The Flawless (FL) and Internally Flawless (IF) Grades

See the imperfection in the diamond below?

D color Flawless Hearts & Arrows Diamond

No you don't. :)  It's *Flawless*.  A 2.04ct D color, Flawless, GIA XXX Hearts & Arrows Cut to boot!

As defined, flawless diamonds have no internal inclusions or external blemishes as examined under 10x magnification.That however doesn't mean a flawless diamond is always absolutely flawless.  The gemologists at GIA determined that as long as it is flawless under 10x then even if you can find a minute imperfection at greater than 10x ... legally they don't exist. For all sakes and purposes though if you can't find it under a 10x microscope it's not there. :) Flawless constitutes the rarest grade of diamond clarity and it, along with the Internally flawless (IF) grade together constitute less than 1% of gem quality diamonds in the world.  You always have to bear in mind when it comes to the world of diamonds ... rarity = value so when characteristics fall into a "less than 1%" category you can expect to pay a premium for it.

The FL and IF grades generally appeal to purists and/or investors.  There are individuals as well as cultures that feel the purity of a diamond represents the purity of love they have for their beloved whom they desire to engage to be married to and since the diamond they give is a representation and expression of that love seek to purchase the highest clarity their dollar can buy. 

2.04ct D Flawless in Hemisphere Lighting by Good Old Gold

It is important to understand that while Flawless and Internally flawless diamonds are rare, they don't necessarily contribute to beauty.  A diamond can be free of imperfection yet not brilliant.  Brilliance and diamond optics deal strictly with the issues of cut which we'll get to in that chapter.

Here is an example of an external blemish on a GIA XXX E IF diamond.  We actually resubmitted the diamond just to ensure the IF grade and there was no change.

external blemish on an IF clarity

If you'd like to learn more in depth information with photomicrographs about the VVS1 and VVS2 grades click here The VVS Clarity Grades