Flawless Diamonds – Should You Buy One And If Yes How?
Flawless diamonds or internally flawless (IF) diamonds are rare enough, but to find one that is also perfectly colorless (D color grade) is practically impossible. It is estimated that these represent just .001% of the world’s diamonds. Nonetheless, they make a popular engagement ring choice for people with the appropriate budget.
Even though they’re the ultimate in perfection, are Internally Flawless diamonds really the best choice? Does it make sense to hold out for an IF diamond if you have a budget you’re trying to stick to? What demographic do Flawless diamonds most appeal to?
Today we’re going to discuss why people are so enthralled with IF diamonds and along the way, you’ll be able to decide whether this clarity grade is right for you, especially if you want to get the most for your money.
What Makes a Diamond Flawless?
The clarity scales for diamonds are different among the various laboratories. But the one that really counts is the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). This is the gold standard when it comes to grading diamonds. At the very top of the GIA clarity scale are:
- Flawless (FL) diamonds.
- Followed by Flawless (IF).
- Then two grades of Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 & VVS2) diamonds
- Two grades of Very Slightly Included (VS1 & VS2)
- Two grades of Slightly Included (SI1 & SI2)
- And three grades of Included (I1, I2, I3) diamonds
The GIA takes a number of factors into consideration when determining the clarity grade of a diamond. They are the position, nature, quantity, and color of the clarity characteristics that you can see under 10x magnification. A diamond is given a Flawless clarity grade when it has no visible blemishes or inclusions. An Internally Flawless (IF) Diamond does have visible blemishes, but no inclusions.
Flawless Diamonds vs. Internally Flawless Diamonds
A diamond can only receive a clarity grade of Flawless when a highly trained diamond grader cannot see any blemishes or inclusions when inspecting the stone under 10x magnification. A diamond will receive a clarity grade of Internally Flawless (IF) if a trained grader cannot see any inclusions under 10x magnification, although there are some visible blemishes.
The Price of a 1-Carat Flawless Diamond
The price of a diamond will depend on more than just its size and clarity grade, the color and cut have an impact as well. But generally speaking, a 1-carat round-cut Flawless Diamond with D color could be priced anywhere between $12,400 to $15,500.
Prices of Flawless & Internally Flawless Diamonds
As you probably already realize, Flawless and Internally Flawless Diamonds come with fairly hefty price tags, but how much more will you pay over lesser quality diamonds?
You can expect the price on a Flawless Diamond to be 20%-30% more than a comparable Internally Flawless Diamond in the smaller sizes (under 1 carat) or with a lower color grade.
However, if you’re looking at larger diamonds in the top color grades, you can expect the prices to increase greatly. For example, the difference in price between a D/FL and D/IF diamond will be much more than between a G/FL and G/IF diamond.
If you want to compare the prices of diamonds, I highly recommend you turn to reputable vendors like James Allen or Blue Nile. They offer huge selections at very competitive prices.
Don’t be Trapped into Considering Diamonds with the “Best Clarity” Only
Many first-time buyers make the mistake of thinking that a D color diamond with F or IF clarity will be the very best quality. In actuality, nothing affects a diamond’s beauty (brilliance and fire) more than its cut.
Compare these two Internally Flawless Diamonds so that you can see how much of a different cut quality makes:
If you look at these diamonds side-by-side, you can see that there is no comparison when it comes to their light performance. The one on the left is at best average and it will never sparkle as much as the diamond on the right.
The problem with the dull looking diamond on the left is the proportions it’s been polished too. In the video, you can see that they are all wrong. The cut is terrible, so the diamond has hardly any contrast pattern, with the low crown angles suppressing the fire.
If you are prepared to pay the high price of a D/IF diamond, wouldn’t you like to end up with a diamond that displays incredible brilliance and fire? With this comparison, the stone on the right wins by a mile.
Which Clarity Grade Makes the Most Sense Moneywise?
Our impulse is to search out the highest clarity grade thinking that this guarantees quality, but when it comes to diamonds, they don’t have to be F or IF to be stunning. You can save money by looking for eye-clean diamonds among the lower clarity grades because any flaws they have can’t be seen by the naked eye.
Any GIA or AGS graded diamond with a clarity of VS1 or above is going to be eye-clean. If your goal is to get an eye-clean diamond, there is no need to look beyond a VS2 because beyond that you’re paying too much.
Compare these two diamonds. The one on the left is IF and the one on the right is VS2:
1.00-Carat G/IF Ideal Cut Round Diamond – $9,230
Eye Clean 1.02-Carat G/VS2 Excellent Round Cut Diamond – $7,530
You can clearly see that the VS2 diamond is eye clean and because it’s a lot less expensive it’s the smarter choice!
But if you want to get the most for your money, focus on a VS2 clarity, which is considered the sweet spot. This is where you’ll get the most for your money.
Also, keep in mind that diamonds with clarity grades of I1, I1 or I3 are NOT eye clean, so you want to avoid those. Diamonds with clarity grades of SI1 and SI2 may or may not be eye clean, so be careful.
Pro tip: Always make sure to only buy diamonds at places that issue diamond grading reports certified by GIA or AGS.
Clarity is More Important for Larger Diamonds
The larger the diamond, the easier it is to see the inclusions or blemishes. This is why clarity becomes more important for larger diamonds.
You can find eye-clean SI1 and SI2 diamonds, but you’re safer focusing in on VS2 or higher if you’re looking at 2-carat diamonds or larger.
Asscher and emerald cuts tend to show more flaws than round, princess, oval, cushion, pear and marquise cuts. So, if you’re looking at step-cuts, we would recommend that you limit yourself to VS2 or higher.
We want you to compare enough diamonds that you can see for yourself the difference in clarity grades. This does not have to be in person because you can see them even better under 40x magnification in a 360° HD video!
How Polish Affects a Diamond’s Brilliance
Diamonds with inclusions show less brilliance as do diamonds with surface blemishes because these flaws impede the light shining through.
Microscopic polish lines can reflect the light going in and out of the stone in a less than flattering way. So, if a diamond is graded poor or even fair polished, it will exhibit less brilliance.
Some cutters do not take the time to remove the flaws. Even though they could be eliminated by repolishing the stone. They argue that it will reduce the carat weight and thus the value. They would rather turn out a larger stone with a more popular carat weight than end up with a flawless diamond.
Some diamonds include an extra facet. An extra facet is a flat, polished surface that can occur anywhere on a polished diamond.
Where Would You Recommend Shopping for Flawless Diamonds?
No matter what size, color or clarity grade diamond you’re looking for, it’s critical that you’re able to actually see the diamond you’re buying. I recommend that you shop at James Allen or Blue Nile because they both have thousands of diamonds in stock. But the best part is that you can see them in 360° HD video!
This allows you to actually see the diamond’s overall performance, clarity, and color before buying. Go to James Allen and search D FL/IF diamonds.
Conclusion on Extremely Rare Flawless Diamonds
There is no doubt that a flawless gem is a beautiful diamonds that comes at a price. You never want to blindly buy a diamond. This is why James Allen is now the top choice for people wanting assurances about the clarity quality of the diamonds they’re buying.
They have state-of-the-art technology that lets you see how IF diamonds compare with lower clarity stones. Since they have 100s of thousands of diamonds available with advanced filtering tools, you can zero in on the stones you want to see in HD video.
Even though Internally Flawless and Flawless Diamonds are exceedingly rare, that doesn’t mean they sparkle the most or are the most beautiful. A fabulous cut is what creates a brilliant diamond, although being flawless does add to the quality.
Know the 4 Cs of cut, clarity, color and carat weight because the most exquisite diamond is more than its purity, it’s a combination of all 4 qualities.