What is the difference between VS2 vs VS1 diamond clarity? In this article, we look at both of these clarity grades in detail: their appearance, their price, and their investment value. You’ll also learn when you should purchase one or the other, depending on the type of diamond you’re buying.
First, the Four Cs
If you’re reading this article, you probably already know about The Four Cs of diamond quality – cut, colour, clarity and carat weight. These 4 important factors determine the price of a diamond. If you aren’t familiar with them, we recommend you read this article first.
What does clarity mean?
The ‘clearer’ your diamond is, the fewer inclusions it has.
So what exactly are inclusions?
Inclusions are small imperfections or marks within the diamond’s crystal. These tiny markings appeared millions of years ago, when the diamond formed under huge pressure under the Earth’s crust. They are therefore entirely natural. Inclusions can manifest as black dots, bubbles or fissures within the diamond.
Clarity always affects the price
A diamond with many visible inclusions is considered to have a low clarity grade. The lower the clarity grade, the lower the diamond’s price. On the other hand, a diamond with only a few inclusions that are so small they cannot be seen with the naked eye has a high clarity grade. This, in turn, will raise its price.
The clarity scale, from good to poor
There are eight diamond clarity grades. They range from diamonds with inclusions that are clearly noticeable, to diamonds that are seemingly flawless even under magnification. They’re called:
FL – Flawless
IF – Internally flawless
VVS1 – Very, Very slightly included 1
VVS2 – Very, Very slightly included 2
VS1 – Very slightly included 1
VS2 – Very slightly included 2
SI1 – Slightly included 1
SI2 – Slightly included 2
I1 – Included
Why VS clarity grade is a good choice
VS diamonds offer high quality for a reasonable budget. A gemmological expert would have to use a 10x magnifying loupe, and quite a bit of time and effort, to see the inclusions inside it. In fact, gemmologists characterise VS inclusions as “minor”. At the same time, VS diamonds are much more affordable than VVS and IF diamonds. This means that VS diamonds represent excellent value for money.
Do VS diamonds have investment value?
Yes, VS diamond will appreciate in value over time. This is because firstly, a VS diamond will display beautiful light play and sparkle. Secondly, it won’t have any structural issues, such as chips or cracks. And finally, while a VS diamond isn’t flawless, it is still quite a rare quality grade. All these factors make it a worthwhile investment.
What do the numbers 1 and 2 mean – VS1 and VS2?
A VS1 diamond has slightly fewer and smaller inclusions than a VS2 diamond. In other words, a VS1 diamond is slightly better than a VS2 diamond.
Can you really see the difference?
A VS1 diamond has minuscule inclusions that you can only see with a 10x magnifying glass. In other words, you will not be able to see any imperfections with your naked eye.
A VS2 diamond doesn’t have inclusions that are visible to the naked eye, as long as you buy a diamond that is brilliant cut with lots of facets (such as round, oval or princess cuts) under 1 carat in size. Only on very rare occasions, when a VS2 diamond is 1 carat or more in size, and has large open facets* that let you peer inside the stone (such as emerald cut diamonds), AND the inclusion happens to be right in the middle of the diamond, you may see the inclusion.
*Take care with open-facet, step cut diamonds
As mentioned in the point above, inclusions, generally speaking, can be slightly visible in VS2 diamonds that have large, open facets. This is especially true for ‘step cut diamonds’. This generally means rectangular diamonds, such as emerald cuts and Asscher cuts, which have a large, flat top surface that allows you to peer directly inside the stone. If you want one of these diamond cuts, always choose the best clarity grade you can afford.
Price comparison – VS1 and VS2
The price rise from a VS2 diamond to a VS1 diamond can sometimes be only a few per cent. However, it can be as high as 25% or more. It really depends on the carat weight of the diamonds you are comparing, as well as the other quality factors (The Four Cs).
How to compare VS1 and VS2 prices in a shop
The best thing to do is to find two identical diamond jewellery items, one at VS1 and one at VS2 clarity. Make sure all the other factors that affect the price – such as carat weight, colour and cut, as well as the precious metal setting – are the same. Now, compare the items side-by-side to see the price difference:
You should buy VS1 quality when…
- When the price difference between a VS1 and VS2 is not too big and you can afford the upgrade. Always go for the VS1 grade if you have the budget because it will appreciate more over time.
- When the diamond you want is larger than 1 carat and has large facets that allow you to peer inside the diamond easily (such as emerald and Asscher cuts).
You should buy VS2 quality when…
- When you find a diamond jewellery item you like at VS2 quality, and an equivalent VS1 quality diamond doesn’t fit your budget or doesn’t exist. VS2 is a very respectable clarity grade that you can feel proud to own. It has investment value over time, even though this is slightly less than with VS1 diamonds.
- When you’re buying a brilliant cut (such as round, oval, princess cut) diamond under 1.00CT in size, with lots of small facets that make it impossible to see any inclusions with your naked eye, and you simply won’t notice the difference.
Consider VS1 or VS2 lab grown diamonds
Lab grown diamonds are real diamonds, just like mined diamonds. Grown in a laboratory using state of the art technology, they offer amazing value for money – as well as an ethical environmental choice – because there is no mining or large scale transportation involved.
Just like mined diamonds, lab grown solitaires come with a certificate attesting to their Four Cs, including their clarity. Lab grown diamonds are a smart-money choice because you can get the clarity grade you want, plus up to a 50% bigger diamond for your budget.
Don’t forget that inclusions make diamonds unique
When all is said and done, it’s good to remember that diamond inclusions are natural. In other words, they are what make each stone unique. What’s more, all diamonds sold commercially have some inclusions. So when it comes to VS1 or VS2 diamond clarity, you should know that both are valuable, beautiful and rare, and will appreciate over time.
A final, VERY important piece of advice
As a last tip, we recommend that you don’t get so caught up in the quality grade that you forget to simply consider the beauty of the diamond jewellery piece you’re buying. When it comes to diamonds, it’s all too easy not to see the wood for the trees!
Therefore, your first and foremost consideration should always be: will the person wearing this diamond jewellery piece love it? If you can honestly say that they will, and that the item is the very best your money can buy… then you have found the perfect diamond.
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