Expert Guide to the VS1 Clarity Diamond

September 13, 2022 – Posted in: Jewelry Blog

No diamond is absolutely flawless, but there’s a massive difference in price between higher and lower clarity grades. A VS1 clarity diamond is located around the scale’s mid-range, offering a perfect balance of clarity and affordability. 

Do you want to learn more about VS1 diamonds and whether they are what you’re looking for? This expert guide includes everything you need to know about this clarity grade and more. 

What Is VS1 Clarity?

GIA Old European Cut Diamond in Diamond Box Showroom Afshin

VS1 clarity diamonds are higher mid-range precious stones. They are in the fifth highest category on the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) official clarity scale. The scale consists of 11 grades, sorted into five different categories, ranging from Flawless at the top to Included at the bottom.

The GIA clarity scale places each stone in an appropriate category based on its flaws. The number, size, location, type, and color of the defects all play a role. 

Diamonds located in the Flawless categories are near-perfect. Although absolute perfection is hardly possible, Flawless stones are close as one gets to it. The imperfections of a Flawless diamond require 40x magnification to even begin to see. On the other hand, Included diamonds have visible flaws that even a layperson can see.

VS1 clarity is somewhere in between. The abbreviation means the stone in question is “Very Slightly Included.” The number 1 in the category name means it’s the higher grade of Very Slightly Included diamonds. VS1 grade is located just between the VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included 2) and VS2 (Very Slightly Included 2) categories.

Takeaway: As their name suggests, VS1 diamonds have minor inclusions. These can be mineral deposits, cracks, and similar. Typically, a VS1 diamond has slightly more noticeable inclusions than those in higher categories. Nevertheless, these flaws are still so small that the naked eye can’t discern them.

VS1 Diamond Pricing

Vintage Tiffany Diamond Ring with Pear Shaped Accents 12077

A mid-range VS1 diamond can be rather affordable. That said, clarity isn’t the only factor that plays a role in the stone’s final value. Depending on its other characteristics, you’ll find a broad range of prices for similarly sized diamonds. Here is a chart for round-cut VS1 diamonds to illustrate the prices you can expect. 

Carat sizePrice for color DPrice for color K
0.50$2,300$1,000
1$10,000$3,300
1.5$24,000$8,700
2$50,000$15,000
3$100,000$33,000
4$200,000$59,000
5$375,000$85,000
6$450,000$102,000

As you can see, the color grade can make a large price difference, no matter the carat weight of the VS1 diamond. The tint of the diamond is measured on a scale from D to Z. Where a D color grade is perfectly colorless, the further down the alphabet we get, the yellower the stone appears. 

Although color K belongs to the “Faint Yellow” category, you probably won’t see a noticeable difference and can save thousands of dollars. On the other hand, the price of a VS1 can easily match that of a VVS2 in a higher color grade.

You’ll also find that VS1 diamonds with the same carat weight and color have different price tags depending on their cut— the quality and the style of the cut influence the stone’s value. According to the chart above, a round cut 1-carat VS1 in color K will be around $3,300. Choosing an oval or pear cut can reduce this by $300-$400. A princess or emerald cut may even save you up to $1,000. 

Is It a Good Idea to Buy a VS1 Diamond?

Are you wondering whether investing in a VS1 diamond is a good idea? It may depend on your goals and preferences. Here are some pros and cons of choosing this clarity grade over others.

The Advantages of Buying a VS1 Diamond

Burbank Ring Three Stone VS1 Clarity Diamond on Hand

The main advantage of VS1 diamonds is that they appear no less perfect than a more expensive counterpart. As mentioned, these stones only have minor flaws visible under 10x magnification. Thanks to their eye-clean appearance, few people will ever be able to tell your stone isn’t flawless. So, if you don’t care about what’s under the microscope, a VS1 won’t disappoint.

Expert Tip: With the above mentioned in mind, VS1 stones can be a fantastic value for the money. The naked eye can’t see the difference between a VVS2 and VS1 diamond, but your wallet certainly can. There can be a 10-20% price difference between these two categories. Therefore, choosing VS1 might allow you to go a few sizes larger and still stay within budget. 

Luckily, even larger carat weights won’t necessarily show imperfections without magnification in the right cuts, and possible inclusions rarely affect the stone’s brilliance. 

Is VS1 Always a Good Choice?

Athens Ring Vintage VS1 Clarity Diamond Ring

So, are there any reasons why a VS1 diamond may not always be the best choice? If you want to invest in a high-value stone, going a grade up may actually be a more solid choice, as VVS2 diamonds offer a great introduction to top-tier clarity grades. 

On the other hand, if your goal is saving money but still getting a stunner, the VS2 grade also offers great options. Depending on its inclusions, a VS2 diamond can sometimes be comparable to a VS1 one. If you’re uncertain which option you should go for, fill out our form below, and we’ll assist you in your decision.

Pros

  • A stunning eye-clean stone
  • Good choice for larger sizes
  • Great value 

Cons

  • Visible inclusions under 10x magnification
  • Some VS2 diamonds may appear the same

Types of Inclusions in a VS1 Clarity Diamond 

VS1 Clarity Diamond with slight inclusions

All diamonds have flaws, whether they are natural or lab-grown. A gem’s clarity grade is determined by its inclusions and blemishes. The former are flaws inside the structure of the stone, while the latter are surface imperfections.

Of course, the fewer inclusions a stone has, the better. However, their number isn’t the only criterion. The location of these flaws often determines how noticeable they are. 

Inclusions near the table of the diamond are more significant than those on the sides that the intricate facets of the cut can mask. These imperfections may also have a color, which makes them more apparent. Finally, the type of inclusion is also important. 

Here are the inclusion types that typically affect VS1 clarity stones.

Crystal Inclusions 

Crystal Inclusions VS1 Clarity Diamond

Crystal inclusions are mineral deposits trapped inside the diamond during its formation process. They may be transparent or colored depending on the type of crystal. For example, colorless mineral deposits are actually diamonds within the diamond. While carbon deposits will be black, garnet red, and so on.

Feather Inclusions

Feather Inclusion in a Diamond

Feathers are tiny fractures inside the diamond. Sometimes, they are almost invisible, and you’ll only see them from certain angles. Other times, they may be colored and more apparent. 

Additionally, their size and location determine how much they deduct from the stone’s value. Most feathers are fairly inconsequential. However, if the crack is near the diamond’s surface, it can potentially compromise its structure down the line. Steer clear of diamonds with such feathers.

Indented Natural Inclusions

As the name suggests, indented natural inclusions are small indentations on the diamond’s surface. These formed naturally and were left untouched when the stone was cut. You can typically find indented natural areas at the diamond’s girdle.

Knots

Knot Inclusions VS1 Clarity Diamond

A knot is a transparent or whitish crystal inclusion. What makes knots different from other crystal inclusions is that they reach the surface of the diamond. A small area of the diamond’s surface may thus be uneven as it protrudes. Knots can often be seen without magnification.

Needle Inclusions

Needle Inclusions VS1 Clarity Diamonds

Needle inclusions are some of the most common types of imperfections in higher-grade diamonds. These are also a version of crystal inclusion, but instead of being round, they are elongated. Needle inclusions are usually hard to see unless they have a color. Under magnification, they essentially look like tiny lines inside the diamond. 

How to Buy a Loose VS1 Clarity Diamond?

Close Up Loupe with Diamond Afshin and Showroom

Buying a loose VS1 clarity diamond can give you great freedom when it comes to its setting. But where should you even start? Embarking on a diamond purchasing journey by yourself can be overwhelming.

You can start with a simple Google search for an idea of what you can get for your budget. Reputable online sellers offer a vast selection of diamonds, including VS1 clarity ones. You can tweak your search criteria to see how each factor affects the price. 

As you’ll notice, each diamond has a unique set of characteristics, which can make your search very complicated. Consequently, if you’re unsure which option is a better value for your money, you can end up with a regrettable purchase. An experienced jeweler can make your job much easier. Consider filling out our form below with your preferences, and Estate Diamond Jewelry will look for suitable options for you.

VS1 vs. VS2 Diamonds

VS1 vs. VS2 Clarity Diamonds

VS1 and VS2 diamonds are the two tiers of the Very Slightly Included clarity grade on the GIA’s official scale. They look rather similar to the untrained eye, making choosing between the two a challenge. 

The main difference between VS1 and VS2 diamonds is that the former grade is eye-clean most of the time. On the other hand, you might spot the tiny flaws of a VS2 diamond if you look hard enough, even without a magnifying glass. Therefore, VS1 gems are usually preferable to their lower-tier siblings. As each diamond is unique, this doesn’t apply in 100% of the cases, but it’s a reliable way to tell the two categories apart.

Sometimes, a VS2 diamond can also appear eye-clean if its inclusions are off the side. With the help of an expert, you might be able to find a VS2 diamond that can compete with a VS1, which can save you a few hundred bucks. Nevertheless, even inclusions aren’t always detrimental to the beauty of the stone, especially when speaking of antique pieces. This vintage, hand-crafted Glassboro Ring from the 1920s features both VS1 and VS2 gems, and few will ever be able to tell the two grades apart. 

VS1 vs. VVS2 Diamonds

VS1 vs. VVS2 Clarity Diamond Comparison

Both VS1 and VVS2 clarity diamonds have minor inclusions you’ll only see under a jeweler’s loupe. So, what separates these two clarity grades? 

While spotting the flaws of a VVS2 under 10x magnification might require trained vision, you don’t have to be an expert to see a VS1’s inclusions when placed under a loupe. Although VVS2 diamonds belong to the elite category, VS1s are more affordable, even in higher color grades. For instance, this 0.67-carat VS1 Edwardian Lamego Ring costs only $5,500 in a fine G color grade.

At the end of the day, both VS1 and VVS2 diamonds are a great value. The individual properties of the diamonds may play a more important role in your final decision than their clarity grade.

Shop VS1 Clarity Diamond Rings

  • Old European Cut Diamond Ring Dover Ring Top View
    Dover Ring
    $45,000
  • 4.26ct Old European Cut Diamond Ring - Bauer Ring 14239 TV
    Bauer Ring
    $85,000
  • 1.26ct Old European Cut Diamond Ring - Norwalk Ring 14257 TV
    Norwalk Ring. Circa 1950
    $9,500
  • Howell Ring Top View
    Howell Ring
    $25,000
  • Somerville Ring Top View
    Somerville Ring
    $14,000
  • 1.60ct Old European Cut Diamond Ring - Arlington Ring14250-TV-1000PX
    Arlington Ring
    $14,000
  • 1.06ct Asscher Cut Diamond Engagement Ring - Montgomery Ring 14225-TV-1000PX
    Montgomery Ring
    $9,000
  • Art Deco 3.29ct Diamond Engagement Ring - Whitby Ring 14274 TV
    Whitby Ring. Circa 1920 (Antique, Art Deco Era)
    $40,000
  • 1.29ct Round Brilliant Cut Diamond Tiffany Engagement Ring - 14185 TV
    1.29ct Tiffany Ring
    $18,000

Top 7 Insider Tips and Tricks for Buying VS1 Clarity

Finding the right diamond requires a lot of research. If you have your mind set on a VS1 clarity gem, the tips below will help you make an informed purchase.

Inspect the Diamond Well

Customer Using Loupe on Antique Engagement Ring in Showroom

VS1 diamonds should be eye-clean, but you shouldn’t take this fact for granted. You must scrutinize each diamond before deciding to buy them. 

If you’re shopping online, find a reliable vendor with plenty of high-quality pictures or even videos on their website. When shopping in person, ask the jeweler to see the diamond up close. Looking at the gem from various angles and in different lighting is also a good idea.

Insist on a Grading Report

GIA Diamond with Engagement Rings in Background Afshin Showroom

The average person can’t easily identify inclusions and imperfections on a diamond. Therefore, they may not be able to differentiate different clarity grade stones. This is why you must insist on a grading report when buying a diamond. The document should preferably come from the GIA or the AGS, as these institutions are known for their consistent ratings. Never buy such a valuable stone like a VS1 clarity one without a certificate ensuring you get what you pay for. 

Go for Lower Carat Weight

Mildred Ring 13471 Vintage Diamond Ring Yellow Gold Setting

Surprisingly, a lower carat weight does not necessarily mean that your stone will appear visibly smaller. So, if you’re on a tight budget, a well-chosen diamond won’t ruin the final look of the piece of jewelry. However, a smaller stone also has advantages: inclusions are less visible on such diamonds. Instead of insisting on certain carat weight, stay flexible, and you might find a stone you love.

Mind the Numbers

Lowville Ring 13013

Another way to save money on carat weight is going for fractions. You will hardly see the size difference between a 1.5 and a 1.47-carat or a 1.2 and a 0.97-carat stone. However, these non-standard fraction sizes can considerably lower the gem’s price. Even picking a 1.99-carat stone instead of a 2.00 one can make a difference. With a round cut color K stone, you can save about $400 with this negligible downgrade.

Pick the Right Shape

Bragança Ring 13046 Vintage VS1 Clarity Emerald Cut Diamond Ruby Halo

The VS1 clarity grade is rather forgiving when it comes to diamond shapes, but certain shapes can magnify inclusions and are reserved for top-tier clarity grades. For example, Asscher and emerald cut stones are more prone to showing imperfections. However, this doesn’t mean you should steer clear of them. This beautiful Bragança Ring boldly features a 0.52-carat emerald-cut VS1. 

Purchase Antique Pieces

Clarksville Ring. Circa 1935 (Vintage, Art Deco Era) 13419

When buying diamond jewelry, going for antique pieces can pay off in the long term. These pieces are unique and valuable, so they are highly sought-after. Should the time come to resell the piece, an antique ring or pair of earrings will not only find a new owner more easily, it’ll also pay you back generously.

Get the Best Price Possible

Customer at Estate Diamond Jewelry Examining Vintage Diamond Ring on Finger

Diamond shopping doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, the first price you spot may not be the final price of the piece of jewelry. For instance, shopping off-season might allow you to leverage discounts and coupon codes. You can also try negotiating, and you may be able to save a few hundred dollars.

Guide to Purchasing a VS1 Clarity Diamond Ring

Leyden Ring 13976

VS1 diamonds are one of the most popular choices for an engagement ring. If you’re searching for a ring with a flawless-looking VS1 diamond or looking to set your stone, these tips will help you out.

  • Inspect the diamond to steer clear of surface inclusions.
  • Make sure the metal matches the rest of the jewelry of the wearer.
  • Determine the appropriate diamond size for the wearer.
  • Choose the right setting style for the gem’s cut.
  • Go for a lower color-grade stone with a yellow gold mount to save money.
  • Pick white gold instead of platinum if you prefer a white setting.

Talk to a Diamond Expert

Afshin and Adira with Vintage Earring in Estate Diamond Jewelry Box

A VS1 clarity diamond is a perfect choice for budget-conscious buyers who still want a reasonably high clarity grade. A solid grade for engagement rings, VS1 diamonds will sweep anyone off their feet with their eye-clean brilliance. However, with so many factors influencing their quality and price, choosing the right stone can be tricky. Finding a combination of characteristics that suits you is critical to staying within budget and getting the best value.

Our diamond experts can do the hard lifting for you. Fill out the form below, and we’ll present you with the best options.