as much to me. Depending on my budget I would go with either this 1-carat VS2 or this SI2. Both are very beautiful and fit my needs.

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

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