Internally Flawless (IF) diamonds fall just below the pinnacle peak of the GIA diamond clarity scale. These gems are virtually perfect, given their absence of blemishes and inclusions visible under 10x magnification.
As stated, Internally flawless diamonds exhibit no inclusions visible under 10x magnification. However, they may include minor finish details, such as blemishes and surface graining.
Arguably, there's more to the picture-perfect grade than meets the eye. First, a discrepancy between the public and industry-wide expectations of the term "Flawless." Secondly, widespread misconceptions about clarity's impact on a diamond's light performance exist.
It's worth diving deep into diamond clarity grading and cut quality. As that will help determine whether Internally Flawless diamonds are worth the premium.
What is an internally flawless diamond?
Internally Flawless (IF) diamonds are those with visible blemishes--but no inclusions. In contrast, a Flawless diamond has no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification, with no extra facets, polish marks, or surface graining.
Contrary to popular opinion, diamond clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and surface blemishes. Inclusions are internal characteristics, while blemishes are external.
The GIA diamond clarity scale below shows Flawless and Internally Flawless diamonds at the apex:
Flawless vs. IF Diamonds: The Barely Noticeable Difference
Flawless diamonds, the rarest grade diamond, have neither internal nor external imperfections. On the other hand, an internally flawless diamond might have minor surface blemishes, but they're not visible to the naked eye.
Flawless and Internally Flawless (IF) diamond engagement rings offer pristine clarity, but do they sparkle more? In truth, once you transcend beyond VS2 clarity, the difference is not apparent in the face-up position.
In that case, the difference between an internally flawless and a flawless diamond is not apparent without magnification. Consequently, 10x magnification is the industry standard for diamond clarity grading. Most graders use significantly higher levels when grading anything higher than VS1 clarity.
Look at this Internally Flawless, Black by Brian Gavin Black super ideal cut diamond. The lab report comments indicate that "minor details of polish are not shown." However, it seems irrelevant, given that they're too minute to see at this level of magnification.
Internally Flawless Diamonds vs. Lower Clarity Grades
Many mistakenly believe that higher clarity equals better performance and sparkle factor. Diamond clarity has little bearing on light return and sparkle intensity below VS2. You can read more on that subject in our diamond buying guides for each shape.
How do IF diamonds compare with those lower on the clarity scale, such as VVS1 or VVS2? Internally Flawless diamonds appear to be free of inclusions under 10x magnification.
In contrast, VVS diamonds have 'Very, Very Slight' inclusions that are difficult to see through a diamond grading loupe. However, these minute inclusions are challenging to locate using 10x magnification.
That makes VVS diamonds an attractive, more affordable option. However, we could say the same thing about VS diamonds, which are even less expensive.
Step-cut diamonds like emeralds and Asscher-cuts are the exception. The facet structure makes it particularly easy to see inclusions without magnification. Therefore, paying the premium for higher clarity makes sense in this instance.
Does Carat Weight Influence the Visibility of Imperfections?
Interestingly, carat weight does influence the visibility of inclusions and blemishes. Inclusions may be more visible in larger diamonds due to the increased size and facet surface area. However, inclusions should not be visible in the face-up position of VS2 and higher-clarity diamonds.
Is an Internally Flawless Diamond Worth the Cost?
Ultimately, the decision to purchase one clarity grade over another comes down to personal preference. If the minute details matter to you, an Internally Flawless diamond engagement ring offers unparalleled clarity. But remember, many of these details are not visible to the naked eye.
Fortunately, the following suppliers offer a range of diamonds across all clarity grades:
In that case, you have plenty of options to find the perfect ring for your budget and taste. An internally flawless diamond is an exquisite choice. The grade uniquely embodies the romance and commitment that an engagement ring symbolizes.