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Generally, we recommend seeking a diamond with a Clarity grade of VS1 to SI2. With a pretty VS1 or VS2 diamond, your stone will look identical to a Flawless Clarity diamond (assuming all else is equal), yet will cost far less.
While VS clarity diamonds are usually eye-clean, there are definitely exceptions. Take a look at this diamond from Blue Nile as an example of a poor VS quality diamond.
As you increase your carat weight, and inevitably the size of your diamond, more blemishes and inclusions may be visible to the naked eye. For diamonds greater than 2 Carat, we recommend looking for diamonds within the VS1 Clarity grade. Most importantly, review all potential diamonds closely to ensure that they’re eye-clean.
To understand what VS1 is, it’s important to know what Clarity is (one of the 4 C’s of diamonds). A diamond’s Clarity refers to the visual appearance of blemishes and inclusions. By definition, VS1 diamonds are those that are Very Slightly Included. These inclusions, however, are rarely noticeable to the naked eye.
In fact, diamond imperfections are almost inevitable. Diamonds are formed in the earth’s mantle at a depth of 80-120 miles. They face extreme heat of up to 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit. While their growth takes between one to three billion years, only the rarest diamonds emerge in perfect condition. Most often, diamonds are imperfect and contain varying amounts of internal inclusions and surface blemishes.
The GIA grades Diamond Clarity on the following scale:
A VS1 Diamond is the higher grade of the VS clarity. VS1 inclusions are barely visible under 10x magnification (a standard jeweler’s loupe). When looking for VS1 inclusions using a loupe, it can take several seconds until the blemish spot is located. This also means that inclusions at the VS1 level are hardly ever noticeable to the naked eye, especially in diamonds that are less than 2.00 Carat.
While the VS1 grade gives you an idea of a diamond’s quality, you should not go on grades alone when making a purchase.
Instead of setting out to buy a diamond graded VS1, VS2 or otherwise, you should instead focus on getting the best price you can for an “eye-clean” diamond.
“Eye-clean” means that, while there may be inclusions you can notice under heavy magnification (such as that from a microscope or loupe), typically they aren’t noticeable to the naked eye.
This means you can get a diamond that appears clean and without flaws, without paying a premium for a high clarity grade.
Not all VS1 diamonds are eye-clean, and not all eye-clean diamonds are graded as high as VS1 clarity. The size and shape of a diamond has an effect on how easy it is to notice any inclusions, as does their placement. Some inclusions may be adequately hidden when the diamond is set in an engagement ring.
We developed Ringo, a patented artificial intelligence model, to help you pick out beautiful, eye-clean diamonds. Ringo uses videos of diamonds to determine if they are eye-clean, and filters for other parameters, such as making sure the diamond is well-cut, doesn’t have fluorescence issues and will match the style setting you choose.
If you want to select a diamond specifically for your personal needs (budget, shape and setting style), check it out here.
It’s impossible to give a standard price for a VS1 diamond, as there are many other factors in play, such as carat weight, color and cut quality. But in terms of value, VS1 diamonds often fall in the sweet spot for getting the best value for money when buying a diamond engagement ring.
The most common mistake people make when buying diamonds is that they purchase a diamond with a Clarity grade that’s simply too high to appreciate. An eye-clean VS1 diamond like this one from Blue Nile will look identical to a Flawless graded diamond assuming all else is equal, but will cost significantly less.
For example, this Round Cut 0.8 Carat Diamond from James Allen is graded at a VS1 clarity with F Color and costs $3,280. This Round Cut 0.8 Carat Diamond also from James Allen is graded with a VVS2 clarity and F Color but costs $3,840. The VVS2 Diamond costs 17% more than the VS1 Diamond. Both diamonds are eye-clean—meaning you can’t see any blemishes or inclusions. Purchasing the VS1 clarity will get you the same result as far as beauty, but again, will cost 17% less.
Our many years of experience in the diamond industry have shown us that VS1 and VS2 diamonds offer both excellent value and beauty. We often recommend our readers look for VS1 or VS2 diamonds , as long as they are eye-clean. SI1 and SI2 diamonds can be eye-clean as well, but you need to inspect them (or high-quality photographs) with great care.
In most cases, a VS1 diamond will seem flawless to the naked eye. Not all VS1 diamonds are exactly alike, however, so it’s vital to inspect the diamond thoroughly to ensure any imperfections are not easily spotted or are in locations where they can be easily concealed.
Consider these VS1 diamonds as examples of what you can get at this clarity grade:
Each of these diamonds appears eye-clean at normal magnification. Any of these stones would make for a remarkable diamond ring.
These diamonds look identical in a ring.
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As you increase in Carat weight, and inevitably the size of the diamond, there’s a possibility that inclusions will be more visible to the naked eye.
Some larger diamonds—even those with a high clarity grade like VS1 and VS2—may not be eye-clean. For example, this 3.02 Diamond with a VS1 Clarity from James Allen, has a dark inclusion near the center of the diamond’s table. And this VS2 diamond at 4.05 Carat also from James Allen has noticeable surface blemishes.
In these larger carat weights, you may want to include VVS2 diamonds in your search as well. This beautiful VVS2 from James Allen, for example, is a 3.01 carat diamond with no noticeable inclusions or blemishes.
With 1 Carat diamonds, you can feel secure with a VS1 or VS2 grade. As you increase in Carat, be sure the diamond is clean of imperfections when you look at it with your naked eye. Without using any magnification aids, you shouldn’t be able to see any flaws or inclusions.
Certain Diamond Shapes show or hide inclusions better than others. Brilliant Cut Diamonds, such as Round, Princess, Oval and Pear Shaped Diamonds, generally mask inclusions quite well, meaning you’ll almost always be fine with a VS1 clarity grade.
On the other end of the scale you have Asscher Cuts and Emerald Cuts, which are shapes that contain step cuts. Diamonds with step cuts are either rectangular or square, and have many parallel facets. It’s important to know that step-cut diamond shapes show inclusions the clearest.
For Asschers, Emeralds and Baguette shapes, it’s best to look at every diamond using high-quality 360° photographs (like with James Allen). You may have to bump up to a VVS2 to get an eye-clean diamond with step cuts.
Inclusion plot from the GIA report shows a concentration of clouds in the same vicinity.
As you can see in the images above, an eye-clean diamond isn’t always guaranteed with the VS1 Clarity grade. Having an eye-clean diamond is largely dependent on a few factors: color of the inclusions, Cut quality (better light performance helps conceal imperfections), as well as the nature of the flaws.
Here’s another questionable example of a 1.01 Carat Cushion Cut graded with Very Slightly Included clarity. This inclusion may be visible to your naked eye depending on the type of lighting conditions and your eye’s orientation to the diamond.
Cushion Cut with dark inclusions under table facet.
Overall, just be sure to review any diamond closely (no matter the Clarity grade) to ensure there are no noticeable blemishes and inclusions. If you’d like assistance in reviewing diamonds, please contact our Clarity experts.
When comparing VS1 vs VS2 diamonds, it’s often difficult to tell the difference, especially in weights of 1.00 – 2.00 Carats.
For instance, look at this VS1 Diamond from James Allen and then look at this VS2 Diamond. Can you tell the difference in their Clarity? Probably not, because even an expert would have a difficult time telling their grades apart without magnification. In order to truly notice the difference, you’d need a 10x magnification tool and probably diamond training.
By definition, VS1 is a Clarity rating where minor inclusions are somewhat easily detected by a trained professional under 10X magnification. Without using any magnification aids, you shouldn’t be able to see any flaws or inclusions with your naked eye.
VS2 clarity inclusions, on the other hand, are almost always easily noticeable at 10x magnification (a standard jeweler’s loupe). Occasionally, the inclusion will be in a difficult-to-spot location. In most cases, though, the inclusion is large enough that it can be spotted quickly under magnification.
While VS2 diamonds are usually eye-clean, some outliers exist, especially when it comes to larger-sized diamonds. These outliers usually barely made it past the SI1 grade and have inclusions visible to the naked eye. This is why we stress the importance of reviewing magnified photographs and videos before any purchase.
If you’re stuck debating VS1 vs VS2 diamonds, look at the lower grade and see if it passes as eye-clean. Because of the slight differences between the two, and what you can save by going a grade lower, we recommend looking for eye-clean VS2 diamonds with a carat weight less than 2.01.
When it comes to Clarity, you want to take a close look at the diamond before making a decision. You need to see if the diamond has any inclusions and blemishes at the naked eye level.
In order to look for these imperfections, you need high-tech images. That’s why we recommend buying diamonds online from vendors who offer high-quality photography.
The vendors we recommend that currently offer sufficiently high-quality images for reviewing Clarity are James Allen and Blue Nile. With their technology, you’re able to find diamonds like this beautiful SI2 from Blue Nile that saves you almost 25% over a mediocre VS2 like this from James Allen or one like this from Blue Nile.
Here we answer some common questions about VS1 clarity diamonds.
A VS1 diamond is a diamond with a “Very Slightly Included 1” grade in clarity. This grade comes in between VS2 (Very Slightly Included 2) and VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included 2) on the Diamond Clarity grading scale.
VS1 clarity diamonds have fewer imperfections (or less noticeable ones) than VS2 diamonds, though both VS1 and VS2 diamonds generally look clear when viewed by the naked eye.
The price of a 1 carat VS1 diamond can range from as low as $3,000 for a diamond with a low grade in Color, to $13,000 for completely colorless diamonds with perfect cut quality and proportions. But the price also varies based on the cut quality as well as the shape of a diamond.
Shopping for a diamond can be stressful and confusing. With a purchase of this magnitude, it’s best to seek expert advice to help you buy a diamond ring you’re completely satisfied with.
If you’re feeling unsure on Diamond Clarity, feel free to contact us. After helping thousands of readers, we have plenty of experience sifting through images and deciding whether a diamond is eye-clean or not.
We’ll help you compare VS1 vs VS2 diamonds, to assess whether it’s really worth spending more for a higher Clarity grade, and guide you towards the best quality eye-clean diamond that fits your budget.
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