Should you Buy an SI2 Clarity? May 7, 2018 – Posted in: Jewelry Blog
The SI2 clarity diamond is a very controversial topic. In this article, we will try and give you a balanced approach to understanding all the views. We will explain the pros and cons, and also what to look out for.
What is Diamond “Clarity”?
Before we explain Si2 clarity, we will first have to explain diamond clarity in general.
Every diamond has a grading or classification for the relative clarity of the stone. Within the crystal structure of a rough diamond will be imperfections which have appeared during the ages that it took for the diamond to form. These imperfections, or inclusions, occur in almost all diamonds. Depending on how many inclusions there are, and how visible they may be, each diamond will have a classification when it goes on sale.
The more inclusions, the lower the clarity, and the lower the resulting classification.
The Clarity Scale
As with all the 4Cs except weight, clarity has an official scale as determined by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Like the diamond scale for color, there is a certain subjectivity to determining clarity. At SI2, with the SI meaning “Slightly Included”, there is a chance that any internal flaws are visible to the naked eye. For the most part, however, they will be invisible unless under magnification.
It’s no surprise that diamonds which are flawless carry a hefty premium. Those further down the scale are much more affordable, even at slightly larger sizes. The scale itself is still very much at the mercy of the expert. There is no “count” of inclusions which determines the clarity rating. No cut-off at which point the diamond qualifies for the next rating up or down.
Where SI2 Sits On The Scale
The clarity scale ranges from Flawless (Fl) to Included Level 3 (I3). In a practical sense, I1, I2, and I3 will be too much for most purposes. Many jewelers don’t actually stock diamonds with this level of clarity, due to low demand. SI2 diamonds are the lowest grade usually made available for sale.
But, before you dismiss the idea of buying an SI2 diamond, just wait. There are several reasons why it really isn’t such a crazy idea. Price, for one. And the fact that you might not even be able to tell it’s an SI2 diamond.
How much do Si2 Diamonds Cost?
Diamond prices (based on clarity alone) are hard to lay down because there are so many variables that go into diamond prices. Assuming that all things stand equal, here are the average prices for SI2 diamonds as of January 2019.
For a high-quality SI2 clarity, J color, VS2 clarity, and round-cut diamond:
- 0.50-carat diamond will cost approximately $1,250
- 1-carat diamond will cost approximately $5,700
- 1.50-carat diamond will cost approximately $9,900
- 2-carat diamond will cost approximately $17,000
- 3-carat diamond will cost approximately $37,500
- 4-carat diamond will cost approximately $64,000
- 5-carat diamond will cost approximately $107,500
What Does SI2 Really Mean?
Officially, for a diamond to have the Slightly Included level 2 grade, a diamond will have inclusions visible to the naked eye. They may require close inspection but they can be seen. So does this spoil the diamond and make it undesirable? Well, not as often as you might think.
When the expert grades a diamond, he does so through 10x magnification, and from all angles. But the fact is that once in a setting, the view is usually available only from the top and – sometimes – side. The nature of many diamond cuts means that inclusions are often hidden by the facets on the crown of the cut. The modern round brilliant cut is a good example. The cut accounts for about 75% of all diamonds on sale today and has 57 facets. Most of these are above the girdle (the widest point of the diamond) and make seeing inclusions very difficult.
From underneath, looking through the pavilion, the inclusions are far easier to see. Unless buying loose diamonds, though, that viewpoint will never be an issue.
Buying A Ring With An SI2 Diamond
If you can, examine the SI2 diamond ring against one higher up the scale. This will let you know whether there is a tangible difference. If you can’t see the inclusions, nobody will. Don’t get hung up on the grading, your friends and family won’t be carrying a jeweler’s loupe with them.
Many antique and vintage engagement rings contain diamonds which, if new today, would probably be much less desirable. But these rings have a charm and a quality which is hard to replicate. The cuts were made for their fire and liveliness, and this doesn’t change.
If you like the ring, and it is within the budget, buy it. Let the clarity be less of a consideration than the overall look of the piece. If the diamond was a poor one, it never would have made it into the ring in the first place.
Whilst inclusions may well not reveal themselves in a lot of circumstances, there are notable exceptions. Cuts that are square or rectangle, such as Asscher or emerald cuts, have large stepped facets. This makes it much easier to see down into the diamond and, therefore, much easier to see any inclusions.
If you do see an SI2 emerald cut diamond, make sure you have a really good look at it. It’s not a certain situation to avoid, but it does warrant close inspection.
Otherwise, you can save a considerable amount of money over a diamond much higher up the clarity scale. SI2 can be as much as 70% cheaper than Flawless or Internally Flawless diamonds. And yet the average person won’t be able to tell them apart. You don’t need a lot of nerve to buy an SI2 diamond, you just need to know exactly what it means.
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