The Standard 4Cs: Clarity
Minute features, called inclusions, appeared when the diamond formed in the earth’s mantle as it crystallized under intense heat and pressure, and are mostly invisible to the naked eye. The clarity grade a diamond is given is determined by the degree to which these natural features are visible at ten times magnification and the number, type, color, size and position of the features in the diamond.
Diamonds equal in weight, color and cut will vary greatly in price depending on their clarity features. The standard 4Cs grading system divides clarity into five distinct groups; Flawless (FL), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS), Very Slightly Included (VS), Slightly Included (SI) and Included (I). De Beers Forevermark diamonds are available from Flawless to Slightly Included (SI2), providing any inclusions do not interfere with the beauty of the diamond and our other beauty criteria are met.
Flawless- Internally Flawless
Flawless (Internally Flawless): The rarest of rare diamonds, known as Flawless (FL) diamonds, are those with no internal features and no external features or blemishes visible at ten times magnification. An Internally Flawless (IF) diamond will also have no internal features, but may exhibit a minute polish feature scratch left over from polishing.
Very Very Slight (VVS)
Very Very Slightly included diamonds are those with minute inclusions so small that they are extremely difficult for even a skilled diamond grader to see at ten times magnification. A VVS1 diamond may have a single pinpoint or two and a tiny feather not seen face up as it’s internal features.
Very Slight (VS)
Divided into VS1 and VS2, Very Slightly (VS) included diamonds have minor internal features deemed difficult for a skilled grader to detect at ten times magnification. A VS1 diamond may have a small crystal, a feather or a tiny cluster of inclusions, or a pinpoint or two. A VS2 diamond could have, for example, a tiny cloud or a few small needles.
Slightly Included (SI)
Divided into SI1 and SI2, Slightly Included (SI) diamonds are those with features that are obvious at ten time magnification. A typical SI diamond might have a cloud, a feather, and an included crystal of another mineral. Neither the diamond’s transparency nor face up appearance may be affected by these inclusions. In some rare cases of large diamonds or transparent fancy cuts, an SI clarity feature may be just visible with the unaided eye, and therefore rejected by De Beers Forevermark.
Included (I-1, I-2, I-3)
Divided into I-1, I-2 and I-3, Included diamonds are those with features that are visible to the unaided eye and may even affect the durability of the diamond. Included diamonds may have obvious features such as large contrasting crystals, heavy clouds, and distinct cleavages. These diamonds are excluded from De Beers Forevermark.
The Standard 4Cs: Color
De Beers Forevermark inscribes diamonds from D to L as well as all fancy colors. In this scale, ‘colorless’ diamonds D, E, and F show so little difference that it takes an expert with sample diamonds of known grades to distinguish one from another.