What Are FL & IF Clarity Diamonds?

Flawless (FL) Diamond

A flawless (FL) diamond essentially means that it is a perfect diamond from the inside out. They are the clearest diamonds, completely free of inclusions and surface blemishes. Truly flawless diamonds are very rare, and therefore extremely valuable. How rare are flawless diamonds? It's estimated that D color (colorless), flawless diamonds make up just 0.001% of all diamonds produced around the world. Since no natural diamond is formed in the most pristine, controlled conditions, they can never be 100% flawless with no other trace minerals and elements. (This is different when considering lab-created diamonds, which are made under strictly controlled conditions.) However, diamonds are considered flawless, as we understand it, once there are no visible imperfections detected in or on the stones at a certain magnification ratio.

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Diamond Clarities

Diamond clarities.

Clarity Clarity Description
FL Flawless: No inclusions under 10x. A stone that is completely flawless. This is an extremely rare find.
IF Internally Flawless: No internal imperfections. A stone that has no internal flaws at all but does have surface flaws. Also, an extremely rare find.
VVS1-VVS2 Very Very Slightly Included: A stone with very minute internal inclusions that are extremely difficult to see under a 10X magnification.
VS1-VS2 Very Slightly Included: A stone with very minor internal inclusions that range from difficult to somehwat easy see under a 10X magnification.
SI1-SI2 Slightly Included: A stone that has imperfections visible under X10 magnification and may be visible with the unaided eye.
I1-I3 Included: A stone that has significant inclusions most often visible with the naked eye. Inclusions of this level drastically bring down the diamonds value.

Diamond clarity chart.

Only a professional jeweller or appraiser can positively name flawless diamonds. Even the most jewellery savvy eye, if not properly trained, will miss the small blemishes in the diamond clarity and the imperfections in the stone's facets that could make a diamond's clarity grade just below that of the FL diamond. Even the most experienced of eyes misses a detail or two when grading a seemingly flawless diamond.

Flawless (FL) Diamond - Is It Worthwhile?

For those people who will settle for nothing less than the absolute best for their beloved on the day they propose, you cannot get any better than a flawless diamond. These diamonds, of course, come with heavy price tags, but if the cost pales in comparison to making your betrothed feel like a wealthy queen, they are worth the search and the expense. However, there is no harm in going down a clarity grade or two (which will appear clean to the naked eye). This may allow you to maximize on other factors like a perfect color or a larger carat size in your diamond. Weigh the factors and see which are most important to you. This will ensure that you get the most beautiful diamond for the money that you spend.

Flawless (FL) Diamond - Where To Purchase

Most high-end jewellery stores sell at least a small selection of jewellery with flawless clarity diamonds. It is certainly the easiest choice, since you yourself could inspect the ring, as well as ask the clerks behind the counter to double check the quality of the diamond before you make your purchase. If you live in a location where flawless diamonds are harder to find, or where sales people know too little about diamond clarity or how to buy a flawless diamond for your taste, you can go online where you can order the perfect ring for your special lady. Always do your homework before committing to the diamond, no matter which method you choose. Oftentimes shops will not have a large selection of flawless diamonds. Therefore, be sure to do you research online. This is a great way to guarantee that you are paying the right price and getting a diamond that is perfect in every other way.

Flawless (FL) Diamond - How To Purchase

As mentioned, only an expert can tell you if your diamond is truly "flawless." However, you can save some of the hassle and wasted time of asking the same questions about each diamond by first checking for a few things before speaking to the jeweller:

Narrow down your selection after you have checked a few rings for these basic flaws. Then, ask the jeweler to inspect your remaining choices for quality and clarity to ensure you're actually getting a flawless diamond ring. Also, always shop around. Again, flawless diamonds are very expensive, and you are not likely to lose the perfect ring to another customer while you look elsewhere to compare flawless diamonds. Also, be sure that your diamond comes with a genuine certificate, proving its flawless classification. Among certifications, the most reliable is Gemological Institute of America (GIA). With their stringent standards and consistent grading practices, you can be sure that the diamond you are buying is the best option available.

While experts agree that no diamond is ever truly flawless, here are some of the things on which a "flawless diamond" grade is issued:

Overall, whichever diamond clarity you choose, be comfortable in your decision and educated about the choice that you made. You should feel that the decision you made is the right one. What truly matters is that your special someone loves the diamond and the engagement ring. Remember that above all else.

Internally Flawless (IF) Diamond

IF or Internally Flawless diamonds represent less than 0.5% of all diamonds in the world used in jewellery and engagement rings. A diamond clarity grade of internally flawless means the diamond has no inclusions present with or without 10x magnification, but might have small blemishes on the diamond's surface. The rarity of these stones is reflected in the IF diamond price, and for that reason, these loose diamonds are not for the budget conscious. Are IF diamonds worth it, you might be wondering. Well, that depends on who you ask. IF diamonds are for the purist or perfectionist, who values the rarity of this type of stone. Though it is worth noting that other clarity grades will appear eye clean, though you can see the diamond inclusions with the help of magnification.

IF diamonds symbolize pure and unconditional love because no inclusions are present. But while the inside of these diamonds is pure, you might see comments about the diamond on the GIA grading certificate such as "minor details of polish," or "manufacturing remnants," or "surface graining." These are extremely tiny details found on the surface or outside the diamond on the skin. It has no effect on the diamond's sparkle, visibility and light performance. Even under magnification, these are rarely identifiable.

Internally Flawless (IF) Diamond - Is It Worthwhile?

Considering how much money you're going to spend on this one stone, you'd be forgiven for wondering if it's worth it. While there's no denying the beauty of an Internally Flawless diamond, we suggest that most couples simply choose a stone that's eye clean. And that opens up many more of the other clarity grades. The reasoning? We want you to love your stone day after day, and that means it has to look good to you. But you're never going to be looking at your own stone under magnification. So that means, to us, that there's really no need for an Internally Flawless diamond ring, unless there's a personal or cultural reason that gives this stone significance.

But if neither situation applies to you, consider other diamond clarities. A diamond with a slightly lower clarity grade will sparkle just about as well an IF diamond, which is what most people really care about. Inclusions below the VS range can only be seen under magnification so no one can tell if you diamond is IF or VS2 anyway. Most of this comes down to personal preference and priorities.

Buying Internally Flawless (IF) Diamonds

Prices increase exponentially in IF clarity diamonds as the other diamond attributes such as cut, color and carat increase. Therefore, be sure to strike a happy medium unless you truly have no budget and can pay for the highest grade in every category. For example, a 1.00 carat Internally Flawless diamond price with a color grade of D hovers somewhere around $17,000, though prices are constantly fluctuating. Compromise on your color grade and opt for a G color diamond, and your bill will look a bit closer to $9,000 for the same size IF diamond.

As you can see, 1.00 ct diamonds, holding all else equal, have huge differences in price, upwards of 20%. The different though, is nominal in terms of sparkle and appearance. Feel free to purchase IF diamonds online because you do not need to see the diamond prior to buying. No inclusions means there's really nothing to see or evaluate. Start by viewing online and pair the clarity with the other diamond 4Cs to identify if IF is the right clarity range for you given your price range and budget. Like everything else, clarity is something you should balance and determine how important it is for you.

Flawless Vs. Internally Flawless Diamonds

When considering diamond clarity, internally flawless and flawless diamond engagement rings represent the pinnacle of perfect diamond clarity. Internally flawless (IF) diamonds are just as rare and precious as flawless ones. They are also usually just as pricey. As with the flawless diamond, an internally flawless diamond can only be identified by a skilled professional. However, unlike its flawless counterpart, an internally flawless diamond may appear flawed on the outside with blemishes on the surface on the stone. Special equipment and further examination is needed to decide if an outwardly blemished gem still classifies as IF.





Fl & IF diamond clarity.

Diamond Certification Clarity Scales

Although diamond clarity scales vary depending on the laboratory, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) serves as the industry standard. Flawless (FL) and Internally Flawless (IF) diamonds top the GIA clarity scale, followed by Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2), Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2), and Included (S1, S2, S3) diamonds.

When determining clarity, the GIA considers the size, nature, position, color, and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10x magnification. Flawless diamonds are defined as those with no visible inclusions or blemishes. Internally Flawless (IF) diamonds are those with visible blemishes-but no inclusions. Essentially, the difference between a Flawless diamond engagement ring and an Internally Flawless diamond ring is the presence of blemishes on the diamond's surface. Any surface blemishes such as surface graining, naturals, extra facets, or polish marks would downgrade a diamond from Flawless to Internally Flawless. Thus, a Flawless and Internally Flawless diamond have the same internal clarity, with the differentiating factor exiting as a matter of the polishing of the diamond's facets.

It is nearly impossible for the naked eye to differentiate between flawless and internally flawless diamonds rings. Even trained gemologists using microscopes may have a difficult time. Despite this extreme difficulty in detecting any visual differences between internally flawless diamonds and flawless diamonds, the internally flawless diamond price differs greatly from that of a flawless diamond.

Diamond Clarity Grading Reports

When reading the grading report of an internally flawless diamond, you may see comments such as "minor details of polish are not shown," "surface graining is not shown," and "minor details of finish are not shown." These comments are normal because they refer to the namesake inherent blemishes that distinguish an internally flawless diamond from a flawless diamond. Although these blemishes can be removed with further polishing, diamond cutters choose not to continue polishing in order to avoid decreasing the diamond's carat weight and risk reducing its monetary value. In contrast, any internal inclusions such as surface grain lines that extend into the diamond's body would cause a diamond to fall out of the category of Flawless and Internally Flawless diamonds and such inclusions cannot be removed with further polishing.

However, despite the grading report's prestigious title of "Flawless," Flawless diamonds are not truly flawless. In reality, no diamond is truly flawless. As mentioned, the definition of a Flawless diamond is one that has no inclusions visible under 10x magnification. Because diamonds are formed in nature under turbulent conditions of extreme heat and pressure, diamonds cannot be 100% pure. Thus, when using more powerful magnification, such as 60x or 100x, a Flawless diamond engagement ring may actually present visible blemishes.

Flawless Diamond Benefits

Other than the psychological satisfaction and a drastic price difference, a flawless diamond engagement ring does not hold greater tangible value than an internally flawless diamond ring. If looking for the greatest visual impact, allocate your budget to a high cut grade, rather than clarity. Ultimately, when choosing between a Flawless and Internally Flawless diamond, the deciding factor is the value you place on a diamond that has been deemed "Flawless" by the judging laboratory.

When selecting a diamond, steer clear of focusing too heavily on any one of a diamond's 4Cs. It is crucial to find a well balanced diamond that has an optimal balance between cut, clarity, carat, and color.

Flawless Diamond Vs. VVS Diamond

If you're choosing between a flawless diamond and a VVS grade diamond, there are a couple things to consider. First, a VVS1 diamond will be the closest to the flawless diamond. VVS2 diamonds have more inclusions than the VVS1 stones. VVS stones have inclusions that are visible under magnification, though they're generally eye clean stones. So choosing between these two comes down to asking yourself how concerned you are with what you cannot see. If you're fine with diamond inclusions that can only be seen under magnification, go with the VVS stone and save yourself significant money. An expert gemologist can help you find the right VVS stone for your goals and budget.