Among all other clarity grades, VS1 is considered on the most popular grade people look for, along with VS2 & SI1 to be precise.
The reason is that these 3 adjacent clarity grades offer a great balance between what you pay and what you get (or in other words, what matters!).
Because going extremely above is a waste of money (paying for what you can’t see), and going extremely low is also a waste of money (paying for what’s not worth).
Provided below is an image of a 1 carat diamond on James Allen (with an excellent cut and G color) that possesses a VS1 clarity grade:
This image is 20x magnified, so any minor inclusions/blemishes you inspect is no way visible when inspecting with naked eye (or even with 10x magnification for untrained eye).
In this article, we will analyze the meaning of the VS1 clarity grade, where it stands from similar grades, see its price range, and provide our final recommendation.
What are VS1 Diamonds?
VS1 diamonds are a remarkable category of diamonds that are famed for their exceptional quality and near-flawless clarity. For those who are new to the world of diamonds, ‘VS’ stands for ‘Very Slightly Included’. This term refers to the inclusions or internal flaws present within a diamond, and a VS1 diamond has very few of these.
Are inclusions bad?
Diamonds are created deep within the Earth’s crust under conditions of extreme temperature and pressure, leaving unique identifiers that can be internal, known as inclusions, or external, referred to as blemishes.
So, when a diamond has inclusion or a blemish, that’s completely normal since this is the result of diamond formation, but what’s needed to be noted here is the type, size, and location of an inclusion.
VS1 grade represents a high level of diamond clarity, indicating a relatively clean diamond where ‘cleanliness’ signifies minimal internal inclusions or imperfections.
In VS1 diamonds, this means that there may be very slight inclusions, internal characteristics that are discernible under 10x magnification. However, these inclusions are typically so minute that they remain invisible to the unaided eye and even to most jewelers without the use of magnification.
These tiny inclusions make it challenging to distinguish a VS1 diamond from higher clarity grade diamonds without the aid of professional equipment and an experienced gemologist’s trained eye.
Where VS1 Diamonds Stand in Clarity Grading Scale?
Diamond clarity is segmented into various categories, each represented by one or more grades. These grades are determined by the nature, size, and position of the diamond’s inherent characteristics or ‘birthmarks’.
In the GIA’s (Gemological Institute of America) clarity grading scale, VS1 diamonds sit quite high – they are only surpassed by Flawless (FL), Internally Flawless (IF), and Very, Very Slightly Included 1 & 2 (VVS1 and VVS2) diamonds.
The ‘1’ in VS1 suggests that these diamonds have slightly less noticeable inclusions than VS2 diamonds under 10x magnification, but such inclusions are invisible to the naked eye.
VS1 diamonds are also a bit rare, with around 5% of all diamonds getting to this grade.
When browsing large diamond retailer like James Allen, with over 300000 diamonds available, we found around 24000 VS1 diamonds.
VS1 Clarity vs Adjacent Grades (VVS2 & VS2)
VS1 diamonds sit between VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included 2) and VS2 (Very Slightly Included 2) on the clarity grading scale.
VVS2 diamonds, one grade above VS1, have even fewer and smaller inclusions, but their superior clarity often comes at a higher cost. However, the visual difference between a VVS2 and a VS1 diamond is imperceptible without magnification.
VS2 diamonds, on the other hand, have more inclusions than VS1. Although these inclusions are typically only visible under 10x magnification, their placement might occasionally affect the diamond’s brilliance. As a result, VS2 diamonds are generally more affordable than VS1.
The main differences between these grades lie in the number, size, and position of their inclusions, influencing their prices.
Regardless, all these grades offer excellent clarity that appears flawless to the naked eye.
Visual Comparison between VS1 and Adjacent Grades
To make things clearer visually, let’s see 3 different images for very similar diamonds, the only difference will be clarity grade:
As we usually do, here is the link to the VVS2 diamond, the middle one VS1 can be seen here, last diamond the VS2 is this one. All diamonds can be see using the super 40x magnification feature of James Allen.
Noticed the price difference? Let’s see this in more details.
VS1 Clarity Diamonds Prices
The 3 diamonds we saw above can be considered in the low-range of their grades, i.e. this isn’t the average nor the highest price these grades can cost, however, we saw a difference of around $800 between VVS2, VS1, and VS2 grades.
The VS1 diamonds aren’t considered on the high-end of clarity grades because as we saw above, it comes 5th in terms of clarity grades, and in the 3rd group for clarity.
That being said, they are still high in comparison to the recommended clarity grade that you need to seek to get an eye-clean diamond.
We will use James Allen and Blue Nile as they have the largest diamond inventory, with over 500k diamonds combined. Our search will be limited to common characteristics:
Polish & Symmetry: Excellent
We ran a filtered search on both sites for VS1 clarity grade.
James Allen offered us 150 diamonds, ranging between $5800 and $9100.
On the other hand, Blue Nile offered 125 diamonds but a bit more expensive, ranging between $7000 & $9600, some “insanely-priced” diamonds within this range even costs $10500 like this one.
Are these prices worth it when we compare them to the average 1 carat diamond prices? Let’s see.
Are VS1 Diamonds Worth it?
We need to differentiate between if diamonds are worth it and if they are overpriced.
In the VS1 case, we can’t say they are overpriced compared to the balance they give between beauty and price, specially when we compare VS1 prices to some very high grades like Internally Flawless IF diamonds.
Are they worth it? The answer will be based on what MATTERS when picking a diamond.
We learnt that getting an SI1 diamond will guarantee an eye clean rock almost always for diamonds less than 1 carat.
Going to VS1 isn’t the best thing you can do for if you want the best bang for your buck, even for larger carats like 1.5 or 2, you can still be 100% safe on getting a VS2 diamond.
SI1 & VS2 grades are guaranteed to be eye clean in 99% of times for such carats we mentioned, so why you need to pay more than $1500 (or more) when going to VS1 instead of an SI1?
If you have extra budget, you want to make sure you get the best diamond cut since it sits on the top of 4Cs in order of importance.
Where to Buy Very Slightly Included 1 Clarity Diamonds?
You probably can find VS1 diamonds in any store you walk into, and for online stores, there are even much larger collections of VS1 diamonds.
So if you decided to opt-in for a VS1 diamond for some reason, here are some recommended stores, they all come with great imaging technology so you can check the minute details of each diamond:
1. James Allen
When it comes to finding the ideal diamond, James Allen stands out as the leading competitor in the online diamond industry. With state-of-the-art imaging technology and an extensive collection of hundreds of thousands of diamonds, James Allen is the recommended choice for you.
As of writing this, out of 296round diamonds on JA, 28k have VS1 clarity grade as we see in this search.
Why we love James Allen?
- Superior imaging technology
- Insanely large collection with hundreds of thousands of diamonds
- Variety of engagement ring designs
- Great customer support
- And much more that you can learn in our dedicated article where we reviewed everything about James Allen.
2. Blue Nile
The largest (or 2nd largest) online retailer, hundreds of thousands of diamonds as well, with a great reputation online.
Their website shows 217k diamonds, of which 30k are VS1.
Blue Nile is also a highly reputable store where you can browse, inspect, customize your ring as you do in a walk-in store (or even better), that’s why we also have an article that reviews everything about Blue Nile.
Whiteflash may not be as large as James Allen or Blue Nile since their focus lies on offering premium and high-quality diamonds. However, they still provide a range of diamonds with a VS1 clarity grade.
One notable aspect of Whiteflash is their utilization of advanced imaging technology, which, while not reaching the superb level of JA, surpasses the majority of available images in the market.
At present, they have 250+ diamonds with a VS1 clarity grade in their in-house inventory, and around 2500 diamonds from their outsourced collection.
4. Brilliant Earth
Brilliant Earth has established itself as a prominent player in the diamond industry, particularly in terms of outsourcing and maintaining a vast inventory. While they have gained recognition for their lab-grown diamonds, they also possess an impressive selection of natural diamonds.
At the time of writing, Brilliant Earth boasts a collection of 7500 diamonds with a VS1 clarity grade.
Clarity Grades Quick Review
To summarize, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has established a comprehensive grading system to assess the clarity of diamonds, consisting of six categories that range from Flawless to Included.
Here is an overview of the six categories of diamond clarity, listed in ascending order of inclusions:
Flawless (FL): These diamonds exhibit no visible inclusions or blemishes, even when magnified 10 times. FL diamonds are exceedingly rare.
Internally Flawless (IF): These diamonds also lack visible inclusions, although they may possess minor surface blemishes that become apparent under 10x magnification. IF diamonds are also scarce and highly valued.
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2): These diamonds contain inclusions that are extremely challenging to detect under 10x magnification. VVS diamonds are highly prized for their remarkable clarity, with VVS1 diamonds exhibiting even fewer visible inclusions than VVS2 diamonds.
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2): These diamonds possess inclusions that become visible under 10x magnification, yet they are minor and do not impact the overall appearance of the diamond. VS diamonds are still considered to have high clarity, and their inclusions are typically not visible to the naked eye.
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2): These diamonds display inclusions that are noticeable under 10x magnification and may influence the diamond’s brilliance or transparency. SI diamonds are generally more affordable than higher clarity grades but can still exhibit beauty and, in most cases, appear clean to the naked eye.
Included (I1, I2, and I3): Diamonds in this category feature inclusions that are readily apparent under 10x magnification and can affect the diamond’s durability, transparency, and brilliance. The I group of diamonds tends to be the most budget-friendly, but their inclusions may be visible to the naked eye and impact the overall appearance of the diamond.
VS1 Clarity Final Word
When it comes to ensuring an eye-clean diamond, it is generally recommended not to exceed a clarity grade of VS2.
While VS1 diamonds have very slight inclusions that are typically not visible to the naked eye, opting for a lower clarity grade can provide a greater guarantee of an eye-clean appearance.
Choosing a diamond with a clarity grade of VS2 or SI1, for example, may offer a more affordable option without compromising on visual appeal.
It is essential to evaluate the specific diamond and its individual characteristics to determine the level of clarity that meets your preferences and budget while still maintaining an eye-clean appearance.
Still not sure where to buy your diamond?
We always recommend shopping diamonds online and created a Full guide to shop diamonds like a Pro.
Among online retailers, here are our favorite stores
click their logo to visit store
Our favorite online store, best diamond imaging technology available today, comes with the largest collection with more than half a million loose diamonds.
Widest collection of loose diamonds of all sizes, great imaging technology for most of their inventory (hundreds of thousands of diamonds), great customer support.
Home Of A CUT ABOVE® Super Ideal Diamonds, they stand out from the crowd by offering premium diamonds cuts, tailored to those who love the details, at great prices too.