The Ultimate Guide to VS2 Clarity February 8, 2018 – Posted in: Jewelry Blog
Diamonds, of course, can’t be talked about with mention of at least one of the 4Cs coming up. Whether it’s clarity, color, cut or carat, it’s impossible to avoid the subject of stone quality.
Clarity is, as the name suggests, to do with how “clear” any given polished stone is. And clear, in the case of diamonds means free of blemishes and inclusions which might affect the way light is reflected from within the diamond itself.
The Clarity Scale
As with many industries in all sorts of fields, any adopted method or practice will have developed a language of its own. Although largely free of baffling and mysterious acronyms, the diamond trade does employ them when assessing the clarity of a stone.
The scale for grading clarity in a polished diamond ranges from F (Flawless) to I3 (Included Level 3). As might be expected, what is graded F will be significantly more expensive than that graded I3. Assuming all other things are equal, the value of diamonds actually drops quite sharply as we go down the clarity scale.
F -> IF -> VVS1 -> VVS2 -> VS1 -> VS2 -> SI1 -> SI2 -> I1 -> I2 -> I3
There are nominally 5 sections on the scale, each then split into sub-sections. The first is Flawless (F) and Internally Flawless (IF). The next is Very Very Slightly Included (VVS). This is followed by Very Slightly Included (VS) and Slightly Included (SI). The final section is Included (I), the cheapest section.
Because all diamonds are graded using a 10x loupe, or magnifying glass, the definition of flawless to a jeweler will be different to that of you or I. What can be seen under 10x magnification is not what can be seen with the naked eye. In fact, you need to get halfway down the scale before seeing most flaws in a diamond.
So Why Buy Flawless Diamonds?
Diamonds are all about light. The way light goes in and is reflected back out is what gives a diamond its trademark sparkle. The more flaws and blemishes in a diamond, the less it sparkles. It doesn’t matter whether you can see those flaws or not, they will affect how the diamond presents the light back to the eye.
But, as mentioned above, flawless diamonds are expensive, often prohibitively so. So what are the alternatives?
What The Eye Doesn’t See…
Okay, so any diamond that isn’t flawless may not sparkle as much as one that is, but that doesn’t mean they are not desirable. The actual loss of light from a non-flawless diamond often isn’t enough to be noticeable. In most cases, it would take a very close, side by side examination to even begin to see a difference.
So why buy flawless at all? It makes for an interesting circular debate, there’s no doubt.
As with anything, if you can afford the very best, consider buying it. If you can’t, then there are more than acceptable alternatives, and diamonds are no different.
Where VS2 Clarity Fits In
VS2 clarity (Very Slightly Included Level 2) is probably the last grade at which a diamond will appear to be eye-flawless.
Beyond that, as you get into the Slightly Included (SI) grades, it might be possible to see inclusions without magnification. It doesn’t mean there aren’t inclusions in VS2. It’s just that you will need a 10x loupe to see them.
Of course, there aren’t too many people walking around with any kind of magnifying device in their pocket examining diamonds. The fact that a VS2 diamond will almost certainly appear inclusion-free to the naked eye is important for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, if you can’t see it, assuming you have average eyesight, nobody else will either. Secondly, despite there being no visible difference for most people, the price difference will get your attention.
A flawless 1.50 carat round diamond of color I might cost you around $12,000 in today’s market. A similar color at VS2 grade will be somewhere around $9,000. And yet, as we’ve seen, to all intents and purposes they will appear just about identical to the naked eye.
Get above the 1.50-carat mark and the price differential will be even greater. This is because of the vast majority of polished diamonds under 1.50 carats. The added rarity of diamonds above this size – and certainly above 2ct – means ever steeper pricing.
A flawless diamond is a truly wondrous thing, for its rarity if nothing else. But non-flawless diamonds are every bit as beautiful. Because of the often extreme price differences between F and VS2 stones, flawless examples will be out of the reach of most people’s pockets. VS2 diamonds are amazingly affordable and are among the most common clarity grades in finished ring designs. Indeed, clarity grades from F to VVS2 are quite unusual in finished pieces and are more often included in bespoke pieces made to order.
It can’t be stressed enough that, if you can’t see it, nobody else will. Buying diamonds has no place for snobbery. Apart from the weight, there is little to choose from the very best to the mid-range stones. Even then, there are tricks that cutters use to make smaller stones appear larger than they actually are. The bottom line with diamonds, as with most buying experiences, is that you should buy what is right for you. By ignoring VS2 diamonds on the basis that they’re not flawless is both foolish and costly.
It’s not even about being brave. VS2 diamonds are beautiful and deserve your attention.
All the following ring from our collection have VS2 clarity diamonds in vintage or antique settings. Feel free to browse.