A young woman asked to see a diamond engagement ring in the showcase. She asks about the quality. I told her it was SI clarity… and before I could explain what that meant, she looks at me and says…
“SI? What’s that mean?”
And then she paused for a second and said…
You’d be surprised what most people think the letters stand for.
SI clarity actually means:
Some also say, slight inclusions or small inclusions, but they are all pretty much mean the same thing. SI clarity has small inclusions in it, it’s slightly included!
SI clarity is the most popular clarity rating in the world. It’s a great diamond to purchase, and you get a great looking stone for the price!
Slightly included means that there are tiny imperfections or flaws in the diamond. Most of these flaws are microscopic (Meaning, to see them, you MUST view them under a 10x jeweler’s loupe or a microscope).
You’ll see things like:
Clouds, pin-points, carbon spots, feathers, and crystals. There could also be things outside the diamond like: breaks, chips, fractures, polishing marks, naturals, trigons, bearding, and scratches. Don’t worry about knowing what all these mean, just know that they are small identifying marks in the diamond (like birthmarks or freckles) when viewed at 10X (or 10 powered magnification) which determines clarity ratings.
These imperfections actually crystallized in the diamond millions of years ago. Inclusions are unique in diamonds just like snowflakes are in mother nature. No two are alike!
Depending on the SI clarity diamonds that you look at, those inclusions can vary widely.
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SI clarity is divided up into 2 categories:
- SI1 Clarity
- SI2 Clarity
(Other certificate companies actually add in a third category to the SI list, called the SI3 clarity. But GIA doesn’t acknowledges it… So neither will I!)
Which SI clarity is the best clarity?
Both SI1 and SI2 clarities are great clarities to buy.
SI clarity is the second clarity rating from the bottom of the chart.
The only clarity rating that’s lower is the I Clarity Diamonds. But since I clarity makes up HALF the market, SI clarity actually falls ABOVE the halfway mark in availability. Crazy eh?
That just goes to show you how rare good clarity diamonds really are! Out of the SI clarity, the SI1 clarity is the best. It out beats SI2 for some very good reasons.
SI2 clarity is borderline with I clarity diamonds. With an SI2 diamond, you can usually see inclusions in it with the naked eye. From the top view they get very hard to see, but from the side view most people can pick out the inclusions easily.
SI2 diamonds always deserve the most scrutiny of all the clarities, because a lot of jewelers and certificate companies will call I1 clarity diamonds, SI2 diamonds. They bump the rating up higher so the diamond will be more profitable to sell. If you’re looking at SI2 clarity diamonds, proceed with caution! Some are not what they seem!
Pass on SI2
If I was buying a diamond, I would pass up SI2 clarity diamonds. Unless you actually buy one that’s been certified by GIA, I would avoid them. Stick with SI1 clarity diamonds and you’ll get a much nicer, cleaner looking diamond.
With SI1 clarity diamonds, you won’t see any inclusions with the naked eye. You won’t see any from the top view OR the side view. You’ll need a microscope or jeweler’s loupe to see them. And since no one carries around a microscope, chances are good you’ll never see the inclusions again other than the day you bought it. Goodbye flaws!
Anything SI1 or higher has no visible inclusions.
VVS and VS Clarities are awesome! They are the better quality diamonds. Anytime you have to scope something ten times just to see an imperfection, you know you’re getting something good.
So why is SI1 clarity the best to buy?
The reason why SI1 clarity diamonds are one of the best clarity diamonds to purchase is simple…
To the naked eye, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between an SI1 clarity diamonds and higher clarity diamonds!
WHY? Because we’re talking about microscopic inclusions. Anytime you’re dealing with flaws that get so small you need a microscope to see, then to the naked eye, they will look virtually identical!
Try this Test
For a test, put a SI1 clarity diamond up against a VS clarity (very slightly included), or a VVS clarity (very very slightly included), (VS and VVS are the next two grades higher) diamond and see if you can tell the difference. Most people can’t.
In SI1 clarity diamonds the inclusions get so small, minute, and hard to locate, that most can only find a couple of marks to identify under a loupe. Inclusions in an SI1 clarity diamond usually fall around the outside of the table (the top flat part of the diamond), or they fall deeper into the stone so it’s not so obvious.
SI clarity diamonds are great to buy because they look awesome, but they don’t cost an arm and a leg like the cleaner diamonds do. To the naked eye, they’ll pretty much look the same, and if they look the same, then why spend more money on a higher clarity? If I can’t see the difference, I’m not going to spend a thousand dollars more for it! Get the SI1 clarity.
Money burning a hole?
If your money is burning a hole in your pocket, then I would say, spend it on color!
Getting a better color will leave a visible difference.
The whiter the diamond color the more sparkle and brilliance the Diamond seems to emit. I would look at getting either a Colorless diamond; D-E-F (Which is the best color range in the world), or get a G color! G is at the top end of the NEAR COLORLESS range. That’s the next best thing. Everything below G or H could add some off color or yellow to the diamond. In my book, E-F is awesome and a must!
Buy an SI1 clarity diamond with an E-F color and that puppy will shine! SI1, E-F, is the hottest selling diamond on the market today because of its look and the price.
And if you purchase an SI1 clarity diamond that’s GIA certified also… well, let’s just say that in no way, shape or form will you ever be feeling “slightly irregular!“
You’ll LOVE them! :)
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