Walk into any jewelry store and ask them what a great quality of diamond is.
Chances are, you’ll hear them say “VS clarity” (plus probably D, E, F color and more than likely an Hearts & Arrows cut, like these stones here).
VS clarity is great clarity and it’s quite rare. In fact, VS is in the top 14% of all the gem quality diamonds mined in the world today.
VS and VVS make up the top 2 clarity grades normally found on the market. Above that are Flawless (FL) Diamonds and Internally Flawless (IF) Diamonds (see here), but these are very rare and very expensive (see price chart below).
Then again, what else can you expect from perfection? If you want quality and have money to burn… Go for it! :)
Me, I’m sticking with VS.
Take a look at the diamond clarity chart below to see where VS carity falls…
VS clarity sits in between VVS clarity (considered excellent quality) and SI clarity (SI is considered good quality). Let’s take a closer look at VS…
VS is made up of 2 grade levels; VS1 and VS2 (level one and level two).
VS means very slightly included (very slight as in very little). Some call VS very small inclusions, others call it very slight inclusions. It’s all the same. VS is way above average when it comes to quality and inclusions.
VS1 and VS2:
The definitions of the VS clarity levels are as follows:
VS1 has small inclusions that are difficult to see under 10x magnification (like a microscope or a 10x jeweler’s loupe). Inclusions in a VS diamond can be crystals, clouds, internal graining, pinpoints, feathers… Not to mention blemishes on the outside (surface) of the stone like: extra facets, naturals, trigons and polish marks.
To the untrained eye, these inclusions and flaws will be very difficult to see and most average people won’t see anything other than maybe a dot or small line in a VS1 clarity stone.
VS2 clarity is pretty much the same as VS1, but the flaws and imperfections get a tad bit bigger (a little easier to spot under magnification), they get a little more frequent, and generally they can come closer to the center of the stone (towards the table).
Personally I love VS clarity diamonds and would never buy anything else. But then again, I’ve worked with diamonds for over the past 30 years and tend to be bias towards great quality.
Like I said before, VS clarity isn’t the best clarity on the market, but it’s certainly far from being the worst (which is I clarity diamonds).
Why buy VS?
VS clarity is more affordable than the higher clarity ranges and interestingly enough, if you put a VS1 clarity diamond up against a VVS clarity, flawless or internally flawless diamond, you would never know the difference!!! (Unless you microscoped them.)
Compare VS1 to higher clarity grades:
Even under a 10x microscope, it still takes a very trained eye to tell the difference between them. The biggest difference you’ll see is the price.
VS clarity prices:
Check out the price comparison chart below to see how VS clarity compares to SI, VVS and Internally Flawless diamonds (all are 1 carat, ideal cut, GIA certified and E color… Prices are from James Allen diamond search as of the date of this post).
|CARAT WEIGHT, CLARITY, COLOR, CUT, CERTIFIED||PRICE||VIEW|
|1.00, FL, E, IDEAL, GIA||$22,660||VIEW|
|1.00, IF, E, IDEAL, GIA||$9,960||VIEW|
|1.00, VVS1, E, IDEAL, GIA||$9,210||VIEW|
|1.00, VVS2, E, IDEAL, GIA||$8,290||VIEW|
|1.00, VS1, E, IDEAL, GIA||$7,510||VIEW|
|1.00, VS2, E, IDEAL, GIA||$6,400||VIEW|
|1.00, SI1, E, IDEAL, GIA||$5,300||VIEW|
|1.00, SI2, E, IDEAL, GIA||$4,070||VIEW|
Let me give you three examples so you can see how clarity and color affect price…
Compare SI1, D $9.860 to a VS2, H $8,780 and even a VS1, J $6,710.
You’ll see from the pictures that the SI1, D diamond is brighter and whiter than higher clarity VS stones.
It all has to do with color, certification, cut and carat weight as well. Everything together makes up the price and beauty of a stone.
What would I choose?
VS clarity, of course!
Many people wonder why I wouldn’t choose a VVS clarity diamond or even a Flawless diamond as my diamond of choice. My answer is simple: I like to be able to identify my stone.
It’s that simple.
Identifying VS diamonds:
The best way to keep yourself from getting ripped off, having your diamond switched and identifying your stone is through the inclusions in the stone. Inclusions act like a fingerprint (blueprint) to a diamond (check out any certified diamond report and see the diamond plot is the fingerprint of that stone).
If you have no flaws in the diamond (as in a Flawless diamond), you’ll have a very difficult time telling that diamond from a fake diamond or even a man-made diamond (like Moissanite). Most fake stones, like CZ’s are flawless and won’t leave any signs of natural growth or birthmarks. This can be scary and you’ll have to diamond test your stone (with a diamond tester that checks for thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity) to see if it’s real or not.
Now VVS diamonds do have slight flaws that are identifiable, but trust me, even with a trained eye, even an expert will have to look unbelievably hard to see anything at all. It’s so tough to tell the differences between VVS and Flawless diamonds…
That’s why I prefer VS instead. The flaws are slight, but still noticeable under magnification (you can’t see them with the bare eye).
So with a VS (VS1 or VS2), you’ll get the top of the line, but without paying for the top of the line price.
If I had to choose between the two (VS1 and VS2), I would of course say VS1. Hands down.
Why? Because a VS1 diamond could look more like a VVS2 diamond, while a VS2 diamond could look more like an SI1 clarity stone. See image below of where a VS1 and VS2 diamond fall on the charts… The two clarities could be so close together, that they become borderline and almost impossible to tell the difference apart. It all boils down to opinion (and everyone has one…)
This is a huge difference to me and if I wanted a diamond that could pass as an SI1, then I’d just buy and SI1 clarity diamond (and save the money). Right?
So yes, I’m leaning towards VS1, but really it all comes down to you and what you feel comfortable with. If you want an awesome clarity, one where none of the inclusions will block light, sparkle or brilliance, then VS is the clarity for you.
You’ll never regret spending your money on high quality! Ever!
But… And here’s a big but…
Don’t put all your eggs in one pot.
Which means, don’t just concentrate on VS clarity and nothing else.
Cut, color and carat weight also matter.
If you buy a VS1 clarity diamond, but end up with a J color or a poor cut, then that great clarity is wasted. That diamond could lack life, light and sparkle. So why bother?
It just makes sense that if you’re looking at high clarity, you’ll also look at high color (which I consider D-E-F-G-H), and you must also strive for a great cut (cut is what really makes a diamond sparkle the most).
Without one or the other, a diamond won’t live up to its full potential and may even look dark and dull. Imagine that; a VS diamond looking dull!
Everything in the 4C’s matter when it comes to diamonds.
If you really want an eye opener as far as VS is concerned, compare a VS clarity diamond to an SI diamond and even an I clarity diamond. You’ll be amazed at the differences. It’s like night and day.
When most people see this, they say one thing “WOW!!!!“
After seeing them with your very own eyes, I would guess you would never buy any other quality again. It’s that good.
Last word on VS clarity:
If you buy great clarity and spend that kind of dough on great quality, please, whatever you do, make sure you buy a GIA certified diamond as well! It’s a must!!!
Certified VS clarity diamonds:
If you don’t purchase a certified diamond, a jeweler could sell you anything and claim it’s a VS clarity and you would never know it. You would never know the difference either. That diamond could be an SI1 diamond instead (and this is perfectly legal – it’s called grade bumping)… You would absolutely kick yourself for making such a costly mistake.
So make sure you buy a certified diamond. GIA is the best you can buy. GIA wrote the book on diamond grading. They devised the 4C’s grading system that all of America uses to grade their stones. When it comes to GIA, they are the cream of the crop.
So if you’re shopping for an engagement ring, buy GIA certified; VS clarity, E color (my favorite pure white color) with an excellent cut such as True Hearts (triple excellent diamond)…
Buying a diamond like this will rock your world (and hers). It will sparkle like a million stars in the sky. It may be a bit pricey, but if you want quality, you’ll have to pay a premium price.
VS is worth every penny!
Top Diamond Vendors:
James Allen is a leader in diamonds. Their real time interactive diamond inspection is the best in the industry. View and rotate any diamond under 20x magnification. Their prices, selection, lifetime warranty, 24/7 customer support and hassle free returns are unbeatable. Visit James Allen today.
Blue Nile is the largest and most well known respected diamond dealer online. They are highly trusted, have a huge inventory, and low low prices (compare anywhere and see for yourself). If you want to save money, or build your own ring, this is the place to shop. Visit Blue Nile today.