SI1 vs VS2 Diamonds – Which One Is Better?
SI1 vs VS2 diamonds
When it comes to diamond clarity grades, there are many options to choose from. But among the most popular choices are SI1 and VS2 diamonds. Now, you might be wondering what SI1 and VS2 stand for and which grade is better for your engagement ring. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at both grades and help you decide which one is right for your engagement ring.
Si1 vs. Vs2 Diamond Summary
- SI1 stands for slightly included and VS2 for very slightly included, making VS2 diamonds the more expensive option
- It is more challenging to find an eye-clean SI1 diamond than it is to find an eye-clean VS2 diamond; however, with the proper tools (including HD pictures) you can still find a beautiful SI1 diamond with no visible inclusions
- In some instances, you might want to opt for a better clarity grade, e.g., when choosing a very large diamond or certain fancy cut shapes such as Oval or Emerald
- The best places to shop for VVS1 or lower clarity grade diamonds are James Allen and Blue Nile
The different diamond clarity grades explained
The Gemological Institute of America assigns clarity grade based on how many inclusions they find, what type of inclusions they see, and where those inclusions are located.
The official scale ranges from FL (a flawless diamond with no visible inclusions to the naked eye nor under magnification) to I3 (an included diamond with inclusions visible to the naked eye).
As you can see in the scale below, SI1 diamonds are considered a lower clarity grade than VS2 graded diamonds. SI1 and SI2 clarity diamonds stand for slightly included. VS2, the higher clarity grade, stands for very slightly included.
What’s the Difference Between an SI1 and a VS2 Clarity Grade?
A diamond with a clarity grade of VS2 is not internally flawless. However, the inclusions are usually not visible to the naked eye. Only someone with a trained eye who puts the stone under a loupe with 10x magnification could spot the inclusions.
An SI1 clarity grade, on the other hand, indicates that you could see the diamond’s imperfections more easily under a 10x magnifier than a VS2. Still, most inclusions would be extremely hard to see with the naked eye.
Whether you would be able to spot any inclusions at all would depend on the inclusions’ location, the types of imperfections, and the cut and shape of the diamond.
See an example of two diamonds with different clarity grades below:
Above, you can see a VS2 clarity diamond with ideal cut quality. The only problem: It is not eye-clean! There is a dark inclusion right in the center of the diamond.
While inclusions can help contribute to a diamond’s uniqueness and character, you should avoid them in such apparent locations. They can impact the diamond’s sparkle by making it more difficult for light to pass through from one side to another. That’s why it’s essential to find an eye-clean diamond, just like the one below:
Here you can see a beautiful SI1 diamond. While the SI1 diamond also has a slight inclusion in the center of the diamond, it’s hardly visible. Plus, the diamond is almost $1000 cheaper, despite all parameters being the same.
Because you don’t know where the inclusions are based on the grading report, you must see high-definition pictures and videos of the diamond before purchasing it!
Currently, Blue Nile and James Allen are the only two vendors who provide high-definition pictures and video material for you to inspect all details of the diamond.
What’s the price difference between SI1 and VS2 diamonds?
First and foremost, diamond prices, just like carat weight, are not an accurate way to judge the quality of a diamond. However, on average there’s nearly a $2000 price difference between the two grades.
The price difference between SI1 and VS2 grades has more than doubled in the last five years as Americans look to purchase higher quality diamonds that will retain their value.
You can quickly check this by going to James Allen or Blue Nile, choosing a certain set of parameters, and comparing prices.
I just set the parameters to the following: Color H, Ideal Cut, Carat Weight 1, no fluorescence, excellent polish and symmetry. For comparability reasons, I always choose the cheapest and the most expensive diamond.
The results are as follows:
As you can see, you can save quite a bit of money on a diamond characteristic that you can’t see if you are willing to do a bit of research.
With the tools provided by James Allen and Blue Nile you can easily spot minor inclusions and find those thought after diamonds with no visible inclusions to the naked eye, and I’ll explain exactly how in the next section.
Quick note: For those who want to save even more money, you might also want to consider lab-created diamonds. Lab diamonds are significantly cheaper. You can check out my blog post about lab diamonds here and get the deal here.
How to find eye clean SI1 and VS2 diamonds
In the photos below, the one on the right is an eye clean SI1 clarity, whereas the one on the left is an SI1 clarity diamond that is clearly not eye clean.
While both are SI1 diamonds, you can only see the slight haziness in the one on the left under a 20x magnifier.
On the other hand, you can easily spot the imperfections in the diamond on the right with a 20x magnifier and the naked eye. You can view it here.
The trick to finding an eye-clean SI diamond is to use the right parameters and tools. Whenever you shop for a diamond with a cut grade lower than VVS2, I strongly recommend shopping online. Unlike in a brick and mortar store, you’ll be able to see enlarged pictures of the diamond before you buy it and without someone pressuring you into purchasing a higher clarity grade.
Currently, the only two vendors who offer sufficiently high-quality pictures for you to inspect the diamond are James Allen and Blue Nile.
Pro tip: You should know that the images of diamonds you see online are usually enlarged by 20x and possibly more. Therefore, any inclusions you notice under this degree of magnification will not likely be noticeable in person. If you want a realistic look at any diamond you’re looking at online, reduce the image on your screen down to the size of your smallest fingernail. Just like in the picture below:
When it makes sense to choose a higher clarity grade
When looking for a diamond for your engagement ring, you want to find one that appears flawless to the naked eye.
Many people don’t know that specific diamond shapes hide inclusions better than others.
For example, princess- and brilliant-cut diamonds tend to sparkle more than certain fancy cut shapes and thus are better at hiding tiny inclusions. Other shapes such as pear shapes, oval or emerald cut diamonds have a larger table facet and sparkle less, thus making visible imperfections even more visible.
Just look at the two diamonds below. One is a brilliant round cut, one is an Emerald cut diamond:
Furthermore, as a rule of thumb, the larger the diamond (i.e., the higher the carat size), the more likely you can see small inclusions with the naked eye when choosing an SI1 or VS2 diamond.
That’s why choosing VVS diamonds or VS diamonds might make more sense depending on the diamond shape and size.
Conclusion – SI1 vs VS2 Diamond Clarity
When shopping for an engagement ring, your goal should be to find an eye clean diamond. You can easily find an eye clean diamond with an SI1 clarity grade and a carat weight below 2 if you make use of the proper tools.
I recommend that you shop for SI1 clarity diamonds at James Allen or Blue Nile because it’s the only site where you can compare SI1 vs. VS2 diamonds under 20x magnification in an HD magnified video and spot inclusions. This way, you can see any inclusions or blemishes on the diamonds you’re considering. Plus, it is much less expensive when you buy diamonds online instead of at a retail jewelry store.
Can you tell the difference?
One of the two diamonds below has a clarity grade of VVS1, the other one of VS1. Can you tell which one has the lower clarity grade and costs $1000 less?