What are IF (Internally Flawless) clarity diamonds? | Rare Carat

Rian here - we’ve written these clarity grade articles for you to get the nitty gritty on each diamond clarity grade. You can also get the big picture: view our page on the diamond clarity scale or read more posts in diamonds 101 about specific diamond clarity grades. Enjoy!

The Details About IF Clarity Diamonds

The terms ‘Flawless’ and ‘Internally Flawless’ are often used interchangeably when it comes to diamonds. In fact, many people don’t even know that they are technically two different clarity grades.

That said, the difference between them is absolutely miniscule, and is basically the equivalent of comparing the deliciousness of a perfect chocolate cupcake with another perfect chocolate cupcake. They are both internally flawless and both ridiculously expensive. So, what is the difference?

IF Diamonds v. FL Diamonds

Imagine a glass of wine. That glass has a few smudges on the outside, and looks a little less than perfect. If I poured some red wine into this particular glass, the smudges might impair my view and enjoyment of that ruby elixir (although let’s face it, it probably wouldn’t).

This is what is meant by the term ‘Internally Flawless.' Although the inside of the diamond is technically ‘Flawless,’ there are very, very tiny blemishes on the surface of the diamond that hold it back from getting the ‘Flawless’ stamp of approval.

What Makes a Diamond IF?

Often these flaws are due to sloppy polishing during the manufacturing stage for example some tiny polishing lines or tool marks visible on the surface of the diamond, which then impact the grade it can be given. In many cases, these IF diamonds could be polished further so as to erase the blemishes, but that would mean losing very valuable carat weight in the process. 

So, is it worth forking out your hard-earned cash on an ‘Internally Flawless’ diamond? Let’s see. Below are two diamonds with identical specs, save for the clarity grades;

 As you can see, there is a $5,300 difference in price between these two gems, and it all comes down to clarity. Bearing in mind these stones are under 10x magnification (so in real life the differences would be even less noticeable), do you think there is $5,300 worth of extra quality here?

This is an extreme example and in most cases an SI1 will be inferior to an IF. I use this example simply to show you how little difference that extra clarity grade can make to the look of a stone, and how big a difference it can make to your wallet.

Are IF Diamonds Worth the Cash?

The truth is, there are far better deals to be had down in the VS2/SI1/SI2 range, that will not impact the look of the diamond without breaking the bank.

Finally, a word of warning, and it is the same warning as I gave when discussing ‘Flawless’ in the previous section. If you insist on getting an IF diamond, do not scrimp on the cut quality of an IF diamond, it’s just a waste. A bad cut will impact the sparkle and brilliance.

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Dr. Rian Mulcahy
Dr. Rian Mulcahy
Rian is officially a Diamond PhD - just ping us if you’d like to read her fascinating 200-page thesis, titled Facets of Value: An Investigation into the Formation of Worth in the Diamond Market. She has consulted various firms all along the pipeline, from the rough diamond market to the recycled diamond industry. She holds an MA in Globalisation and Development from University College Cork and a PhD in the Sociology of Diamond Valuation from the London School of Economics.