VS1 and VS2 Clarity - what are they and why shoppers should consider them?
If cut is the most critical of the 4C’s (cut, clarity, color, carat), then clarity is the most misunderstood. There are several classifications of clarity that many buyers do not understand. For example, VS clarity generally indicates that the inclusions are not detectable by the naked eye.
Diamonds may have inclusions which are essentially solids, liquids, or clouds of gas. The color, number and location of the inclusions can affect the appearance of the diamond. VS classification stands for Very Slight. This implies that the diamond has minimal inclusions.
The clarity of the diamond has an impact on both its style and pricing. It is important for buyers to understand the different classifications. Understanding the clarity classification can help you choose a quality diamond while saving money in the process.
Understanding the Difference between VS1 and VS2...
VS clarity diamonds differ from Slightly Included (SI) and Included (I), in that the inclusions are much more difficult to spot. The inclusions are often small in size, and less detectable even when examined by a professional jeweler.
The difference between VS1 and VS2 is determined by the nature of the inclusions. Generally speaking, the inclusions will be less numerous, smaller and less noticeable in VS1 than in VS2 clarity diamonds.
Under VS2, the inclusions may be poorly placed and therefore more prominent. For example, a piece that has inclusions located close to an edge or cavity may be classified as VS1. Another piece with an imperfection of the same size may be classified as VS2 if it is located in such a way that makes the inclusion more noticeable.
If you watch diamond in James Allen's 40X magnified HD videos, you will be able to tell the difference between VS1 and VS2 diamonds.
The clarity grade for diamond classification is as described below starting from the highest to the lowest:
- Flawless(F): No blemishes or inclusions detectable under 10x magnification.
- Internally flawless (IF): Same as Flawless, but with detectable blemishes on the surface.
- Very Very Slightly (VVS) Included: Has inclusions but a professional grader will find them hard to spot under 10x magnification. Also, includes VVS1 and VVS2, with the former having fewer inclusions.
- Very Slightly (VS) Included: There are minor inclusions on this grade of diamonds. These inclusions range from somewhat difficult to easy to see. Also under this classification are the VS1 and VS2 categories.
- Slightly (S) Included: These diamonds have imperfections that may sometimes be visible to the naked eye. Under 10x magnification, the imperfections can be described as easy or very easy to see.
- Included(I): There are inclusions that are clearly visible to a grader under 10x magnification. The inclusions will almost always be visible to the naked eye. They may contain imperfections that may impact the longevity of the stone.
Advantages of VS1 and VS2...
Given that clarity is the least understood of the 4c’s, it is the one single factor that can help buyers save money, without sacrificing quality.
Most buyers rely too heavily on the classifications to get eye clean diamonds. It also happens that many retailers base their prices on these classifications. The advantage of VS1 and VS2 stones is that the inclusions cannot be seen by the naked eye. After all they are barely detectable under 10x magnification.
There is therefore no need to go for an unnecessarily high clarity stones. These stones are more affordable than the VVS, or Flawless grade of diamonds. But VS diamonds will not have any inclusions that can be seen by the average person. Even a professional grader will have a difficult time spotting them.
Indeed, visual inclusions will affect the appearance and style of your diamond. Inclusions of considerable size will cause the diamond to appear cloudy. You should also watch out for chips, and fractures. They can also affect the appearance of the diamond and make it less sparkly.
But to the untrained eye, diamonds of VS1 or higher classifications have no inclusions. Most people would find it hard to distinguish between an expertly cut VS2 and other diamonds of higher classifications.
If you’re planning to buy any grade of diamonds you will need to consider whether it has inclusions. You need to establish how the inclusions could affect its style and appearance. Here are some basic rules in summary:
- Consider Size: Imperfections on bigger diamonds are more noticeable than on smaller ones. They allow in more light and have bigger spaces for noticeable inclusions to form. For stones larger than 2 carat, the ideal choice would be a high grade such as VS1 or higher.
- Shape of the Stone: Stones that are more spherical in shape tend to shine brighter. They therefore hide imperfections within the stone much better than with other types of cuts. It is best to avoid Asscher, Emerald and Marquise cuts when going for clarity. Round stones are also considered safer and are less susceptible to damage thanks to their spherical shape.
- Cut: The cut of the diamond is also an important factor that you cannot afford to ignore. The cut determines the amount of light the stone can disperse. A high quality cut is brighter and can hide inclusions better.
- Type of inclusion: There is a wide range of the types of inclusions you can find in the stone. These could be solids, clouds of gases or liquids. They may also vary in appearance. Regardless of this fact, the clarity grade is determined by the size of the imperfections. Factors such as the location, color and type are not considered when grading. For this reason, stones of the same grade may have very different inclusions. For example, a white cloud in the stone may be more noticeable than a dark blemish close to the edges.
- Avoid Included: Included diamonds have noticeable imperfections. These imperfections affect the quality of the brilliance produced by the stone. Additionally, the inclusions in the stone will affect its durability. These imperfections leave the diamond susceptible to damage. Included diamonds are therefore low in brilliance and have the lowest durability.
If clarity and price are your main considerations, VS2 grade stones are the best option. Their inclusions cannot be detected by the naked eye. They are therefore as brilliant as higher grade diamonds, from the perspective of the average person, and they are considerably more affordable. You may, however, need VS1 grade diamonds or higher if you want a bigger stone.
Before making any purchase it is important to examine the diamond yourself. Inclusions are not always as described by retailers. Furthermore, the grading system does not factor certain aspects of inclusions such as color and location. Even a Slightly Included stone could have the brilliance and quality you are looking for. Make a point of examining the stone and learning about these important factors before acquiring a stone.
Follow our diamond clarity guide for price details and instructions.