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There are two tiers of diamonds that are much sought-after the world over. Their names inspire envy in collectors and awe in new buyers, with each one of them sat on a very well-deserved pedestal. They’re incredibly beautiful and incredibly rare.
We’re talking about, of course, Flawless and Internally Flawless diamonds. With large price tags and the utmost rarity, these jewels are the crowning glory for all diamond aficionados. It’s not often you’ll find them, but when you do, they’re truly something to behold.
Due to their price and scarcity, it’s not often they will be bought. You yourself may be considering a lower-graded diamond, which can be just as visually impressive. However, if you’re ready and willing, a Flawless or Internally Flawless diamond can be the investment of a lifetime.
But before you go any further, it’s always worthwhile researching these stunning stones. In this guide, you’ll find all you need to know about IF and F diamonds.
- What is Diamond Clarity
- Flawless Diamonds
- Internally Flawless Diamonds
- Where to Buy
What is Diamond Clarity?
Clarity is a term used within the diamond world to denote the purity of a specific diamond. It refers specifically to the presence of ‘inclusions’ within a diamond, which are made up of various types of blemish or imperfection that can impact the light performance and visual appeal of a diamond.
The diamond clarity scale was originally created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), who divide clarity into eleven grades:
- F - Flawless
- IF - Internally Flawless
- VVS1 - Very Very Slightly Included 1
- VVS2 - Very Very Slightly Included 2
- VS1 - Very Slightly Included 1
- VS2 - Very Slightly Included 2
- SI1 - Slightly Included 1
- SI2 - Slightly Included 2
- I1 - Included 1
- I2 - Included 2
- I3 - Included 3
The diamonds we’re focusing on today, F and IF, are the highest clarity grade available. What this means is that these diamonds are the rarest, the purest, the most beautiful, and often, the most expensive.
You can find out more about diamond clarity in our in-depth guide here.
Flawless (F or FL) diamonds sit at the very top of the diamond clarity scale. These are diamonds with absolutely no inclusions, and are exceptionally rare, representing an incredibly tiny portion of the diamond market—roughly 0.001%.
Here we have a Flawless 1.06 carat round cut diamond available at Blue Nile. As you can see, there are no visible inclusions, and also none to be found by the diamond experts who verified this diamond as Flawless. With an ideal cut and D coloration, what we have here is an incredibly beautiful diamond.
Collectors will be looking for rare diamonds, and F clarity diamonds truly fit that description. There is an irresistible pull about them, and people are prepared to part ways with a lot of money to satisfy that pull.
Internally Flawless Diamonds
Internally Flawless diamonds are second only to their Flawless cousins. The GIA defines them as having ‘No inclusions and only blemishes that are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification’. Essentially, they’re just as pure as Flawless diamonds, but may have one external blemish that will end up making them lose out on that very top spot. But don’t underestimate these diamonds, they’re every bit as sought after as F diamonds.
Alongside that, any blemish present will also not be visible to the naked eye, with diamond experts sometimes struggling to tell the difference. One difference obvious (and potentially beneficial) to everyone, is that because of their IF grading, these diamonds can sometimes be priced at 30% less than a similar diamond graded F. Because of this, IF represents much better value to a lot of interested parties.
This 1.021 ct D IF diamond by Whiteflash is a perfect example of an internally flawless diamond. There are virtually no differences between this diamond and the former, except a slight difference in carat weight and around a $3,000 difference in price.
How to Choose and IF or F Clarity Diamond
If you’ve read our other guides on diamond clarity, you’d probably at this point expect us to say ‘Always look for an eye-clean diamond’—and we would, if we were talking about lower diamond grades. Because these are IF and F clarity diamonds we’re talking about, you can skip this step, as these gradings automatically guarantee an eye-clean diamond.
You focus then should be on the overall quality of the cut. It would be a sad day to see a Flawless diamond ruined with a poor quality cut, and so cut is everything. In fact, cut is potentially the most important facet of any diamond, as a good cut can elevate even lower-graded diamonds. Ultimately, cut has the largest impact on the light performance you’ll be able to experience in a diamond.
Also, consider budget. We’d never want you to purchase something you can’t afford as that would be unethical. Remember, you can get gorgeous VS1 or VS2 diamonds that can be just as impressive as F or IF, and for a fraction of the price. In fact, it may make objective financial sense to choose a lower clarity grade, especially if the purchase is for an engagement ring which is going to be worn practically every day and will be subject to the wear and tear that comes with everyday life.
IF and F Diamonds: Our Final Thoughts
When comparing an IF to a VVS1 or VVS2, there is nothing the former can offer that can’t be found in the latter—especially if the latter is eye-clean. That’s why collectability is important when considering purchasing an F or IF. These are diamonds you invest in, cherish, and form bonds with.
Experienced buyers will realise that the premiums of enhanced price account for qualities that can’t be seen, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not there. After all, exclusivity is an incredibly attractive thing.
Where To Buy IF and F Diamonds
Further down the ladder I would recommend Astor by Blue Nile, followed by True Hearts™ by James Allen. All three have their own merits, along with high quality customer service.
To discover our full and detailed thoughts on these diamond retailers, visit our review section.