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View Real Diamond Flaws Under 10x Magnification

A picture is worth a thousand bucks.

I could talk about inclusions and flaws in a diamond all day. I could explain clarity and how it affects the beauty of a diamond. But until you dive in and grab a microscope, you’ll never really understand it.

The light bulb won’t light up until you see it with your own eyes.

So that’s what I’ve done today. I’m showing you inclusions and flaws and imperfections in diamonds, magnified like you’ve never seen them before.

You’ll actually see what a diamond looks like under a jeweler’s microscope, and then you’ll also be able to see what the clarity looks like on a diamond plot (I’m using GIA for all of these examples).

I’m going to show you diamonds in most of the clarities available on the web. I’m going to explain them so you can really grasp what inclusions are, what to watch out for, and what the best clarity to buy is.

Real diamonds, real inclusions, real clarity…

Credit, where credit is due.

Before we begin, let me say that the detailed images of diamonds and flaws shown in this post are obtained through James Allen who has been kind enough to allow me to use their high-res photos for teaching and training purposes.

James Allen has one of the largest online selections of loose certified diamonds you can find, and they are the only jeweler to show you the actual real diamond, magnified 20x (beyond what any diamonds are graded with), photographed so you can see all the flaws and inclusions from all sides, and at the best prices you’ll ever see.

It really is amazing!

Their virtual loupe (super zoom) is cool to use… Take a peek…

James Allen Website

So now, let’s jump in and take a look at some of these flaws…

I have left out flawless (FL) diamonds, as well as I2 and I3 (included diamonds level 2 and 3) from the list because they are the very top of the line (extremely expensive and very rare) and the bottom of the bucket (lowest 2 clarity grades on the market). Most of what you’ll find available are the clarity grades in between. So let’s look at them…

Internally flawless clarity:

Internally flawless diamonds are probably the best clarity of diamond that you’ll normally find in any local jewelry store. And even then, only expect to see one, maybe two of them (James Allen has 2580 flawless round diamonds in stock).

The only difference between flawless and internally flawless diamonds are that internally flawless diamonds have zero flaws inside the stone, but the outside of the stone may contain some small blemishes like polish marks, slight abrasions, nicks, naturals or trigons.

These small small small flaws are almost impossible to see or detect even under a 10x microscope.

It takes practice and training to pinpoint these minor defects.

Here is what an inclusion in an internally flawless diamond looks like.

IF E Brilliant Cut Diamond

And here, is what a GIA diamond report for that internally flawless (IF) diamond shown.

IF E Certified Brilliant Cut Diamond

See any inclusions? Neither do I.

This diamond is very impressive!!! There really is nothing to see but sheer beauty and sparkle.

Here are similar diamond qualities and price… (good at the time of this post)

Internally flawless price:

1.00, IF, H+, IDEAL, GIA $9,960 VIEW

VVS1 clarity:

VVS1 is a stunning clarity to have. You’ll only find a couple of very tiny flaws in a stone of this quality. A very faint feather, a tiny pinpoint, a crystal…

They are breathtaking stones and lovely diamonds to own.

Take a look at the diamond below…

VVS1 H Brilliant Cut Diamond

Now let’s see what a VVS1 GIA diamond certificate looks like…

VVS1 H Certified Brilliant Cut Diamond

See those tiny marks on the Certificate Plot? They are just about impossible to locate in the real stone.

Here are the prices of a VVS1 diamonds…

VVS1 clarity prices:

1.00, VVS1, H+, IDEAL, GIA $5,950 VIEW

VVS2 clarity:

VVS2 is pretty much the same as VVS1 except it may have a few more inclusions and they may be slightly larger. But trust me, these are both exceptional stones and to most, they’ll look perfect, because to most, under a scope, they still won’t see any flaws in the stone.

Take a look at a VVS2 clarity diamond

VVS2 H Brilliant Cut Diamond

Now let’s see the actual GIA diamond certificate for that VVS2 stone…

VVS2 H Certified Brilliant Cut Diamond

Here’s the prices for VVS2 diamonds…

VVS2 Clarity

1.00, VVS2, H+, IDEAL, GIA $5,920 VIEW

VVS is very clean, very beautiful – the cream of the crop.

VS1 clarity:

VS1 clarity is one of the best clarity of diamonds to buy; here’s why: The diamond is very clean, there are only a couple of tiny distinguished flaws in the stone, but they are easier to identify then any of the higher clarities (VVS, IF, FL).

I like to be able to spot a few flaws under the microscope. I can scope my stone at any time and know it’s mine. If you try to scope a flawless diamond, you won’t see anything in the stone, so you’ll have no reference point.

With VS, I can look at the stone under magnification and say “Yes, that’s my stone!

Take a look at a real VS1 clarity diamond in the image below…

VS1 H Brilliant Cut Diamond

Now let’s look at the diamond certificate and the diamond plot…

VS1 H Certified Brilliant Cut Diamond

That’s awesome clarity! These stones have just a few identifying marks that make them easy to memorize.

I highly advise buying VS clarity diamonds. You’ll love the clarity, love the look, and love the diamond. :)

Take a look at the prices of VS1 diamonds below…

VS1 clarity prices:

1.00, VS1, H+, IDEAL, GIA $5,780 VIEW

VS2 clarity:

VS2 clarity is just as good as VS1. The flaws are slightly bigger, maybe a little more frequent, and maybe closer to the center of the stone. But really, they are just as beautiful to look at.

One of the best things about buying a VS2 diamond over a VS1 diamond is the price. Why not save a few bucks if you can’t see the difference unless you microscope them. And even then, it’s pretty darn close.

Take a look at what a VS2 diamond looks like…

VS2 D Brilliant Cut Diamond

Now let’s take a look at a VS2 diamond plot…

VS2 D Certified Brilliant Cut Diamond

Simply beautiful! You’ll notice a few flaws, nothing big. A couple of lines, crystals and very small Inclusions are normal for a VS2. They help you identify the stone.

I can’t tell you enough how much I love VS diamonds. It’s what I would buy if I were purchasing a diamond and especially a diamond engagement ring.

Here are the prices of a VS2 clarity diamonds…

VS2 clarity prices:

1.00, VS2, H+, IDEAL, GIA $5,500 VIEW

SI1 clarity:

SI1 clarity means slightly included. SI1 is the most popular clarity grade on the market for 2 main reasons:

  1. The flaws are microscopic
  2. The price is right

Any diamond with a clarity of SI1 (read SI1, not SI2; or in some cases SI3) will have inclusions that are not visible to the bare eye (unaided). They will be virtually invisible unless you use a microscope or a 10x jeweler’s loupe.

What this means is that you could put an SI1 diamond up against any clarity higher (even a flawless diamond) and the clarities would look identical. You would not see a difference. Ever!

All the flaws and differences are only visible when you magnify them.

That’s why SI1 diamonds are such a great buy. The flaws and inclusions are bigger, and more abundant, absolutely. That’s to be expected. And to an untrained eye under a scope they do get pretty noticeable (as in the image below), but they still face up quite well and are still considered eye clean.

Take a look at a real SI1 diamond image…

SI1 F Brilliant Cut Diamond

This is where you’ll finally start to notice inclusions and see what they really are. SI1 has easy to spot flaws under the scope.

Now take a look at a GIA certified diamond report

SI1 F Certified Brilliant Cut Diamond

See how easy the flaws start to stand out?

Like I said, when the diamond is in a ring on your finger, you’ll never see those flaws.

Now for the great part… The price…

SI1 clarity prices:

1.00, SI1, H+, IDEAL, GIA $4,690 VIEW

Sticking in the SI clarity grades, we now move onto SI2…

SI2 clarity:

SI2 clarity is still a fine diamond, but iffy if you’re buying an engagement ring. Here’s why…

SI2 splits all the different clarities into 2 groups: Visible inclusions and invisible inclusions.

Anything SI1 or higher, all of the inclusions will be invisible to the eye. Any clarity I1 or lower they will be visible just by looking at the stone. SI2 is the borderline clarity that will have both types of inclusions, visible and invisible.

The true definition of an SI2 diamond is this: From the top view (looking directly down into the table, or window), you won’t (or shouldn’t) see any flaws or inclusions with the eye.

But, from the side view (turning the diamond so you can view it from the side), you will be able to spot them. You may see black spots, lines, clouds, crystals, chips, fractures… from the side view only!

That’s the true definition, but I’ll guarantee you that if you shop and compare SI2 diamonds all over town, you’re bound to find some SI2 diamonds that do have eye visible inclusions from the top view. This is why if you buy SI2, it’s vital that you buy only GIA certified SI2 diamonds. Just to make sure that they are true SI2’s and not a lower clarity rounded up (grade bumped).

SI2 is questionable, and you do really need to scrutinize every single diamond before you buy it.

I say buy only GIA because they are the top diamond graders in the world. They are very strict, and very accurate.

Take a look at what a real SI2 diamond looks like…

SI2 J Brilliant Cut Diamond

See how the inclusions get bigger in the center of the stone?

Now see what an SI2 diamond plot looks like on a GIA certificate…

SI2 J Certified Brilliant Cut Diamond

As you can see, the flaws get much bigger, darker, lean towards the center, and are more abundant.

The great thing about SI2 clarity is the bargain… You’ll save a ton of money.

Check out the SI2 diamond prices below…

SI2 clarity prices:

1.00, SI2, H+, IDEAL, GIA $3,280 VIEW

It’s not difficult to see that some of these flaws might be visible just by looking at the stone.

But, if you want to see real flaws… Check out I clarity diamonds

I1 clarity diamonds:

I clarity is like a box of cracker jacks, you’ll never know what surprises you’ll get.

Flaws in an I1 clarity diamond are pretty visible, pretty big and may even make you gasp. Flaws this big can also make a diamond vulnerable to chipping or breaking. The more flaws a diamond has the weaker that diamond becomes.

Check out what this I1 clarity diamond looks like…

I1 G Brilliant Cut Diamond

It’s an eye opener isn’t it?

And it’s a real eye opener to know that a good portion of these flaws are noticeable just by glancing at the stone – no microscope needed.

So your fiancee will look at her diamond and chances are good there’ll be a huge black spot staring back at her. Not a pretty sight.

Most women don not want to see this.

Check out a real I1 clarity diamond plot below:

I1 G Certified Brilliant Cut Diamond

Now not all of the inclusions in an I1 clarity diamond are black inclusions (looks like pepper) that stand out like a sore thumb. Some are white flaws that blend in with the diamond better and aren’t so obvious. Some flaws are cracks, chips, cloudy areas, pits… But if you look good enough, you’ll see them.

The best trait about I1 clarity diamonds is the price. You will save greatly!!! But you also get what you pay for

Check out the prices of I1 clarity diamonds below…

I1 clarity prices:

1.00, I1, H+, IDEAL, GIA $2,390 VIEW

(Prices good at the time of this post.)

The bottom line:

Don’t buy a diamond if you don’t view the inclusions (you could end up getting a diamond like the I1 clarity). You should also buy a diamond that’s GIA certified… And, you must shop and compare prices!

Some of the best prices and best deals that you’ll find anywhere are online with James Allen. Check them out, view the diamonds with their very cool 20x magnification, see the inclusions, and make a much better buying decision (I recommend pave or halo mountings).

If you need any help in selecting a stone or info about quality, send a question to my Diamond Guide Q&A and I’ll be sure to respond.

Cheers! :)

Recommended Jewelry Supplies:

Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Jewelry Steam Cleaner Complete Jewelry Cleaner Kit Diamond Dazzle Stick
Gold Silver Jewelry Polishing Cloths Jewelry Making Supplies Kit Gold Acid Test Kit Watch Tool Repair Kit
Ring Adjusters EMT Emergency Ring Cutter 10x Jewelers Loupe Jewelers Microscope

Recommended Jewelry Supplies:

Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Jewelry Steam Cleaner
Complete Jewelry Cleaner Kit Diamond Dazzle Stick
Gold Silver Jewelry Polishing Cloths Jewelry Making Supplies Kit
Gold Acid Test Kit Watch Tool Repair Kit
Ring Adjusters EMT Emergency Ring Cutter
10x Jewelers Loupe Jewelers Microscope

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