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Every person interested in buying a diamond has the same feeling – scared of getting ripped off, wasting money, and getting confused by all the choices.
This feeling is understandable as diamond is one of the best-known and most sought-after gemstones, and we only want the best value for our money. But how do we know if it is?
There are 4 Cs that you need to consider when buying a diamond. One of the Cs is Clarity. Clarity is the quality of a diamond that conveys the existence and visual appearance of a diamond’s core characteristics called inclusions and surface defects or blemishes.
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What is SI1 Clarity Grade?
Clarity is what you may also often hear referred to as “purity” or “quality” in the diamond trade. Diamonds with flawless clarity are scarce since most of them will have microscopic inclusions or blemishes.
Since these stones form naturally in the earth for over a million years, other bits and pieces can go trapped in them during their formation. Yet, in most cases, the changes have a negative effect on the diamond – black and white crystals, pits, and cracks.
Clarity has a grading system that has different grades. One of which is SI, which means Slightly Included. Here’s a list of different diamond clarity grades to give you a brief idea:
- Flawless – FL
- Internally Flawless – IF
- Very Very Small Inclusions First Degree – VVS1
- Very Very Small Inclusions Second Degree – VVS2
- Very Small Inclusions First Degree – VS1
- Very Small Inclusions – Second Degree – VS2
- Small Inclusions First Degree – SI1
- Small Inclusions Second Degree – SI2
- Inclusions First Degree – I1
- Inclusions Second Degree – I2
Slightly Included means diamonds in this category have noticeable inclusions that are easy to see when viewed under 10x magnification. SI is split into two grades; SI1 and SI2. SI1 denotes a higher clarity grade than SI2. One that may or may not be noticeable to the naked eye.
Is SI1 Clarity Grade Eye Clean and Good Enough?
Amongst all the diamond clarity grades, SI1 has to be the most controversial. Some claim it has many visible inclusions with your naked eye, while others express they are eye-clean grade. There are many this and that when it comes to this clarity grade.
The diamond clarity SI1 has since been the most adopted diamond clarity grade in recent times. But, if you fundamentally took time to understand this clarity category, you will realize that they are also established to have clarity blemishes.
Blemishes don’t automatically mean noticeable inclusions. Even with visible inclusions, they can still be hidden by the setting and don’t affect the light reflection at all. This is why it is even more challenging for some people to tell if the SI1 diamond is the right choice since there is practically no one rule for diamonds in this clarity grade.
As the clarity levels of diamonds are the eminent basis of its aesthetic value and beauty as a whole, buying diamonds with SI1 clarity category becomes a valid question of worthiness.
A prospective diamond buyer must understand the facts to inform and guide them with their diamond buying decisions.
SI1 Clarity Grade Getting Big Attention
Most diamond experts and jewelers would simply tell you that the best diamonds are flawless (FL) and internally flawless (IF). These diamonds are graded with no inclusions at all. However, they may not be willing to state that there are good diamond clarity alternatives.
For instance, James Allen $30K Internally Flawless TrueHearts diamond is double the price of the same characteristics of its VS2 ring.
The diamond link will let you see it under 360 HD images with 40X superzoom, and you won’t be able to detect any inclusion. Having said that, it can be confirmed it is what flawless means. But, it does not denote that you have to go to that level to get a clean diamond.
In that sense, you will realize just how SI1 became one of the most adopted diamond clarity grades in recent years. The most important thing you need to understand about this clarity grade is that they are confirmed to have clarity blemishes.
How To Find an Eye Clean SI1 Clarity Diamond
The thing about buying diamonds based on clarity levels is that you cannot always tell for sure if what you are buying is, in fact, what is stated in the specifications. Fraudulent sellers on the diamond ornament market are everywhere, and they can confidently claim them to be what they are not.
Guaranteeing An Eye-Clean SI1 Diamond
You can ensure a diamond is eye-clean SI1 by looking for a magnified image and certificate. Don’t merely look at the diamond from a 50 cm distance and conclude it is eye-clean. Get closer and try to look meticulously to determine its cleanness.
GIA certificates for diamonds with +1 carat have a section for clarity characteristics (or clarity plots) that is quite handy when you can’t tell any inclusions. This section, for most certificates, looks like this.
After checking the certificate’s inclusions locations, you should know where to look for them with your eyes on the diamond itself. If you can’t, that means it is a 99% eye-clean SI1 diamond.
This is the reason most experts recommend that you look at GIA certificates first.
Online stores like James Allen and Whiteflash have 360 HD images for their diamonds that you can rotate and zoom in 20x or sometimes even up to 40x if with superzoom technology.
Note that, in about 90% of cases, most inclusions will be visible on the diamond, but keep in mind that you are inspecting a magnified image. To get the more realistic feel, zoom out until you feel you have reached the diamond size. This method should give you a better look for any inclusions if any.
Where To Get Eye-Clean SI1 Diamonds
While it is wise to get quality diamonds from your trusted jewelers and lapidarist, fine jewelry stores with big names like Blue Nile, Whiteflash, and James Allen gives you a glimpse of the stones with their 360 degrees zoomed view for their diamonds.
This new technology in online shopping allows you to see all the in-house diamonds of these online stores. Nothing assures you more than getting what you are seeing.
When Are SI1 Of The Best Value
Diamonds, in general, give you the best value for your money. But, if you are looking to get that for SI1 diamonds, you can still do so in a few scenarios. Here is a list of shapes that will get you an eye-clean diamond at the SI1 clarity grade:
- Round Cut or Princess Cut – the larger the diamond, the more visible the inclusions are.
- Oval-Cut, Cushion Cut, Radiant Cut, Marquise, and Pear Shapes – these cuts hide inclusions better than other shapes.
- Heart-Shaped – hides inclusions better than round but not as well as a cushion or oval cut.
- Not Asscher Cuts, Emerald Cuts, and Baguettes – step cut diamonds make imperfections appear more straightforward.
Buying Guide for SI1 Diamonds
There are hundreds of SI1 diamonds to choose from, that shopping for one becomes a tedious task. From these tons of choices, how do you know which SI1 diamond to pick? Our experts share these tips:
Inspect to make sure the diamond is eye-clean.
The most crucial part of examining any diamond’s clarity is to check to see if it is eye-clean. Look at the diamond thoroughly through high-tech online imagery. See if there are any imperfections on the stone. If you can’t see any, then it is eye-clean.
On the other hand, if you see flaws, it will still depend on the location and size. If the seller can’t present good photos, choose one that does.
Examine the clarity plot.
1-carat diamonds or larger comes with clarity characteristics or clarity plot on their certificates as their lab report. In this report, you will see the inclusions exactly where and what type they are.
Check where the inclusions are.
One trick to get a near eye-clean SI1 diamonds is to find one whose inclusions are spread out. These blend reasonably well into the rest of the diamond or may get covered by the ring settings or prongs.
If, even under a magnified view, you still can’t see the inclusions, take a look at the clarity plot on the GIA certificate. This image will tell you the location and the type of clarity features the diamond has.
Look for faint imperfections.
The increasingly prominent inclusions are the dark crystals underneath the table. They may look like dust specks that you can’t shake and release to get rid of. A cluster of tiny dots or cloud inclusions can make the diamond look hazy. Thus, called cloud inclusions.
A small crack is called a feather. It impacts the light reflection but not as much as when it is located near the bottom of the diamond’s culet. Tiny, insignificant, and faint blemishes aren’t as visible as the dark ones.
As a rule in clarity grading, smaller and faint-colored flaws don’t impact as much as large or darker ones.
Know your shapes and cuts.
Diamond shapes can hide inclusions reasonably well, but not all. Check out the list included in the section “When Are SI1 Of The Best Value” to get a guide on diamond shapes.
Obtain A Reliable Certificate
The most reliable lab entities in the diamond industry are GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and AGS (American Gem Society). Their consistent grading makes you trust the SI1 diamond that came from these labs.
Other entities like EGL (European Gemological Laboratory) or IGI (International Gemological Institute)’s SI1 diamonds won’t mean much since they grade inconsistently. At times, their SI1 diamond may actually be SI2 or I1.
Ask the Gemologist.
As with most things you purchase, you want assurance that what you are getting is the right choice. Respected diamond sellers will let you chat with diamond experts. Jewelry stores also have a gemologist on staff if you need clarifications when buying a stone in person. Some of the questions that are wise to ask are:
- Is the diamond eye-clean?
- Are there inclusions near the surface?
- If there are inclusions, are they likely to cause the diamond to break or chip?
- Can prongs hide the inclusions present?
It all boils down to one thing – are SI1 diamonds good enough?
All things considered, eye-clean diamonds are good to buy. Most SI1 clarity grade diamonds are eye-clean, so you just need to guarantee that imperfections, if there are any, are not beneath the diamond table.
SI1 diamonds are worthy and can give you the best value if you take the time to look for an eye-clean stone. Instead of paying a rock with a higher-clarity grade, get an eye-clean diamond at a lesser price. An eye-clean SI1 diamond will still be good-looking, and only a professional jeweler with a loupe knows it is what it is.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: What if the SI1 diamond is graded by a lab that is not GIA, AGS, EGL, or IGI?
A: Diamonds graded by other companies are often graded at the very least 2 or 3 grades higher than GIA, AGS, or EGL. This means that if other parties grade your diamond, the SI1 clarity will most likely show as SI2, I1, or possibly an I2 diamond. There is also a good chance that it will depict inclusions to the naked eye.
You may have an eye-clean diamond graded by lenient diamond grading companies, but be sure to check clarity charts to give you an idea of what you need to find and where you are supposed to find it.