After recently adding this diamond clarity chart with actual photos I received a number of emails requesting that I expand a little more on each of the diamond clarity grades. Since I mostly recommend VS1 and below I will begin with those. (all pictures used in this article are taken with permission from James Allen). Also, if you have not already don’e so please go back and read my general Diamond Clarity page for a great overview of diamond clarities.
As I talk about in my diamond clarity grades article it takes an experienced jeweler using a 10X magnification to see an imperfection in a VS1 diamond and even in this case I have seen many jewelers take a good 5 to 10 seconds to find an inclusion. In other words anyone looking at a VS1 diamond under normal conditions will never see an imperfection! The 3 pictures below are all magnified VS1 diamonds. Even in these conditions the imperfections are not easy to spot (click on each picture to see an even bigger version). Most amateurs (and I apologize if that term offends any of you but let’s face it- that’s what you are when it comes to buying diamonds!) can’t even tell the difference between a VS1 and an SI2!
Should I Buy A VS1 Clarity Diamond?
In my opinion there is rarely a case where you should spend the extra money on a VS1 diamond. As a rule of thumb and all other things being equal you will be paying between 8% and 15% premium over a diamond with VS2 clarity. This is a lot of money for something that will never be seen. If your budget allows it take the money and get a larger carat weight or better cut.
There are some exceptions to this rule – if you are buying a stepped cut diamond like an Emerald cut diamond then the inclusions in large stones become visible even at lower clarity grades.
If this is the case then you will want to move up the clarity chart until you find the lowest clarity grade with an eye clean diamond. I strongly recommend that you check with someone, like myself, in this case to help you find a great looking diamond without spending more then you need to.
As always- don’t hesitate to ask me to help you with your search for the best diamond that meets your budget!
Note: Buying a diamond can be a nerve-racking experience. If you want my expert advice on buying the best diamond just drop me a note and tell me what you are looking for and how much you want to spend and I will get back to you with my personal recommendations for a beautiful stone that fits in your budget. This is a FREE service, doesn’t cost you a dime extra, (in fact I am sure that it almost every case I can save you lots of money) and there is absolutely no commitment.