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Is Diamond Clarity Rare?

“I know clarity!”

When people think of diamond clarity and the 11 different clarity groups: FL, IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, I2, I3, they tend to think of them as equal and relative in size to each other.

Most just think that as you go higher up the scale, the inclusions get smaller and the prices go up.

In other words, the cleaner the stone the better.

This is correct…


This is because rarity doesn’t matter much when you think of clarity in equal terms as this diagram shows below:

Diamond Clarity Equal?

Most people perceive clarity as equal.

This is farthest from the truth.

Clarity is not equal.

Clarity gets very, very rare.

If you think there are just as many VS clarity diamonds as there are I clarity diamonds, then you’re sadly mistaken.

As you go up the list in clarity, the size of the grades gets smaller and smaller.

In fact, when you get up into the top 2 grades, Flawless (FL) and Internally Flawless (IF) you get into such a small percentage (2%) that they almost don’t show on the chart. Flawless is extremely rare and almost impossible to find (but you can find them here at James Allen).

See the clarity chart below to see how relative clarity grades are to one another.

This chart shows you how much of each clarity is actually found in nature:

Diamond Clarity Relative in Nature!

I clarity:

You’ll notice that I clarity diamonds (the lowest group) actually makes up half (52%) of all the diamond market. Over half of all the gem quality diamonds mined from the earth today are I clarity (I1, I2 and I3).

That’s quite an eye opener if you think about it. Half of all the diamonds you find will have inclusions large enough that you can see them with your bare eye (no microscope or a 10x jeweler’s loupe needed). Things like black carbon spots, fractures, clouds and crystals.


SI clarity:

Then (looking at the chart again) you’ll see that the next step up is the SI clarity grades (SI1 and SI2). SI gets much smaller in size (more rare) than I clarity does. SI only makes up 25% of all the diamond qualities.

VS clarity:

Then take a jump up to VS. This is where they really start to get rare. VS clarity (VS1 and VS2) only makes up 14% of the market. They get much more difficult to find. And we all know, the more rare, the more expensive.

VVS clarity:

Higher up the list is VVS clarity (VVS1 and VVS2). VVS is only a tiny portion of all the diamonds found in the world. 7%. That’s such a small percentage. This is where you’ll really start to get into major bucks. VVS is highly impressive and highly expensive. They are the cream of the crop.

So clarity is not equal across all grades. Clarity really does get rare. So rare, that Flawless and Internally Flawless Diamonds are almost non-existent. You’ll be lucky to even find one of these in your local jewelry store (another reason to shop online). Excellent clarity, but huge in price.

These percentages (not exact, but close) are why SI and I clarity diamonds are so popular. They have to be… They make up 3/4 of all the clarities in the world today.

So is your diamond rare?

You bet!

Because there is an even more startling figure…

These 11 grades of clarity (called gem quality) only make up 15% of all the diamonds mined from the earth.

(See chart again – blue line)

85% of them are so bad that they aren’t even considered diamonds (industrial rough).

So now you know.

Every clarity is rare.

But some are really rare.

And of course, really expensive.

I can almost hear the cash registers ringing now…

Cheers! :)

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Top Diamond Vendors:

James Allen

James Allen

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Blue Nile

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