Shaped by nature over millions of years, the vast majority of diamonds contain miniscule flaws, each of which gives a diamond its unique personality. The clarity of a diamond is graded according to the size and number of these imperfections. Those that appear on the outside of a diamond are referred to as blemishes, while on the inside they are called inclusions, which may appear as pinpoints, faint clouds, tiny feather patterns or internal graining.
The majority of these imperfections are completely invisible to the naked eye and can only be seen when the diamond is viewed using a loupe — a small magnifying glass used by jewellers. The smaller the blemish, the less likely it is to interfere with light passing through the stone, which is what causes a diamond to scintillate.
Just as with colour, a diamond's clarity is graded on a scale, with almost imperceptible differences between each. At the top of the scale are Flawless diamonds, which are rare and extremely valuable, after which comes VVS (Very Very Slight Inclusions), VS (Very Slight), SI (Slight Inclusions) and I (Included).
To further complicate matters, there are two gradings within each sub-category — alongside Flawless there are Internally Flawless diamonds, and VVS diamonds, for example, are graded as either VVS-1 or VVS-2, with minute differences in quality between each.
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