IF Diamond Clarity Guide

Internally flawless. The words alone are enough to spark excitement in diamond collectors and enthusiasts. Sitting at the top end of the GIA clarity scale, internally flawless diamonds (IF) are as rare as they are beautiful. High prices and scarcity mean that internally flawless diamonds are not the typical choice for jewelry shoppers; even for engagement rings. However, for those seeking something truly rare, owning an internally flawless diamond is a special privilege enjoyed by very few.
Superb diamonds are available well below the flawless grade, so an IF diamond does not offer the best price-to-beauty trade off, but there are many reasons why customers opt for a top tier clarity. If you have your heart set on an IF diamond, or you can’t decide whether it’s the right grade for you, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.

What is an IF Diamond?

IF is a clarity grade by the GIA that stands for internally flawless. It is one of the two highest grades for a diamond clarity, second only to FL (flawless). For most people the IF and FL grades are thought of as essentially equivalent- they are flawless diamonds.
Clarity Grading Scale
The GIA defines an IF diamond as possessing the following clarity properties:
‘No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification’
Confusion may arise from this description, as it is essentially the same as that of a flawless diamond. The difference between them lies in the presence of external blemishes. An IF diamond would be graded FL if not for some minor feature on the surface of the diamond such as an abrasion, scratch, natural, or surface graining. Such blemishes would not be visible to the naked eye but would still cause a diamond to be bumped down from an FL to an IF grade. Even diamond experts struggle to differentiate between FL and IF diamonds. Despite this, FL diamonds still command prices up to 30% higher than IF diamonds – a huge leap considering the prices for IF diamonds are already so steep. Because surface blemishes can be the result of wear, a diamond can go from FL to IF simply as a result of setting and/or wearing it. Therefore, most people looking for an engagement ring or other piece of jewelry are generally not willing to pay a premium for a FL over an IF. IF represents the better value.

Choosing an IF Diamond

Usually in this section we would tell you how to examine a diamond for inclusions and find ‘eye-clean’ diamonds; when you are looking at IF diamonds, this step is obviously not necessary! An IF grading naturally guarantees an absolutely eye-clean diamond. Occasionally we hear people suggest the potential for external blemishes to have an impact upon light performance but in our opinion, it is highly unlikely than an internally flawless diamond will have any blemishes severe enough to have a detrimental effect on brilliance. We simply do not see this. Instead, the focus should be on cut quality when considering all-important light performance. The precision of the overall cut of the diamond has the greatest impact upon light return and sparkle. It is so important in fact, that an ideal cut diamond many clarity grades lower will be far more beautiful to the eye than a flawless diamond with a mediocre cut.
The successful purchase of a diamond is about finding a balance, and this means different things to different customers. Because buying a diamond for an engagement ring or to mark an important occasion is a highly symbolic and emotional purchase, some shoppers have their heart set on a flawless diamond. And if the budget allows, then why not! But we have seen plenty of customers pressured into top clarity grades, while neglecting cut quality and not respecting budget restrictions. At Whiteflash, we believe in finding the right diamond to suit you and will never push towards top grades unnecessarily.

Should I Buy an IF Clarity Diamond?

First of all, IF clarity diamonds are rare. If you are facing time constraints, the pressure will be on to find the right one. Difficult, but not impossible. For many customers seeking an IF diamond, the rarity is a huge part of the appeal and the victory of finding one of these extraordinary gems is part of the experience.
There is no one ‘type’ of customer who wants an IF diamond, but our decades of experience have shown us it comes down to three key factors; budget, purity and collectability.
There is nothing an IF diamond can offer optically that cannot be found in an eye-clean diamond within the VS2-VVS1 grades, so this is where the matters of purity and collectability come into play. These are both culturally influenced (for example, across Asia purity is prized above all other qualities), a personal preference (some customers just want top tier grades) or attached to ideas of ‘investment’ or ‘collector’ quality diamonds.
An IF diamond with the same specs as a VS1 diamond can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars more, despite looking virtually identical. This is where both budget and collectability factors come into play; buyers seeking the top clarity grades do so with the understanding that the premium goes towards factors which cannot be seen. Rarity and exclusivity, as well as beauty make a collection quality diamond.

Where Can I Buy an IF Clarity Diamond?

If you are looking for the best of the best, you need a diamond that checks off all the boxes, not just clarity. We created our A CUT ABOVE® Collection Series to offer our customers diamonds with the ultimate pedigree of diamond quality. To achieve the internationally acclaimed A CUT ABOVE® brand, these diamonds have to pass the most stringent gemological analysis. With the most stringent cut specifications resulting in unrivalled light performance, they perfectly pair with the very top tier color and clarity grades (DEF and FL-VVS).
Some jewelers will work for a lifetime and never come across a FL diamond; a fortunate few will have the chance to cast their eyes upon an IF diamond. They may not be the suitable choice for everyone, but if you are in the market for an IF diamond, you are sure to find something rare and outstanding at Whiteflash.

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