As you may know, VS1 clarity is one of the best levels of clarity. That sounds promising, but can you actually see the inclusions of a VS1 diamond?
The quick answer is no, or at least you shouldn’t. Tiny imperfections within the diamond would be difficult to see with the naked eye. You would need a really strong magnifying glass to see them.
However, this is far from the only thing that makes VS1 diamonds attractive. The following details the properties, benefits, and approximate prices of this clarity of diamonds. Here are some examples and shopping tips.
VS1 Clarity – Basic Properties
First of all, you need to understand what diamond clarity is. It is one of the 4Cs of diamonds and in this case the clarity refers to the presence or absence of inclusions and imperfections.
VS1 is short for Very Slightly Included 1. As mentioned earlier, this means that the diamond is not flawless, but it is not as if the inclusions jump straight onto someone looking at the stone.
To put things in perspective, all GIA (Gemological Institute of America) experts would need to be trained to recognize VS1, VS2, VVS1, and other categories of GIA experts. This is because it can be very difficult to consistently rate diamonds, which is related to the fact that the inclusions can vary widely.
Some inclusions are almost always inevitable and only a small percentage of the diamonds are FL (Flawless). This is due to the formation of natural diamonds in the earth’s crust.
In particular, diamonds grow between 80 and 120 miles in the earth’s mantle. Extreme heat and pressure push the carbon content to form very tough and beautiful stones. Scientists estimate that it could take up to three billion years for diamonds to become diamonds, very few of which would emerge in absolutely pristine condition.
The GIA is the agency that set the clarity scale for eleven classes (I3 to FL), and VS1 is at the top tier. It’s worth noting that even if you used the magnification it would be difficult for you to see the imperfections, especially with smaller diamonds (2.00 carats or less).
But if you really want to see them, you can grab a jeweler’s loupe (10x magnification) and look inside the diamond. With the whole stone in focus, you may need to give your eyes a few more seconds to see the flaws.
Not all inclusions are created equal, as they differ in size, type, number, location and relief.
The greater the imperfection, the lower the grade, and to get VS1 the inclusions would have to be small. The type is determined by the type of imperfections and inclusions deep in the diamond that are common in VS1 gemstones.
For example, VS1 diamonds can be trapped in a tiny mineral mark during their long formation. However, if the imperfection does not enter the stone, it is a blemish and not an inclusion. These are not common with VS1 diamonds as long as they have been expertly cut.
Only a few inclusions are allowed with VS1 stones (usually in the direction of the belt). This brings us to the place where the closer they are to the center table, the lower the grade. This is because the inclusions are much harder to notice when you are closer to your belt.
As an aside, any inclusions near a diamond’s pavilions are reflective. This means that the facets behave like mirrors and reflect the inclusions.
And then there are diamonds with the same clarity and weight, but different inclusion locations. If the remaining 4Cs match, you can expect the diamond with less noticeable inclusions (near the belt) to be about 5% more expensive.
Finally, the relief indicates the degree of inclusions compared to the host diamond. Without going into detail, a higher relief could make the diamond appear darker and lower the grade. Again, there is little to no relief with VS1 diamonds.
Be aware that certain characteristics of clarity can be obscured somewhat by the facet arrangement, shape, and diamond proportions. A skilled jeweler would know how to mask them with the surroundings and the sub-gallery.
What is an “Eye-Clean” VS1 Diamond?
It’s a diamond that appears flawless to the naked eye, except that it’s not as easy to find as you might think.
As I said, the heavier the stone, the more noticeable the imperfections become. And the location of the imperfections is just as important as the cut.
For example, diamond, emerald, and Asscher cuts have step cuts. This means that they are square or rectangular and can have many parallel facets. The disadvantage is that the facets emphasize the inclusions and make them easier to see.
After that there is also the color of the inclusions and the quality of the cut. The best cuts, regardless of shape, have optimal light output and can hide the inclusions. And VS1 diamonds have inclusions that are usually colorless, but this depends on the diamond’s color grading.
In addition, the inclusions can be easily seen under certain lighting and eye angles.
The bottom line is that you should look inside the diamond at different angles and, if possible, under different lighting conditions.
What are the prices for VS1 diamonds?
It’s difficult to determine the price based on clarity alone. As you know, the weight, color, and cut of a diamond add to the value of VS1 stones, which can be very expensive.
For example, a 1.00 carat VS1 clarity and D color (colorless) diamond can set you back more than $ 11,100. See below.
If you’re looking for a slightly less expensive VS1, you’ll have to settle for a smaller diamond or a less desirable color. Typically, you will save about $ 1,000 on this clarity bracket by lowering the color grading. Therefore, an E color diamond costs approximately $ 11,000, an F color less than $ 10,000, and so on. This of course assumes the same weight.
Price list for VS1 diamonds
This price chart was last updated on July 21, 2020. The diagram applies to round brilliant cut diamonds with a good cut.
|Diamond size||Diamond price|
|D color||1.00 carat||$ 11,100|
|E color||1.00 carat||$ 10,100|
|F color||1.00 carat||$ 9,400|
|G color||1.00 carat||$ 8,400|
|H color||1.00 carat||$ 7,400|
|I color||1.00 carat||$ 6,300|
|J color||1.00 carat||$ 5,500|
|K color||1.00 carat||$ 4,400|
|L color||1.00 carat||$ 4,000|
Diamonds with a non-standard weight such as 0.5 to 0.75 carats are usually cheaper. And there are also less expensive cuts.
Ultimately, the goal is to find a good balance of all 4Cs.
How do I buy a VS1 Clarity Diamond?
Regardless of whether you buy your engagement ring online or in person, you will need to request a certificate, preferably from the GIA. If this is not available, AGS, EGL, UGL, and IGI certificates can be good alternatives.
When shopping at a jewelry store, ask to see the stone up close. The jeweler in attendance may even offer a microscope or magnifying glass that you can use for a thorough inspection. By now you should know enough to know what and where to look.
Buying diamonds online is more difficult unless the website uses high resolution images of the stone. Even then, you may have to zoom in on the picture significantly to see what is happening. Here you can rest assured with the certificates in this regard.
Examples of VS1 diamond rings from the Estate Diamond Collection
1. Northbrook Ring
If you question the Wow Factory VS1 diamonds, the Northbrook can only prove you wrong. This collectible piece features a 3.56-carat marquise-cut diamond in the color K and VS1 clarity.
The setting is made of platinum and the center stone is set with fine milgrain all around. To round off the design, there are filigree openwork works in the lower gallery.
Given the weight of the diamond and other 4Cs, this piece is actually great value for money. And you can rely on the marquise cut to do a great job of hiding imperfections.
2. Evanston Ring
Are you looking for a vintage diamond ring with a bold setting?
The Evanston is made of platinum and dates from 1950. This comes with a GIA certificate. It is rated 1.06 carats, VS1 clarity, and K color. The auxiliary diamonds could steal the show on this piece, however.
Directly below the center stone are three rows of transitional cut diamonds set from east to west. These add 1.66 carats of diamonds to the total.
3. Scottsboro Ring
The Scottsboro is a real eye-catcher with its 2.00-carat J-color diamond and subtle floral details. The diamond has a bezel setting and the fine milgrain extends over the shoulders of the ring. The clarity is VS1.
There are additional stones on the shoulders and floral details on the lower gallery. Just like above, the Scottsboro is a handcrafted platinum ring, although it is more modern and shows the style of the Edwardian era.
Is VS1 clear enough?
The most important thing is to pay attention to the stone cut and the location of the inclusions. This is especially true if you are going for a larger diamond. Take the Northbrook ring from this description. It is an excellent example of a heavy duty “eye clean” diamond. And it features a cut that highlights all of the stone’s natural properties.