SI2 Diamonds – Not All Are the Same. Be Careful Here.

For the shoppers looking for better value, SI clarity ranges represent the best grades to purchase diamonds in provided you know what you are doing. While SI2 diamonds contain inclusions that are easily identified under a loupe, you can still find stones that face up eye clean.

So, if you want to maximize your budget with cut and carat weight, the slightly included diamonds can help you achieve that because they are significantly cheaper than stones in higher clarity grades.

collage of slightly included 2 diamonds

No two SI2 diamond looks the same. Click to view larger image…

Technically speaking, the characteristics of the inclusions/blemishes found are similar to those found in a VS stone. Here are some commonly found inclusions within this grading: pinpoints (carbon particles), crystals, clouds, feathers, graining and twinning wisps. The difference lies in the nature of the inclusions such as size, location and density and the “severity” sets the grade for an SI2.

First of all, I want to address some common misconceptions many people have prior to reading this article. Some consumers had been misled by their jewelers into believing that SI diamonds are always eyeclean while some others had been reading misinformation online that SI diamonds always have major clarity problems.

Both camps of people aren’t totally wrong but they aren’t totally correct either! Now, I would say that the biggest mistake a consumer would make is to buy a diamond blindly without seeing it. Think of BlueNile and the majority of other online jewelers where people shop solely based on certificates and numbers.

Over the years, we had reviewed hundreds of jewelry businesses and curated the best of the best into this list. If you are shopping for an engagement ring, make sure you check out these vendors first.

How Should You Buy Diamonds In This Grade?

When choosing slightly included diamonds, it is really important to see the diamond physically or have access to magnified pictures/videos of the stone. As you had already seen above, there are unlimited possibilities of how an SI2 diamond may look like!

SI2 diamonds are NOT created equally. In some SI2s, you could see inclusions with the unaided eye. While in many others, they simply look like a VVS or VS diamond to the naked eyes.

Check out the following diamonds from James Allen; a vendor who offers magnified pictures and HD videos of every stone in their inventory. I highly recommend them because you can SEE and know exactly what you are getting.

Good Choices Where SI2 Diamonds Face Up Clean

feather at girdle area slightly included 2 diamond

The diamond above has a feather at 8’oclock on the girdle area. To the naked eye, this inclusion is eyeclean. However, if you do require a peace of mind, you can also cover it up with a prong and you will never be able to see the inclusion again.


In the SI2 clarity grade, I tend to look out for diamonds with well distributed inclusions since they usually result in an eye clean appearances. Here’s another example that I think is a great choice for a value-buy.

pinpoints crystals scattered throughout si2 diamond

Don’t be scared by the numerous crystal inclusions in this diamond. The fact is, they are colorless and you are only looking at them in a zoomed in view. In normal viewing conditions with your naked eye, there’s no way you can see them.

Test it out for yourself by sliding the zoom-in zoom-out bar in the listing and you will be able to do this experiment yourself.

Poor Options for Slightly Included 2 Diamonds

1.03 Carat D Color Princess Cut Diamond

reflected inclusion

The black inclusions are reflected by the pavilion facets and are obvious to the naked eye!

Clearly, the two examples above show the importance of having magnified photographs to view the diamonds before purchase. If inclusions get reflected by the facets of the diamond, it doesn’t get shown in the grading report. If you bought the diamond blindly, you might just receive a nasty shock. Who would have expected the diamond to face up that way based on the inclusion plot?

The next diamond fares even worse as multiple reflections show up!

0.80 Carat H Color Ideal Cut Diamond

multiple reflections

The circled inclusion is reflected multiple times due to its location!

I know that many shoppers often try to game the GIA/AGS grading system. They think that by choosing a diamond with the cleanest plot, they will get an eye-clean diamond. Well, it’s not and it is a DANGEROUS mistake to choose SI diamonds in this manner.

For beginners and first-time shoppers, I’ve created a handy technique that you can easily use to determine the eyecleanliness of a diamond. I call it the “Resize Technique” and to date, it has helped thousands of readers find their perfect diamond.

Here’s Another Example to Show You Why You NEED Pictures/Videos…

0.57 Carat E Color Slightly Included Ideal Cut Round

colored feather inclusion

The plot doesn’t tell you the details like color or intensity of the inclusions!

James Allen is one of the highly recommended vendors that provides HD videos in their listings to help you determine eyecleanliness. Click here to browse through 1000s of diamonds for yourself today!

More Tips And Factors to Consider When Choosing SI2 Diamonds:

– It is impossible to accurately represent a 3D object onto a 2D diagram without leaving out some details. You should never rely solely on an inclusion plot found in the grading report. This is because the 2-dimensional diagram doesn’t tell you anything about the nature of the inclusions in real life.

– Always loupe the diamond or view it under magnification. Could you live knowing that there are inclusions in your stone? Does it not matter at all as long as it is eyeclean? For most consumers, it is harder to find a “mind-clean” diamond than it is to find an eye clean stone because of psychological issues.

If possible, you should make comparisons against other diamonds from VS2 or I1 grades. This will really help you determine whether the clarity grade is suitable for you.

– NEVER buy an SI2 diamond with a super clean inclusion plot without consulting a private appraiser or eye-balling the stone first. When a grade is assigned to a diamond, it is done for a reason. Having a diagram that looks like a VVS1 or IF clarity plot is always a red flag for huge underlying problems.

Sometimes, it could be due to multiple reflections of inclusions as seen in the example above. Sometimes, it could be due to the color of the inclusions. Make sure you find out exactly what caused the SI2 rating to be assigned to the stone.

Never Buy SI2 Diamonds With Clean Plots

clarity grade is based on clouds that are not shown

Beware of clean plots in SI clarity grades! Such diagrams are the perfect recipes for disasters…

cloudy diamond due to additional clouds not shown

Cloudy looking diamond

Most of the times, these diamonds look hazy and milky due to the huge amount of inclusions that cannot be plotted on the diagram. As a result, the diamond’s sparkle and luster will be negatively impacted as seen in the image above.

You need to be smart. Nothing is too good to be true.

On a closing note, I hope this article clears up the common misunderstandings people have about the SI2 clarity grade. If you need help or advice on diamond selections, I suggest you read this guide that shows you a step by step approach to buying diamonds. Alternatively, you can bump me an email if you need personalized advice.

To begin your own search for SI2 diamonds, click here to visit JamesAllen.com. Their newly launched video technology makes it super intuitive and easy to select an eye clean diamond.

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20 Comments

  1. Karen-
    June 9, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Hi Paul,

    I am thinking of buying a 2.03 fancy yellow cushion mod. brilliant diamond with an EGL USA certificate with SI2 clarity. The polish and symmetry are both rated as good. Color distribution is graded to be even. The price is $8800.00. It’s look very clean with the naked eye. Do you think it is a good price or is this a bad deal?

    Thank you!
    karen

  2. Paul Gian-
    June 10, 2015 at 8:14 am

    I won’t consider buy colored diamonds that aren’t graded by GIA. Most labs aren’t equipped with the correct equipment and testing procedures to detect treatments. There’s a reason why jewelers choose to send diamonds to non-GIA labs while selectively choosing to send stones to other labs for grading. My advice is; stay away.

  3. Jenn-
    October 15, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Hi Paul,
    I’m going to take a look at this diamond below this weekend. Your information here and the post on other comments is helpful. I will be asking about the cloudiness/haziness and will compare to other clarity grades. I was wondering if you had any initial thoughts?

    https://www.gia.edu/report-check?reportno=3205021231

  4. Paul Gian-
    October 19, 2015 at 7:14 am

    The pavilion angle of the diamond is too steep. This will result in light leakage under the table and I personally won’t even bother to examine the diamond in person when there is no lack of better options in the market. Keep looking!

  5. simon-
    October 27, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Hi Paul,

    I had been considering buying this diamond:

    https://www.gia.edu/report-check?reportno=6205725454

    However based on the really insightful comments above I’m not giving it second thoughts.

    Any insight on this specific diamond?

    Cheers

  6. Paul Gian-
    October 27, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    In most circumstances, I would say that I need more information to work on.

    => http://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/

    In this particular case, I would avoid this diamond 100%. This diamond will most likely be cloudly and impact its brilliance in a negative way.

    “Clarity grade is based on clouds that are not shown. Surface graining is not shown.”

    http://beyond4cs.com/grading/other-comments/

  7. Nicola-
    November 22, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Hi

    I am looking to buy a diamond that is gia i color 1.31 carat si2. I have the picture of the diamond and gia certificate do you have an email address i could send these pics to for your opinion?
    Kind regards
    Nicola

  8. Nicola-
    November 22, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Hi

    I am thinking of buying the diamond:

    https://www.gia.edu/report-check?reportno=2207377090

    Can you tell me if this is any good? I have been assured that the brilliance of this diamond is great but your opinion on the inclusions would be really helpful

    I look forward to hearing from you
    Kind regards
    Nicola

  9. Paul Gian-
    November 25, 2015 at 7:50 am

    Poor option. The proportions combination WILL result in significant light leakage. I won’t even spend a single cent on diamonds cut to these type of standards.

  10. John-
    November 26, 2015 at 3:39 am

    I’m thinking of getting this diamond.

    https://www.gia.edu/report-check?reportno=1203605415

    The price is $6200 is this a good deal??

  11. Paul Gian-
    November 26, 2015 at 5:40 am

    http://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/

    Can’t tell you much except without more information.

  12. Yirong-
    December 13, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Paul pls advice if this is worth buying?

    Cool find: GIA 1.21 Carat Diamond for $5,500 http://carousell.com/p/36180971

  13. Paul Gian-
    December 14, 2015 at 3:31 am

    Sorry, no deal. Terrible diamond choice because of poor cut quality. The overly steep pavilion angles is a recipe for a poor performing diamond. I don’t even need to see the diamond in person to tell you that it won’t sparkle as well as one that is cut well. Read the sections on choosing a round diamond on Beyond4cs.com and keep looking.

  14. Anthony-
    December 19, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for all the material you post, it has really helped me in my diamond purchase quest.

    I’ve already been to my local store and given my budget and constraints I’m leaning towards the following diamond:

    https://www.gia.edu/report-check?reportno=5186867331

    This diamond fits the standards you list with regards to cut, but it’s an SI2 clarity.

    I’m going to view the diamond before I decide, so provided I’m happy with the inclusions what’s your opinion on this diamond?

    Would you suggest compromising on the other C’s to bring up the clarity to VS range?

    Thanks,
    Anthony

  15. Paul Gian-
    December 22, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    The proportions and angles look fine on paper. However, they don’t reveal the complete picture about the diamond.

    http://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/

    It is a good idea to invest in an ASET scope and use it to critically examine the cut quality of the diamond.

    http://beyond4cs.com/2014/12/aset-reference-charts/

  16. Jon-
    May 11, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Great article. I was wondering. Any thoughts on these three stones I am looking at.

    https://www.gia.edu/report-check?reportno=1215982196

    or

    https://www.gia.edu/report-check?reportno=2206774173

    or

    https://www.gia.edu/report-check?reportno=2217709756

    I am leaning towards #1 or #3 but now worried after reading your article.

    Thoughts? Are any of these even good diamonds. Please note I will have a halo around them so might hide some imperfections on the side.

    Thanks

    John

  17. Paul Gian-
    May 13, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    You are right to be worried and be concerned. Read this: http://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/

  18. Emily-
    February 5, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Hi.

    I am looking at buying this ring. I don’t know much about stones, so was just wondering whether you think that the flaws will show?

    I know it is not a hugely expensive piece in terms of diamonds, but I am always weary of online sales?

    https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/269534529/the-retro-diamond-engagement-ring-18ct?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=&ref=sr_gallery_41

    Many thanks!

    Emily

  19. Paul Gian-
    February 6, 2017 at 3:51 am

    Avoid it. If you want to get an item like this, you want to work with a reliable vendor with good return policies. Check out BlueNile here: https://www.bluenile.com

  20. Paul Gian-
    June 7, 2017 at 6:57 am

    FYI, here are a couple of more examples of eyeclean Slightly Included diamonds.

    1.00 Carat D Color Excellent Cut Round Brilliant Diamond

    prongable crystal inclusion

    Crystal inclusion that can be hidden by prongs placement

    1.04 Carat D Color Princess Cut Diamond

    clean looking si2

    Don’t get turned off by the messy inclusion plot. This diamond will face up completely clean.

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