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Most people believe that diamonds should look crystal clear and sparkling as marketed in the mainstream media. Thus, they would typically go for a piece with a translucent quality, not minding the expensive price that comes with it.
A smart buyer would not fall to this scheme because diamonds do not have uniform qualities, and they vary from one stone to another. That is why you must learn how to scrutinize each of its characteristics. There are four words in the diamond world that you must always remember: Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat Weight.
Among the four, clarity is the most confusing concept because you have more terms to remember. However, one scale stands out from the rest, and that is the VS1 rating.
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The Basics About VS1 Clarity
How much do you understand about clarity in diamonds? Clarity is the visibility of imperfections within and outside a diamond during its natural growth. Some are noticeable, while others do not have them. Like colors, clarity is an indicator of a diamond’s price. Thus, a GIA report is not complete without this information.
As we said earlier, most people adore diamonds that are blemish-free. However, this quality also comes with a price that can be unbelievable to many. Clarity rating has ten terms that you must keep in mind always. The following are:
- Flawless – FL
- Internally Flawless – IF
- Very Very Small Inclusions 1 – VVS1
- Very Very Small Inclusions 2 – VVS2
- Very Small Inclusions 1 – VS1
- Very Small Inclusions 2 – VS2
- Small Inclusions 1 – SI1
- Small Inclusions 2 – SI2
- Inclusions 1 – I1
- Inclusions 2 – I2
These terms might overwhelm you, especially that they almost have the same use of words. Their main difference lies in the number of inclusions found in a diamond. Imperfections are inevitable since diamonds are formed in the earth’s mantle under 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit. If you find one with the least number of blemishes, that is indeed a rare find.
That is why those with Flawless and Internally Flawless qualities have the most expensive prices relative to their cut, color, and carat weight. FL is the highest rating, which indicates that a diamond has crystal clear features within and outside its walls.
However, not everyone can afford to spend more than $100,000 on a diamond. Thus, FL and IF are also the most impractical grades. If you are one of the many looking for a piece with a reasonable price and flawless-looking quality, the safest threshold for you is those falling in the Very Small Inclusions category.
VS1 inclusions are barely visible to the naked eye. Even expert gemologists find it difficult to identify the stone’s flaws when magnified 10x. It will still take them a few seconds to notice the inclusions, especially if the diamond has a smaller size and carat weight.
If you want an eye-clean diamond, a VS1 clarity rating is the best choice for you because its price is way lower than those with FL and IF qualities. In the end, they will still look the same from your perspective. Eye-cleanliness is the paramount concern of many clients, and you will already gain that character with a VS1 diamond.
VS1 vs. Other Clarity Scales
Two scales are falling to the Very Small Inclusions category, namely VS1 and VS2. Among all the diamonds in the market, only 20% have VS2 and above ratings, making them more valuable than the Small Inclusions and Inclusion group. Both grades in the VS category look eye-clean from a wearer’s perspective, but they still have some significant differences.
Generally, VS1 has a higher grade than VS2. It represents 5% of the top-quality diamonds in the market. When magnifying it 10x, inclusions such as white and black crystals, feathers, knots, needles, and dents may surface. However, these are not detectable in natural circumstances regardless of the diamond’s carat weight.
On the flip side, VS2 grades have eye-visible inclusions, especially in more than 1.00-carat diamonds. If you prefer a larger stone, it is best to settle with VS1 because it costs 20% less than VVS1 and VVS2. However, it does cost more than the other grade in the same category.
Below are two round-shaped diamonds with ideal cuts and color H qualities from Blue Nile. They both weigh more than a carat. The one on the left has a VS1 grade, and the other has a VS2 grade.
From this face-up perspective, their differences are immediately visible. The VS1 diamond looks clearer, whiter, and more polished than its counterpart. Both images are magnified 10x, and you will see that VS2’s black crystals are more prominent than VS1. It also looks hazier and more pigmented.
The other scale close to VS1 is those falling in the Very Very Small Inclusion group. Below are Blue Nile’s top-selling examples of VS1, VVS1, and IF diamonds, respectively.
They all look almost the same, except that VVS1 diamond’s pigments are more flagrant despite having the same color grade. With a 1.00-carat weight, the VS1 piece only costs around $5000 while the higher grades have more than $6000.
VS1 is more reasonable than VS2 because their difference is not too significant when it comes to pricing. If you are into diamonds with more open facets like a princess, cushion, and emerald, VS1 is a more advisable quality to get these stones’ maximum brilliance.
Examples of Less Desirable VS1 Diamonds
Not all VS1 diamonds have outstanding qualities. Their eye-clean quality is not a guarantee, especially if they have poor symmetries and lower color grades. Thus, it is essential to talk to an expert before checking out a diamond.
This James Allen 4.02-carat princess-cut diamond is not as appealing as you would expect it to be because of the black shadow’s prominence. Its selling price is $50,000, and it has a VS1 clarity rating. If you look closely, you will notice some spots at the center and on each diamond side.
Its real-life brilliance looks darker than other top-selling diamonds, making it less impressive.
You will observe the same thing in this oval-cut diamond. This shape is known for having a bowtie effect at the center that is quite distracting to some customers. Apart from the shadows, you can also easily detect the dents on its sides.
Due to their facets’ mediocre arrangement, these diamonds are not worthy of their prices despite having higher clarity grades. Please keep in mind that step-cut diamonds show blemishes the clearest. Thus, you must be extra careful when picking an emerald-cut or Asscher-cut diamonds.
If possible, choose a diamond whose inclusions are not on the center because masking them is not difficult with a prong setting.
Best Cuts for VS1 Clarity
Like in color grades, the cut is also a significant factor when choosing a diamond based on its clarity. Some diamond shapes show flaws more than others, especially those with larger and more open table area. If you want to enjoy the most out of a diamond’s price, pick a cut that hides colors and blemishes well.
#1. Round-Cut Diamonds
64% of diamond buyers go after this cut, making it the most popular diamond variety. You will always find this piece in engagement rings, wedding rings, and fashion accessories. Apart from its fire and brilliance, a round-cut diamond’s facets have a reputation for covering its imperfections perfectly.
It has a superior light return quality, leaving fewer rooms for shadows to appear at the center. Its crushed ice glow can overpower any dents found in a VS1 diamond, no matter how prominent or small they are. All you will notice is the eye-clean quality that makes it shine better.
This James Allen diamond is a prime example of a round-cut stone with the perfect symmetries and proportions. It has an ideal cut with a color F and VS1 grades that add to its elegant-looking appearance.
#2. Pear-Cut Diamond
This diamond is as bizarre as its name. It may not have the highest demand in the market, but it is one of the top performers when it comes to clarity. Pear-cut diamonds are also known as teardrop-shaped diamonds. It has curved and pointed ends resembling a teardrop formation.
Like its round counterpart, it has a less open table area and a curvy edge that helps hide its flaws. You will love how its unique appearance glows brightly with enough light passing through its features.
However, some diamonds in this variety have poorly cut dimensions, making them less favorable to many clients. You will know if it has an excellent proportion when the bowtie effect is less noticeable. Moreover, its tips make the diamond fragile. That is why you need to frame it in a setting that gives extra protection to the stone.
Below is a best-selling pear-cut diamond from Blue Nile. It has a near-colorless quality and a VS1 grade. Its appearance is as brilliant as those with color D and FL qualities, but it only costs around $5000 for a 1.00-carat weight.
#3. Heart-Shaped Diamonds
Diamonds and hearts are two symbols of love and commitment. Combining the two on an engagement ring signifies the extent of your feelings towards someone. More than these meanings, heart-shaped diamonds rank third among the best cuts for a VS1 quality.
It is like combining two pear-shaped diamonds to create this unique item. Gem cutters do not favor this piece because it takes a lot of time and effort to perfect its shape. The sides must be identical to each other so that it will produce a mirroring effect. It also generates the most wastage from a raw and rough diamond.
The complexity of its creation makes it one of the most valuable and rarest diamond variety. Most heart-shaped diamonds in the market either have lower color grades or clarity rating. Thus, if you find one with the best qualities in all aspects, you can say that it is a true and exceptional find.
Here is a James Allen piece that will best represent what you must be looking for in a heart-shaped diamond.
Pros and Cons of VS1 Clarity
This section shall sum up the positive and negative things you will get from a diamond with a VS1 clarity rating. Knowing these points will make you an informed and smart buyer. Preferences and priorities are subjective from one person to another, and a diamond’s worth depends on what you do and does not get from it.
#1. Fair Price
More people seek diamonds that are not too expensive. James Allen and Blue Nile are popular brands that offer diamonds with premium quality and reasonable prices. With all else equal, a VS1 diamond is neither too expensive nor too affordable. It lies in between, making it a fair option for people who opts for a superior item.
Most diamonds with a 1.00-carat weight in this scale runs around $4000 to $5000. Going up in the level would increase it to a minimum of $10,000 with the same flawless-looking piece. Thus, diamonds with VS1 clarity grades are the fairest choices as long as you pick one with the right cut and proportions.
Eye-cleanliness is a term jeweler uses to describe a diamond that looks flawless in the naked eye. It is typically the paramount concern of customers, so they prefer those with higher quality ratings. However, you do not need to settle with more expensive pieces if you can have an eye-clean diamond at a lower price.
Most VS1 diamonds are eye-clean, even those with larger sizes. It is unnecessary to spend more on a luxurious item that you can buy for less if you are more observant of their qualities.
#3. Number of Selections
Unlike FL, IF, and VVS diamonds, diamonds with VS clarity have many selections. Since the demand here is higher, jewelry shops tend to make diamonds falling into this category more available in the market. However, its supply is still lower than SI and I diamonds.
#1. Not Entirely Flawless
As its name suggests, VS1 diamonds still have flaws. In the earlier part of this article, we mentioned that some diamonds in this category have less appealing appearances because of their poor symmetries. Thus, blemishes look prominent and detectable.
When buying a diamond, the best thing to do is magnifying their images up to 20x. James Allen even allows you to magnify it up to 40x. It is a way to ensure if the stone’s flaws are visible or not.
#2. Not a Good Investment
For people who buy diamonds as an investment, this may not be the best piece for you. FL and IF are the rarest and most expensive items based on clarity rating. Thus, it might be best for you to settle with these items instead of those in the lower ranks.
Again, VS1’s average price runs around the four-digit range. You can go higher on the scale for a more valuable item.
#3. Not the Least Expensive
VS diamonds are not the safest threshold when we talk about value. Most jewelers suggest SI diamonds for the best price. While their blemishes are more visible using a jeweler’s loupe, they still look as eye-clean as VS diamonds. Setting them in the right frame will improve their appearance, giving you a sparkling clean jewelry piece.
With all this information, the choice is now yours to make. If you find the benefits more convincing than the drawbacks, go on and search for a VS1 diamond.
The Verdict: Is Buying a VS1 Diamond Worth It?
It all boils down to your preference and budget. Since VS1 diamonds are not the least expensive items, you may find it unreasonable if your priority is an eye-clean piece. VS2 and SI diamonds look well-polished in the naked eye, too, but they have less expensive prices.
However, if you love larger-looking diamonds with more open table areas, it is best to prefer an item with a VS1 clarity grade. The blemishes are still there, but they are less dominant than those falling in the lower categories.
As you have seen in this article, VS1 diamonds illuminate the same glow as those in the VVS, FL, and IF categories. Thus, choosing the former as the main stone of your engagement ring is the wisest thing you will ever do.
A VS1 diamond is worth the price if you have enough funds to pay for it. However, you can still go one level lower if it does not fit your budget.