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Should I Buy a VVS1 Clarity Diamond?

Clarity is an important consideration when you’re shopping for a diamond. VVS1 diamonds are considered to have excellent clarity. But was does that mean, exactly? And when should you consider a VVS1?
By Laurie Mega 5 minutes read

When shopping for a diamond, you’ll be looking at diamonds of different clarity grades, from FL (flawless) to I (Included). GIA grades diamonds by the number, size and placement of flaws and inclusions. The more noticeable they are, the lower a diamond will be graded.

At the top of the scale, though not quite the very top, are VVS1 (very very slightly included) diamonds. These are considered to have excellent clarity, and carry a price tag that matches their rarity.

When it comes to buying a diamond, cut is probably the most important of the four Cs. A good cut will bring out a fire and brilliance that can make up for (and even hide) flaws and coloration.

Still, clarity can also have an effect on the beauty of the diamond you choose. Inclusions affect the way light is reflected back to you from the diamond. The more inclusions, the less fire and brilliance a diamond will have.

When looking at diamonds, make sure you look at them magnified and under good lighting to detect flaws and inclusions.

If you’re looking online, the magnified videos on Blue Nile and James Allen are great tools for just that.

What Does VVS1 Clarity Mean?

Diamonds are graded on a clarity scale that measures how clear the diamond is as well as how many flaws or inclusions the diamond has, both internally and externally, when viewed at 10x magnification. Flaws and inclusions can be anything from small cracks or chips on the diamond surface to tiny crystals embedded in the diamond when it was formed.

One-carat I1 diamond from James Allen
This one-carat I1 diamond from James Allen has many inclusions that are visible at 10x.

It’s pretty difficult to find a diamond completely without flaws. Even FL diamonds, considered flawless, may have flaws if viewed under a high enough magnification.

VVS diamonds, whether VVS1 or VVS1, are very very slightly included. Despite having some inclusions, these diamonds are considered to have excellent clarity.

Remember that jewelers grade diamonds for clarity by looking at them under 10x magnification. So, while flaws may be detectable under magnification, a diamond (particularly a VVS diamond) will most likely be what’s called eye clean.

That means that the diamond looks flawless to the naked eye. A VVS1 diamond will definitely look flawless, even when you turn it in the light.

VVS1 vs VVS2

There’s very little difference between a VVS1 and a VVS2, especially to the average consumer. In a VVS1 diamond, the inclusions are so tiny, you can’t even seen them at 10x magnification. In a VVS1 the inclusions are still very tiny. You can begin to see them at that magnification but just barely.

In the images below, the one on the left is a one-carat VVS1 with an H color grade. The one one the right is a VVS2 of the same carat and color. Even though they both look eye clean, the VVS1 diamond costs about $600 more.

One-carat VVS1 diamond from James Allen
This one-carat VVS1 diamond from James Allen looks almost identical to the VVS2 diamond to the right.
One-carat VVS2 diamond from James Allen
Even at 10x magnification the flaws in this one-carat VVS2 diamond from James Allen are almost invisible.

VVS1 vs FL or IF Diamond

A F diamond is considered flawless, though finding a truly flawless diamond is, according to experts, nearly impossible. What it means is that even under higher magnification, you can’t see any flaws or inclusions.

An IF diamond is internally flawless. There are tiny inclusions or flaws within the diamond, but not on the surface, and they’re very difficult to see even magnified.

Diamonds with these two clarity grades are rarer and, therefore, more expensive. But without the trained eye of an expert, it’s extremely difficult to tell the difference between an FL, an IF, and a VVS1 diamond.

Below is a VVS1 diamond, followed by one-carat IF and FL diamonds. Can you detect the inclusions in any of them? And yet, there is about a thousand-dollar different between the VVS1 and the FL diamond.

VVS1 Clarity Diamond from James Allen

This is a VVS1 clarity diamond from James Allen. Can you tell the difference between this and the VVS2 to the right?

One-carat IF diamond from James Allen

Can you see the inclusions in this one-carat IF diamond from James Allen?

One-carat FL diamond from James Allen

This one-carat FL diamond from James Allen is considered flawless, but can you tell the difference between this and the VVS1?

When Should I Consider a VVS1 Clarity Diamond?

When it comes to clarity, it’s more about finding a diamond that is eye-clean rather than certified flawless (or nearly flawless). Because VVS1 diamonds tend to be more expensive, we generally recommend diamonds in the VS2 to SI1 range.

But there are situations where including VVS1 diamonds in your search is a good idea.

Large Diamonds

The larger the diamond, the more likely you are to see inclusions, especially if they lie at the center of the diamond, under the table. The table is the large facet at the very top of the diamond, where most of the light enters the stone.

At five carats, for example, a SI1 diamond may have visible inclusions, like the one below.

5-carat SI1 diamond from James Allen
At 5 carats, this the flaws in the SI1 diamond from James Allen are visible.

At one carat, however, which is thought of as the standard diamond weight, a VS2-SI1 diamond will still look eye-clean.

Fancy Shapes

Most fancy shapes do hide inclusions pretty well, especially those with a brilliant or modified brilliant cut. So you can still find a good, eye-clean diamond in the VS2-SI1 range.

There are a few exceptions, though. In the emerald cut, the long rectangular facets make inclusions more visible. In this VS2 emerald-cut diamond, flaw are visible toward the center of the stone.

One-carat emerald-cut VS2 from James Allen
Because the table is bigger, flaws are more visible in this emerald-cut diamond from James Allen.

In the oval cut diamond, the larger table can make inclusions more visible, as well. Though less apparent than in the emerald-cut diamond, this VS2 oval diamond has some discernible flaws under the table.

VS2 oval-cut diamond from James Allen
The flaws are more apparent in this oval-cut diamond from James Allen.

No matter which diamond you choose, make sure you get a good look at it from all angles. We recommend and James Allen for their magnified images and 360-degree videos.