The Complete Guide to Internally Flawless Diamonds
“What exactly is an Internally Flawless diamond? I ran across this 1.02 carat, D-color, Internally Flawless, Brian Gavin Signature diamond while searching for one carat diamonds. To be honest, I’m not looking for anything this expensive, I’m more just curious about what the clarity term internally flawless means. When I read the definitions of the diamond clarity grades as described by the GIA Laboratory, the grading criteria for flawless and internally flawless diamonds seems to be the same? With this in mind, could you explain the differences between flawless and internally flawless diamonds in layman’s terms? Thank you.”
The Meaning of Internally Flawless Diamond Clarity:
According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) the Internally Flawless (IF) clarity grade means that “No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification.”
Whereas the GIA defines the grading criteria for a Flawless (FL) diamond to mean that “No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification.”
As you have noted, the difference between a Flawless and Internally Flawless diamond is very slight. In the case of a flawless diamond, a trained grader is unable to find any inclusions or blemishes while evaluating the diamond using 10x magnification.
I have to admit that at first glance, the definition of a flawless and internally flawless diamond might seem quite similar, but the difference is defined by the use of the and/or statement.
Flawless vs Internally Flawless Diamonds:
A diamond may be graded as internally flawless if no inclusions are visible under 10x magnification AND only blemishes are present. Whereas a diamond is considered to be flawless when a trained grader does not observe any inclusions OR blemishes while evaluating the diamond using 10x magnification.
With this in mind, a flawless diamond does not contain inclusions OR blemishes which are visible under 10x magnification, while an internally flawless diamond is free of inclusions, but might contain blemishes. Simple enough when you think about it, but this slight difference in the descriptions throws a lot of people for a loop! (pun intended)
Suffice to say that the primary difference between the flawless and internally flawless clarity grades is as simple as internal versus external. An internally flawless clarity diamond might contain minor blemishes which are present on the surface of the diamond, but the diamond is “internally flawless” because there are no inclusions visible within the diamond (internally) at 10x magnification.
Learn more: Internally Flawless vs. VVS1 Clarity in Diamonds
What Are Blemishes on a Diamond?
According to the GIA: “Blemishes occur after a diamond’s formation, during the cutting, mounting, and wearing of a polished diamond. Extra facets, polish lines (thin parallel grooves and ridges) or burns (from excessive heat on the polishing wheel during cutting) are examples of blemishes introduced during the manufacturing process. Nicks, scratches, chips and abrasions are examples of blemishes introduced during the handling, mounting or wearing of a diamond. Chips are shallow openings where part of the diamond was broken off, most often at the girdle edge.”
Now. The reality is that most inclusions and blemishes are extremely minute and will most likely not be seen by anybody other than a trained diamond grader who is using special equipment. In extremely rare instances, a diamond may appear to be flawless, exhibiting a total absence of inclusions or blemishes, when evaluated using 10x magnification.
It's more common, for a diamond to appear to be internally flawless, but for some sort of minor blemish to be present, in which case, the diamond may be graded internally flawless.
In this instance, it is common to see the comment “minor details of finish (or polish) not shown” (on the plotting diagram) which is basically an industry standard CYA statement, because the reality is that inclusions and/or blemishes might be visible if the diamond is evaluated using higher degrees of magnification, such as 30x, 40x, and higher.
Is There Such Thing as A Flawless Diamond?
With this in mind, you might be wondering whether there is such a thing as a flawless diamond. After all, it seems that “flawless” is something which is only flawless as seen under 10x magnification. However, inclusions and/or blemishes might be visible when a diamond is evaluated using higher degrees of magnification.
You might consider that terms such as flawless and internally flawless represent specific forms of rarity within the scope of diamond clarity. The diamond industry is not really using the terms flawless and internally flawless clarity to represent degrees of perfection.
If you think about it, the entire system of diamond grading is built upon the premise of dividing diamond characteristics into spectrums of rarity. This 1.02 carat, D-color, Internally Flawless, Brian Gavin Signature hearts and arrows diamond is relatively rare for several reasons:
• Carat Weight: 1+ carats.
• D-color, the rarest due to a lack of color.
• Internally Flawless clarity, no inclusions visible at 10x magnification.
• Super Ideal Cut, Hearts & Arrows, the pinnacle of diamond cutting.
Suffice to say, that the value of this Brian Gavin Signature hearts and arrows diamond is based on the rarity of diamonds with these characteristics in the market. The value of this diamond extends beyond the basic premise that diamonds are rare. The combination of carat weight, color, clarity, and cut quality (including the degree of optical precision that creates the hearts pattern) are what determine the market value of this diamond.
But what really sets this diamond apart from the rest, is the degree of optical precision which creates the hearts pattern. In turn, the higher degree of optical precision creates more sparkle, and sparkle which is even more vivid and intense than what the average ideal cut diamond exhibits.