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10 Things to Know About Flawless Diamonds (FL)

Flawless diamonds guide

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The term Flawless Diamond (or FL which is the official abbreviation for this grade) has a nice ring to it and these precious little stones are truly something special. They’re also the most expensive clarity grade there is and can come with a steep price tag.

However, what does it mean for a diamond to be flawless? How important is it to get an FL diamond? Are these diamonds even worth it?

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Let’s go over these and the rest of the Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about flawless diamonds below.

If you’re looking to browse FL diamonds first, James Allen has some of the best diamonds on the market. We also love Blue Nile’s massive inventory of FL diamonds at reasonable prices.

1. What is a Flawless diamond?

Round shape diamond

This is what an FL diamond looks like. See the 360 degree video here.

Flawless or FL is one of the several different grades used to categorize the clarity of diamonds. Clarity is one of the famous 4Cs of diamonds together with Cut, Carat Weight, and Color. While Cut and Carat Weight usually take center stage when evaluating diamonds, Clarity is very important as well.

In short, a diamond’s clarity determines how many (if any) internal flaws the stone has. These flaws usually include various inclusions, blemishes, and other internal issues that occur in most diamonds during their formation in the Earth’s crust. The fewer such flaws a diamond has, the better its clarity and the higher its grade is.

The standard clarity diamond grades go as follows:

  • Flawless (FL) diamonds – these are stones with absolutely no inclusions, blemishes, and other flaws. These diamonds are literally flawless and offer the best possible clarity, especially when they have the right size, color, and are cut properly.
  • Internally Flawless (IF) – the IF grade is almost identical to the FL grade and some grading institutions even combine the two.
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 & VVS2) diamonds – these diamonds do have a few inclusions and blemishes inside them but they are usually so insignificant that they are hard to spot even with x10 magnification. Needless to say, VVS1 and VVS2 diamonds offer virtually the same clarity as IF and FL diamonds, at least when looked at with a naked eye.
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 & VS2) diamonds – these stones have more noticeable inclusions than the two VVS grades. In most cases, VS diamonds’ inclusions also can’t be noticed with the naked eye but they offer generally less clarity than VVS, IF, and FL.
  • Slightly Included (SI1 & SI2) diamonds – these diamonds typically have inclusions that are noticeable with the naked eye. The right SI1 diamond can still look good on a ring or another piece of jewelry though.
  • Included (I1, I2, I3) diamonds – these stones are almost never used for jewelry as their clarity is just not good enough.

As you can see, FL clarity diamonds sit at the top of the hill when it comes to clarity. However, several of the following grades also offer excellent visual clarity at a more budget-friendly cost which brings up the question of just how worth it FL diamonds really are.

See stunning flawless diamonds here.

2. How much is a Flawless 1 carat diamond?

The clarity and carat weight of a diamond aren’t the only things that determine its value. The color and cut of the stone are also crucial so it’s impossible to pinpoint an exact price tag for a 1-carat FL diamond.

To give you an idea of who valuable this clarity grade is, however, a standard Round cut, D color, 1-carat Flawless diamond is usually priced between $10,000 and $15,000. And if you up the carat weight of that same diamond to 2 carats, the average price jumps to anywhere between $45,000 and $52,000.

3. What’s the difference between an FL and an IF diamond?

The difference between FL (flawless) and IF (internally flawless) diamonds is in their names – IF diamonds are only flawless internally which means that they can still have some minor surface blemishes. FL diamonds, on the other hand, are completely flawless, both internally and on the surface level of the stone.

This tends to be a rather insignificant difference, however, since even the occasional surface blemish on IF diamonds is so minor and unnoticeable that it barely changes anything. When such a surface blemish is larger and more noticeable, however, the diamond is usually dropped one more grade down to VVS.

4. Are FL diamonds better than VVS diamonds?

Technically, yes, flawless diamonds have a better clarity than Very, Very Slightly Included diamonds. They also have a much more sizable price tag.

That being said, the eye-visible clarity of VVS diamonds is also excellent. So, for any practical reasons such as jewelry or engagement rings, VVS diamonds offer more than sufficient clarity. Even VS diamonds tend to be great for high-quality jewelry and engagement rings.

So, while FL diamonds are “better”, this is not something that you can see. Why pay more for something that you can’t see?

5. Is an FL diamond a good investment?

That depends on what kind of investment you’re looking for. If you are a diamond aficionado and collector who’s only after the rarest and most special diamonds out there, a large, fancy FL diamond can be worth it for you.

If you’re just looking for a gorgeous, brilliant, and well-priced diamond for an engagement ring or a jewelry piece, however, FL diamonds can be a waste of money.

At the end of the day, if a VS1 diamond has the same eye-clarity as an FL diamond, why break the bank on the latter? It’s not like you or your fiancé are going to look at the diamond with an x10 magnifying glass every day, right?

6. What is the most Flawless diamond?

Pointing out “the one most flawless” diamond can be tricky since there isn’t a single flawless diamond that’s more flawless than the other flawless diamonds. While FL stones are rare – hence their price tag – there are still quite a lot of them on the market overall.

If we are to look for the largest, most colorless,  flawless diamond, however, this title goes to the 163.41 carats Emerald cut Flawless D-color diamond of the ‘Art of De Grisogono’ necklace. That stone had been sold for $33.7 million

There are other great examples such as the 102.34 carats, Type IIA Round brilliant cut, D-color Flawless diamond of the Sotheby’s Diamonds boutique that was sold recently for $15.7 to an unnamed auction buyer. The price was reported to be “a bargain” as this Sotheby’s diamond was believed to potentially be more expensive than the ‘Art of De Grisogono’ diamond due to its perfect round cut.

7. Who should buy a Flawless diamond?

The only feasible reason to go for a Flawless or Internally Flawless diamond is if you’re after the prestige such a bijou brings with it. If you’re not a diamonds and jewelry collector, however, there’s just no need to go for the FL and IF grades. Even VVS diamonds can be somewhat of an overkill when looking for practical jewelry stones.

8. How rare are Flawless diamonds?

Together, Flawless and Internally Flawless diamonds make up less than 0.5% of all natural diamonds ever mined. And the higher carat weight we look at, the fewer they become since it’s almost impossible for a large diamond to be completely devoid of any inclusions and blemishes.

To give you an idea of how rare these stones are, in the last 30 years only 7 diamonds of over 100 carats have been sold in auctions and of them, only the recent Sotheby’s 102.34-carat diamond was deemed “Flawless.”

9. Do Flawless diamonds sparkle more?

If they are cut properly, Flawless diamonds produce the most brilliant sparkle and fire (colorful sparkle) of all diamonds. Or, at least that’s in theory.

In practice, the visible eye-level difference between FL, IF, and VVS diamonds is so minuscule that it’s impossible to tell a noticeable distinction in their “sparkle level.”

If you’re looking to maximize the brilliance and sparkle of your ring or jewelry diamond, going for a clarity grade higher than VVS is just not necessary. Instead, if you have the cash to spare, go for a higher carat weight, a better cut, and clearer color.

The VVS clarity grade (or even just VS) offers all the sparkle you’ll need from a diamond that’s meant to be worn and not kept in a showcase.

10. Should you get a Flawless diamond for an engagement ring?

Not really.

Flawless diamonds are only meant for collectors who want the esteem of owning a truly rare diamond.

For an engagement ring, however, a jewelry piece that’s meant to be viewed with the naked eye only, Flawless diamonds don’t really offer anything that VVS and VS diamonds don’t already offer for a fraction of the price. This makes FL diamonds a not so smart investment.

Not to mention that engagement rings are meant to be worn fairly regularly and any engagement ring diamond is at risk of accumulating knocks and scratches over the years. And subjecting a rare, unique, and expensive Flawless diamond to that is basically a sacrilege against the entire diamond industry (and your wallet). At least, we think so.