Wanting to know about FL Diamonds?
In this Learning Guide, I'll answer everything you need to know about purchasing FL diamonds, such as:
- Are flawless diamonds actually flawless?
- Is it worth it to buy flawless diamonds?
- How to save money on flawless diamonds?
What is an FL Diamond?
An FL diamond is a diamond whose clarity grade has been determined as flawless. Flawless diamonds are the highest clarity grade available in the diamond industry. An FL diamond has no visible inclusions or blemishes to the naked eye, or under 10x magnification.
However, you should know that no diamond is truly flawless. Even flawless diamonds may have surface irregularities or faint blemishes only able to be seen at extreme magnification, beyond 50x.
A flawless diamond clarity grade is considered extremely rare, especially in large carats. Overall, flawless diamonds represent less than 1% of diamonds graded.
Diamond Clarity and Inclusions
Diamond clarity is listed as one of the biggest factors of a diamond's quality. The Gemological Institute of America created the 4cs of Diamond Quality. This system focuses on four major pillars of diamond quality: Diamond cut quality, diamond color, diamond clarity, and diamond carat weight.
Each of the 4Cs have their own grading standards and charts. Diamond clarity grades are given when a gemological laboratory observes natural clarity characteristics in a diamond.
Clarity characteristics can also be called flaws, imperfections, birthmarks. But the official terms are inclusions and blemishes. Inclusions represents characteristics within the diamond.
Inclusions come in all shapes and sizes. They are generally split up into internal inclusions and surface blemishes. Typically inclusions affect the visibility of your diamond rather than the durability. Some blemishes on the surface can affect durability if the diamond is struck accidentally in the wrong place.
However, these types of blemishes aren't usually found in commercial diamonds.
The Official GIA Clarity Scale
The graders at the GIA laboratory assess the details of inclusions and surface blemishes based on these particular details:
- Size: The size of inclusions and blemishes present.
- Location: Inclusions and blemishes located in the center table facet of the diamond tend to be more noticeable than inclusions located on the outer edges or in the pavilion.
- Color: Majority of commercial diamonds sold will either have white inclusions or dark inclusions. Dark inclusions are more noticeable than white colored inclusions. Diamonds are even capable of having bright colored inclusions caused by other gem materials, like garnets or emeralds. These are not sold in stores.
- Nature: There are many types of inclusions and characteristics. Some types can affect durability and others only visibility. Some inclusions happen as a result of the growth process and others happen during the cutting and polishing process.
- Relief: The appearance of an inclusion or blemish in relation to the surrounding area. Basically the way an inclusion appears according to the facet cuts around it.
After these details are assessed, the diamond is given a clarity grade from the Official GIA Clarity Scale:
Not every gemological lab that assigns clarity grades are as strict or as reputable as the GIA. Most laboratories still assign clarity grades according to the GIA's clarity scale.
FL Diamonds vs IF Diamonds
An IF diamond falls right below an FL diamond on the clarity scale. There is minimal difference between the two. Both internally flawless diamonds and flawless diamonds are considered to be rare and high clarity grades. Both clarity grades have no visible imperfections to the naked eye.
However, FL diamonds are more rare and come with a more expensive price difference. Typically, an FL diamond will come with an increase from 10% to over 40%, depending on quality factors.
As you choose higher carat weights for FL clarity diamonds, the price increase rises exponentially because of the rarity of FL diamonds available in a larger carat size.
You can have a beautiful diamond whether you choose internally flawless diamonds or flawless diamonds. Neither an internally flawless diamond or a flawless one has visible inclusions that will impede the light performance or compromise the durability.
Unlike a flawless diamond, an internally flawless diamond will have surface blemishes seen under higher magnification. These blemishes are unable to be seen under 10x magnification, but can be seen beyond that.
FL Diamonds vs VVS1 Diamond Clarity
VVS1 diamonds fall two clarity grades below flawless (FL) diamonds. Both diamond clarity grades are considered high clarity and are eye clean grades.
VVS diamonds are Very, Very Slightly Included. Under 10x magnification, a VVS1 diamond may have small blemishes and inclusions. These inclusions aren't usually noticeable or dark in color. FL diamonds don't have any blemishes or inclusions under 10x magnification.
Typically VVS diamonds are still considered expensive, but not as expensive as flawless diamonds. VVS diamonds account for less than 5% of diamonds graded. But that's still not as rare as the 1% of fl diamonds.
Overall, a VVS1 diamond can run 20% to over 40% less expensive than an FL diamond.
Are Flawless Diamonds Expensive?
Assuming that all other diamond grades and details of a flawless diamond are good quality, it's safe to assume that flawless diamonds are expensive. After all, they're the highest clarity grade available on the GIA clarity scale.
The price of a flawless diamond depends on its other quality factors as well as the rest of the 4Cs. You can expect a D color flawless diamond to cost more than a J color flawless diamond of similar quality.
Because diamonds quality is assessed by a number of different factors, it's not a guarantee all flawless diamonds will be more expensive than an internally flawless diamond or lower clarity grade.
The price of a flawless diamond typically starts high and increases as the other quality factors do. As the carat weight of flawless diamonds go up, the price goes up a LOT more.
Overall, you can expect a 1 carat flawless diamond to range from $10,000 to over $100,000 for the highest grades.
Save on FL Diamonds with Lab Grown Diamonds
Lab grown diamonds are a great way to achieve high quality diamonds at a huge discount when compared to diamonds mined out of the ground. Lab diamonds are real diamonds that have been produced in a laboratory environment by simulating the same conditions that happen to diamond underground.
They have the same quality standards, crystal structure, and grades as natural diamonds. They're a lot easier to produce than the diamond mining process and better for the environment too.
Because of the ease of production, the monetary value and prices of lab grown diamonds are different than with mined diamonds.
The industry says lab created diamonds can be 20-40% less expensive than mined diamonds of the same grades.
If you choose to buy a lab grown diamond engagement ring, you can get a Flawless diamond at a pretty good discount. However, don't expect them to be super cheap, as its still the highest clarity grade on the scale.
Overall, a 1 carat lab grown diamond with flawless clarity can run as low as $3,000 to around 8,000. This price increases when the carat weight is increased, but still not as much with mined diamonds.
Is FL Clarity Good for an Engagement Ring?
Most people would assume that a flawless diamond would indicate a stunning diamond for an engagement ring. However, that's not always true.
For diamonds sold commercially, both online and in-stores, flawless diamonds would typically be high quality. But as I mentioned before, the increase of customers visiting individual seller stores on Etsy has made it harder to find true high quality diamonds.
For someone who doesn't know too much about cut quality, they might not realize that a 1/2 carat flawless diamond with I color and Good cut grade isn't necessarily considered a high quality diamond.
Remember, diamond quality factors aren't just centered around diamond clarity. If your cut quality isn't great, your flawless diamond may appear kind of dull. Flawless diamonds are also less rare if other factors are lackluster.
Assuming that all other details of your diamond are a good balance on quality, it's safe to believe that a flawless diamond ring will be beautiful.
That being said, I don't find a flawless diamond to be the best value for a stunning engagement ring.
It's a standing belief of mine that you don't need the highest grades across all fronts in order to have the perfect diamond engagement ring. I don't believe you should pay more than you have to for a gorgeous diamond ring.
Unless you've got the money, that is. If that's the case, then full speed ahead Captain, we're all jealous of you.
For the rest of us peasants, diamond prices are expensive. And there's no reason to pay more for something you can't see with your own eyes.
If you're still confused, let me explain.
Typically the following clarity diamonds are said to be eye clean stones:
So, my here's my logic. If all of these clarity grades don't have inclusions visible with the naked eye, why would I pay for the highest tier with the highest price?
I mean, I think most people don't plan on staring at their diamond ring under magnification other than before purchasing it. And the only difference between all of these eye clean clarity grades is the way their inclusions look under magnification, I'd much rather take a price cut for no real visual difference that I'm going to notice.
After all, the price difference between VS diamonds and FL diamonds is a big one. Flawless diamonds can come with over a 30% to 50% increase in cost.
Should I Buy a Certified FL Diamond?
If you're buying a loose diamond of any clarity or a preset engagement ring, always buy a certified diamond. Certified diamonds are diamonds that come with a card or digital report describing the details of your diamond or engagement ring.
Diamond certification is also called a grading report. Not every grading lab that provides reports for their diamonds is reputable, so make sure you go with a certified diamond from a lab that is consistent and well-respected in the industry.
I never recommend purchasing uncertified diamonds (like majority of the engagement rings from Kay's or Zales). Without certification from a reputable authority, there's no real proof that your diamond is the quality they say it is.
And with more people foregoing popular retailers for Etsy and Facebook sellers, having proof of quality is more important than ever.
Flawless diamonds are some of the most expensive diamonds out there, especially in larger carat weights. Those are extremely rare. You absolutely need proof that your flawless diamond ring is actually flawless, otherwise you may pay for a worse quality diamond than what you thought you paid for.
Where to Buy the Best FL Diamonds?
To me, the best diamond is beautiful and an excellent value. I don't know about you, but I like to save money and still be fancy with high quality stuff. I like the finer things in life, but I guess my wallet didn't catch the memo.
Fortunately, there's many ways to save money on diamonds. One way I recommend is by buying FL diamonds online.
I don't recommend buying them anywhere, but from an online retailer that has customer reviews and reliable relations to the diamond industry.
It may be more difficult to buy internally flawless diamonds or flawless diamonds from local brick-and-mortar jewelry stores. Online, they have at least a few pages of loose stones to through. You can often see them at high magnification and filter down your choices to your desired grades.
FAQs on Flawless Diamond Clarity
Are FL diamonds more valuable than other clarity grades?
Yes, Flawless diamonds are highly valued due to their exceptional rarity and immaculate clarity. Their scarcity and flawless appearance contribute to their higher value compared to lower clarity grades.
Can FL diamonds have visible imperfections to the naked eye?
Flawless diamonds are graded based on their appearance under 10x magnification, where no inclusions or flaws are visible. However, it is still possible for a Flawless diamond to have very slight imperfections or blemishes that are invisible to the naked eye.
Are FL diamonds a good investment choice?
Flawless diamonds are considered excellent investments due to their rarity and enduring value. However, it's important to consider other factors such as diamond cut, color, and carat weight when evaluating the investment potential of a diamond.
Can FL diamonds have different shapes and sizes?
Yes, Flawless diamonds can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes. Whether you prefer a round brilliant, princess, or any other diamond shape, you can find Flawless diamonds to suit your preferences.