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Your dream of giving your partner all the bests in life might be the reason why you ended up scouring a diamond in the Flawless section. Unsurprisingly, you found the most beautiful piece but at an unbelievable price.
A smart shopper would keep on scrolling until he finds one that can fit his budget. In the diamond world, ‘Flawless’ does not automatically equate to ‘Best.’ Unreasonable is even a more fitting term to describe it.
There may not be a cheap diamond, but more affordable options are available. If you prefer a crystal-clear piece with a lower price, a diamond with a VVS1 clarity is the answer. It is the third-highest grade in the clarity chart, and some call it an ‘almost flawless’ stone.
You can find out more about this lovely item through this article.
Table of Contents
The Basics About Clarity and VVS1 Grade
A diamond’s value is not solely anchored to its size. The four main considerations in assessing a diamond’s quality are color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. These make a jewelry piece more expensive than others.
If you find a 1.00-carat diamond with an ideal cut, color D grade, and Flawless clarity, you must not be surprised if its per-carat price reaches the five-digit mark. While all diamonds are expensive, there will always be that one piece that suits your budget and taste.
Color and clarity are your saving graces if you want a premium-looking item without hurting your savings account. Some of their variants look eye-clean and colorless from the wearer’s perspective, even though they do not garner the highest standards.
When it comes to clarity, its scale composes ten degrees that dictate a diamond’s valuation, and they are the following:
- 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
Only an expert from a trusted body can identify to which category does a diamond belongs. The most prominent body that evaluates a diamond’s quality is the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Almost all diamonds have a GIA report, ensuring customers that the stones have undergone a tedious examination.
How Do They Categorize A Diamond Based on Clarity?
Magnification is the key to this process. Diamonds that look eye-clean are initially labeled as Flawless. Those items that visibly look dull fall to the least category (Inclusions) and most jewelers do not sell these pieces since they are less valuable.
Gemologists closely examine a diamond by magnifying it 10x. At this stage, blemishes like white and black crystals, natural dents, knots, and needles may appear in various sizes. Some are in the table area, while others only settle at the bottom. Those falling in the VS and SI categories are identified here.
If they still look flawless, experts will zoom it further to 63x magnification. Once pinpoint and feathers appear at this level, they automatically fall to the Very Very Small Inclusions group. They are tagged as almost flawless since their blemishes are only microscopic. If the diamond still lacks imperfections in this final stage, it can either be an IF or FL diamond.
The VVS category is further divided into two groups: VVS1 and VVS2. Their difference lies in the placement of the imperfections. If they are in the table area, they tag the diamond as VVS2. If they are only at the pavilion and bottom parts, it is a VVS1 piece.
The latter only takes 1% of the entire diamond population. Thus, you should expect it to be more expensive than those falling in the VS and SI categories. Investors are even fond of diamonds falling to this group because they are as valuable as those in the IF and FL sections.
VVSS1 vs. Other Clarity Ratings
The kind of sparkle that diamonds with a VVS1 clarity is unparalleled by other gemstones. They have an outstanding fire and brilliance that makes a colorless diamond appear immaculately translucent. In this section, we shall compare VVS1 from the other significant scales in the clarity chart for you to better understand our point.
We said earlier that the Very Very Small Inclusions group has two variants. Both stones illuminate the same sparkle in a natural setting, but experts give more value to VVS1 since it is the closest to the flawless categories. Below are two Blue Nile pieces falling to the VVS grades.
These are magnified images of 1.00-carat round diamonds with the same cut and color quality. Since our focus is on clarity, the primary concern should be the blemishes found on them.
Can you spot any needles, knots, crystals, and other blemishes on their table areas? If you cannot, that is the main reason why they both fall to the VVS group.
While the one on the right (VVS2) looks more pigmented, clarity does not have anything to do with it. However, it affects the stone’s cloudy appearance, making it less valuable than the left (VVS1).
Apart from VVS2, VVS1 is also compared to flawless diamonds since jewelers claim that it looks as good as the pure stones. Here we have two round diamonds with 2.30-carat weight, ideal cut, and color H grade. Apart from their clarity grade, they highly differ in price, too. The FL diamond on the right costs around $30,000, and the VVS1 is only $24,000.
The lighting may affect the diamonds’ appearances, but they almost look identical. Imperfections are nowhere seen, even when you observe their 360-degree rotating image on Blue Nile’s website.
These diamonds prove that a VVS1 diamond can rock the same elegance that an FL stone has. It may not be the least expensive, but it is the closest to the purest pieces.
However, other eye-clean variants that are way more affordable than VVS1 are also available. Its counterparts in the lower categories are the VS1 and SI2. Suppose a diamond’s facet hides blemishes well, like round-cut, going for a more expensive price is impractical. That is why some jewelers suggest settling with SI1 pieces.
The three items above are VVS1, VS1, and SI1 diamonds, respectively. They look similar from afar, but a close examination will allow you to detect the noticeable blemishes of VS1 and SI1. The black spots on the latter are even more apparent.
If you are savvy with prices, the 1.00-carat VVS1 diamond costs $6,000 while the VS1 and SI1 cost $5,000 and $4,000 only.
Your preference for a diamond all boils down to your preference. If you can afford to go for a diamond with a higher grade, the best option is a piece with a VVS1 grade. However, if your budget is tight, you will get the same premium appearance from items that fall to the lower scales.
Tips in Keeping a VVS1 Diamond’s Price Within Your Budget
If you want to make the most out of your budget, finding the right features is essential. Some diamond varieties hide colors and blemishes well, while others do not. Since the imperfections in VVS grade are microscopic, you can purchase any shapes without worrying if a crystal or a dent appears from nowhere.
However, this scale comes with a more expensive price than others. If you are convinced about getting an item with this quality, you should learn how to downplay the other qualities. It is one way to keep its price within an acceptable range relative to your budget.
Purchasing a diamond may raise the anxiety level of first-time buyers. Here are some tips when buying a diamond with a VVS1 grade.
#1. VVS1 Is Better With Larger-Looking Stones
There should be a reason why you prefer those with a VVS1 quality over others. One of them might be your partner’s affection for more brilliant items. Thus, you do not want your engagement ring to fall behind her other accessories.
We highly recommend that you choose larger-looking diamonds if that is the case. A 1.00-carat oval-shaped diamond appears larger than a round one because of its elongated appearance. The stone’s larger table area emphasizes its facets better, allowing it to illuminate more brilliance.
You can add other larger-looking shapes to your choices: emerald-cuts, pear-cuts, radiant-cut, marquise-cuts, and Asscher-cuts.
#2. You Can Go Lower in the Color Chart
Picking a diamond with a higher clarity grade will not require you to choose the most colorless piece. Like clarity, a diamond’s color also follows a certain scale, and color D is equivalent to the Flawless grade.
For the best value, most jewelers suggest that the safest color threshold is color H. It still has some colored pigments, but they look clean and colorless with the naked eye if it is not magnified. The existence of dents may also affect its cloudy appearance. Thus, it is best to pair it with a VVS1 clarity grade.
The images you saw in the earlier part of this article all have a color H grade. They look stunning and spotless, although some have more pigmented façade than others. Besides, going lower in the color department can offset the clarity’s equivalent price, letting you save more for other important matters.
#3. Find the Right Metal Band and Setting
Apart from the diamond’s main features, the metal band and setting also affect the ring’s overall appearance. Metal bands can be yellow gold, white gold, platinum, and silver. Diamonds with a VVS2 clarity grade are suitable for any of these bands, as long as the color grade is near colorless to colorless qualities.
The most common band is white gold because they are less expensive and more durable. While platinum has stronger and long-lasting elements than white gold, it might increase the ring’s price by a significant amount. On the flip side, yellow gold bands are softer and more malleable because of their pure gold composition.
When it comes to settings, the diamond’s shape must be your top priority in picking its frame. Since we suggested larger-looking diamonds for VVS1, most of them have fragile and pointed tips that require more protection. Prong and bezel settings are the safest options for these diamonds.
Moreover, picking a design that involves additional side-stones on the ring’s shanks also raises its price.
#4. Step-Cut Diamonds Go Well With VVS1
Some step-cut diamonds are less expensive than round ones because they have lesser wastage from their origin stones. However, these pieces do not retain colors well and reveal more blemishes because of their parallel facets. A perfect example of this variety is emerald-cut diamonds.
However, going for a VVS1 clarity will make these worries less concerning. You will enjoy their fire and brilliance as much as you like it in more conventional shapes, such as round and princess-cuts. VS1 and SI1 imperfections are more visible in these shapes.
These tips are some of the ways to help you manage your expenses for an engagement ring, wedding ring, or fashion ring. Indeed, you can still purchase a flawless item without going overboard your budget. All it takes is to be wiser with your decision and more patient searching for the right piece.
The clarity in Colored Diamonds
When buying diamonds, it is best if you go away with stones that have prominent yellow pigments. That is why colorless diamonds are more valuable than near-colorless ones. However, other diamonds have dominant hues that make them look brilliant and premium.
This phenomenon happens when defects occur during the diamond’s growth. Some other elements enter its lattice and bond with its main component, carbon.
A vivid yellow diamond is a primary example of this occurrence. Nitrogen has a greater number of electrons than carbon. When they bond, the free electrons capture certain earth colors that mix with the diamond, resulting in its unique appearance.
Other elements like Boron and Copper make the stone appear blue and red. A rarer and more mysterious process happens in pink and purple diamonds, to which experts still find explanation until today.
Sometimes, overtone exists in a diamond, too. These secondary colors may upgrade or downgrade a stone’s quality. For example, a brownish-yellow stone is less valuable than bluish pink and purple-red variants.
Like colorless diamonds, the GIA also grades the colored ones based on the 4Cs. Experts give higher regard to color when rating a colored diamond. Those with more vivid and complex shades are worthier than others. Proportions and symmetry come next since a diamond’s brilliance rely on the excellence of its cut.
Clarity is the least priority in colored diamonds because color makes imperfections less visible. Thus, going for a higher grade in the clarity chart is pointless. Those with SI and VS ratings have greater value for money as long as the color grade falls to the Fancy classification or higher.
On the flip side, investors will love a colored diamond with a VVS quality. They are extremely rare pieces, indicating that they have an exceptional worth in the diamond world. Only less than 1% of the precious stones out there have this quality.
The Verdict: Is VVS1 Worth the Price?
We cannot fully agree that VVS1 diamonds are the most reasonable picks in the market.
Stones falling to the VVS category are expensive to people with a fixed budget, especially if they opt to go for those with heavier carat weights. As VVS1 ranks third highest in the clarity chart, it also means that its worth is at an all-time high.
However, this piece is perfect for those collecting rare items since less than 5% of the total diamond population have this quality. It also makes this piece an excellent investment.
Another thing that makes this quality better than the rest is the absence of imperfections on any shapes. Step-cut diamonds reveal blemishes better than round and other curvy variants. However, if you go higher in the clarity grade, you will never notice its dents, needles, and knots.
If you can afford to buy a diamond with a VVS1 quality, no one will stop you. Most people who are fond of colorless diamonds will always go for an item with FL and IF qualities. However, smart shoppers know better. That is why they stick with VVS, VS, or SI grades.
While colored diamonds have a different story regarding clarity, it is essential for pieces with fainter colors.
Purists and perfectionists will feel happy once this item lands on their jewelry boxes. However, other options are still available if you want to save more. You can check on diamonds with VS clarity as an alternative option with the same eye-clean feature.