Finding the right diamond for you or your loved ones requires that you have at least, the basic understanding of the different types of diamonds on the market, and their characteristics.
While diamond market experts would easily tell you that the best diamonds are the flawless (FL) & internally flawless (IF) diamonds with no inclusions at all, they may not also readily state that there are good diamond clarity alternatives.
The image here is a flawless clarity diamond, as you see, under 10x magnification (click the image to see it in full size), you’re not even able to detect any kind of inclusions on it, but is this what everyone should look for?
Consequently, many people have had to ignorantly spend way higher than their normal budget, even when they could have gotten something that is still validly good for their intended purposes- and for a lesser price.
Now, although the best diamonds sometimes are worth investing your money on, you could also get other diamonds with some bit of imperfection that does not, however, spoil the fundamental expectation of what people want in a sparkling diamond, at all.
What is SI1 Clarity Grade? And Why it Attracted a Big Attention?
The diamond clarity SI1 has seemed to become one of the most adopted diamond clarity grades in recent times. But then, what you essentially need to know about the diamond clarity SI1 category, is that they are also confirmed to have clarity blemishes.
Since the clarity levels of a diamond specimen are a great determinant of its aesthetic value and overall beauty, the question of whether the SI1 clarity category is a good option to buy becomes a really valid one.
It is important for prospective diamond buyers to understand the facts so that their buying decisions are more informed and more guided.
Diamond Clarity Grades And Where The SI1 Falls
Although in the real sense, diamond clarity levels are categorized into about eleven individual groups as they appear in the image below, we can group them into two broad classes- for the sake of having a quicker and better understanding.
Note, however, that this two category grouping only follows when you’re considering the clarity of diamonds using the naked eyes only. According to the results obtainable when you view the samples under the standard 10× magnification, you’ll get the original eleven groups.
Following the naked eye view classification of diamond clarity levels, we have the following:
- Diamonds without visible blemishes (Eye-clean)
- Diamonds with visible blemishes (Not eye-clean)
Generally speaking, diamond analysts and experts say it is better not to go for diamonds with blemishes. What this means in summary, is that the flawless diamonds are the most ideal diamond recommendation, this is a very top-level recommendation, like saying “the ideal car is Tesla or Lexus” for example, yes that might be true, but it’s not necessary for everyone to follow this, more on this below, keep reading.
Diamonds with blemishes have reasonably reduced aesthetic appeal- depending on the amount of observed blemish- to eye, in fact, know that the more blemish or less clarity on a diamond sample, the less valued it would be on the market. We cannot, however, restrict our diamond use specifications to the FL, because of a list of factors including the huge price traits.
For example, THIS diamond on JamesAllen is 1.01 Carat, F color, excellent cut, for around 10k because it’s Flawless clarity, while this almost EXACT diamond, but with a lower clarity grade, a VS1, is 40% cheaper than the first one ($6410), for something that you can NEVER tell by looking at the diamond in your naked eye, and you can save more if you go a little lower as well, let’s see to which grade we can stay “safe”.
This is where diamond clarity classifications based on clean eye view, comes to bear.
It is concluded that as long as the impurities cannot be easily seen with the naked eye, the diamond sample would still retain good aesthetics. Diamond clarity SI1 (most of them to be accurate) falls under the ‘diamonds without visible blemishes’, so this is an initial good sign.
What this means is that even if you place a superior clarity diamond side by side with an SI1 sample, it’s not impossible to think that they’re of the same clarity levels. This results would be so unless you go on to do the authentic clarity test.
Actually, SI1 diamonds are the intermediate between diamonds with visible inclusions and those without. Hence, there may be a number of times when they would appear with little visible inclusions too, but this is not so common.
The good thing about this clarity level is that their inclusion ratios- when visible to the naked eye, are significantly small and would not affect the diamond sparkle in any big way.
Consequently, SI1 diamonds may be a good option for you- if you’re on a moderate budget, and still do not want to sacrifice that important brightness and sparkle.
How to Find SI1 Clarity Diamond That Counts?
Sometimes, the issue with buying diamonds based on clarity levels is the fact that you cannot always determine for sure if what you’re buying is actually true to stated specifications.
Don’t expect that there are no fraudulent sellers on the diamond ornament market- who would pose diamond products of lesser clarity and claim them to be what they’re not.
When people lose money in the diamond trade, this is, in fact, one of the main reasons why.
Firstly, it is important to make trades with recognized diamond sales outlets. This increases the possibilities of getting real SI1 diamonds, that have not been falsely upgraded in rating. You may end up wasting your money if you try to rely on just any merchant.
What we actually advice is to buy diamonds online, yes, while a lot of people prefer to see a diamond and would never consider getting it online, the biggest names like JamesAllen & BlueNile have introduced 360 degree zoomed view for their diamonds (JamesAllen introduced recently a super zoom feature that allows you to further see the diamond like under a loupe).
Buying online will rest-assure you that you’re getting what you’re seeing, to read further about this, and what are the pros of buying diamonds online, we refer you to our guide here on Where to Buy The Best Diamonds Online.
Another thing to consider when buying an SI1 clarity diamond is the dispersion ratio of the inclusions. SI1 diamonds would usually contain either or all of carbon spots, clouds, feathers and pinpoints etc. All diamond clarity grades except the FL class contains these blemishes in varying ratios. The more clustered the inclusions on the gemstone, the more conspicuous it becomes.
The inclusions in the SI1 diamond would reasonably become inconspicuous, if the inclusions are not gathered up on one spot, or close to the diamond table of the sample.
If you discover that the inclusions on an SI1 diamond are found just beneath the diamond table region, then you may essentially need to find another diamond product to buy.
Asides these, authentic ratings from such organizations like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gem Society (AGS), are some other important things to ask for.
In fact, it is recommended that you only accept a diamond clarity rating issued by either of these organizations or the few other alternatives (and run away from EGL diamonds). If you’re shopping from an online store, make sure you’re provided with sufficient visual proofs that could help you confirm.
How Carat Affects SI1 Clarity?
In general, what you’re concerned about in diamond clarity determination, is to ascertain the level of impurities and imperfections that are on a diamond sample. In the right SI1 diamonds, these impurities would be totally invisible to the naked eye or reasonably dispersed- which is still fine.
However, when buying diamond samples greater than one carat, you may need to consider another clarity grade diamond asides this one. This is because it is easier to spot the blemishes in a bigger diamond sample, than in a smaller one, we’ve explained this in more details in our Diamond Carat Chart Guide: How Weight Affects Size.
Following the same rule up here, going a level up to VS2 should be enough in most cases, and don’t get sold to a retailer who will be trying to convince you with a very high clarity grade for the sake of a higher Carat.
Bottom Line: Is SI1 Clarity Good Enough?
In a nutshell, any eye-clean diamond should be good for you to buy, most of SI1 clarity grade diamonds are eye-clean, you just need to make sure that any imperfections are not beneath the diamond table.
The other case is that if you’re buying a large diamond, more than 1 carat at least (in most cases, it’s also safe to 1.5 carat), some inclusions can be seen on larger diamond even if it’s SI1.
In the above two cases, don’t exceed VS2 grade, VS2 is eye-clean in 99.9% of diamonds.
You may ask, I’m on a good budget, why shouldn’t I invest more in clarity? I want my diamond to shine more!
If you have more money, spend it on the CUT, it’s the most important factor in any diamond, got more money? Spend some on Color and then go for a higher clarity level.