What is the Difference Between FL and IF Diamonds?

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. It turns out there are a lot of diamonds in the world. All worth different amounts of money. So how do you know which type of diamond to buy? Well, it depends on your price range and what type you’re looking for.

There isn’t much difference between an FL and IF diamond. They are both incredibly rare. Under a microscope, you would think they’re almost identical. It’s very hard to see any imperfections. But what is the difference between them?

The difference is IF diamonds have slight surface blemishes. This makes them less expensive than FL diamonds. FL diamonds do not have these surface blemishes. Even with similar traits, FL can cost $10,000 more than IF.

What does “FL” actually stand for?

The term “FL” stands for a flawless diamond.

What is a Flawless Diamond?

A flawless diamond is perfect both on the outside and the inside. No surface blemishes or inclusions. It is an incredibly clear diamond. This is even under 10x magnification! A very clear diamond as you can imagine.

Despite it being very clear, at 100x magnification, you can see some inclusions.

A flawless diamond is the highest grading diamond that you can get. They cost between 25% to 35% more than internally flawless diamonds.

What Does “IF” stand for?

The term “IF” stands for internally flawless.

What is an Internally Flawless Diamond?

An internally flawless diamond is extremely rare. There are less than half a percentage of internally flawless diamonds in the world.

A diamond can only be given a grading by a gemologist. It’s usually done under 60x magnification using a microscope.

How Much do FL and IF Cost to Buy?

We all know that diamonds are very expensive. But can you imagine how expensive the rarest form of diamonds is? Let’s just say, they are extremely expensive.

The difference between an FL and IF diamond is cost. FL diamonds are more expensive than IF diamonds by 25 to 20%. This is crazy if you think about it. Because you can only see the difference under 100x magnification!

Both of these types of diamonds are very rare. The price of them reflects that. You wouldn’t want to spend a lot of money on something that isn’t worth a lot.

What Other Types of Diamonds Are There?

The ideal diamond is completely colorless. You can have some diamonds which are completely colorless. Other diamonds can have some slight coloring or completely colored.


VVS diamonds are very very slightly included. Even with a 10 x magnification, only an expert can detect any flaws. A normal person wouldn’t be able to notice these flaws.

The difference is that a VVS1 has flaws at the bottom. A VVS2 has flaws at the top of the diamond.


You cannot see flaws with the naked eye in VS diamonds. When using a 10x microscope, seeing the flaws is not easy. But you can see them, if you were to look closely for a few seconds.

SI1 – SI2

SI diamonds have flaws. They are easily visible to see using a 10x microscope. They cannot be seen without a microscope.

I1 – I3

For I diamonds, flaws are quite visible. They can be easily seen by the naked eye. These are the less expensive types of diamonds.

Are FL and IF Diamonds Worth Buying?

My honest answer is, no. Unless you have more money than you know what to do with. They are not worth buying. Save yourself some money. Put it towards something else like a vacation.

You could always buy a less expensive diamond. Like a VVS. Since you can’t see the flaws without a magnification anyway. To the bare eye, they’ll look no different. I promise, no one is going to question you about your diamond.

An IF or FL diamond will not look any different than a VS2 or even an SI1 diamond. Why? Because you cannot notice the flaws without a microscope. So if you want to save your money, buy a lower grade diamond.

If you want to spend your money on an expensive diamond, go for it. That is your choice, not anyone else’s.

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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