If you are someone who wants to get better value for your money, shopping for SI2 clarity diamonds would be one of the best ways to do so; provided you know exactly what you are doing.
In this guide, you are going to find out what an SI2 diamond is and get insider tips to selecting an SI2 diamond the smart way. Let’s jump right in!
By definition, SI2 diamonds will contain inclusions that can be easily seen and identified under a 10X loupe. However, don’t let this scare you away from them because it is possible to find diamonds that are eye-clean if you shop for them the smart way.
No two SI2 diamond looks the same. Click here to see 100s of SI2 diamonds for yourself…
The differences between an SI1 and SI2 diamond lie in the nature of their inclusions such as size, location and density; with the latter having flaws which are more serious and visible.
Technically speaking, the characteristics of inclusions/blemishes found in SI diamonds are similar to those found in their VS counterparts. Here are some common types of inclusions you will come across in SI2 diamonds: pinpoints (carbon particles), crystals, clouds, feathers, graining and twinning wisps.
First of all, I want to address some misconceptions that many people have about SI2 diamonds.
There are plenty of consumers who 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 would always have clarity related problems.
Both groups of people aren’t totally wrong but they aren’t completely correct either!
Now, I would say that the biggest mistake a consumer would make is to buy a diamond blindly without seeing it. This happens regularly at brick and mortar jewelers and mediocre online retailers where you are expected to shop solely based on grading certificates.
Most gem-quality diamonds in the market have inclusions and that’s completely normal due to their natural formation process deep within the Earth. SI2 diamonds are no different and they just happen to have more inclusions compared to diamonds with higher clarity grades.
But if you can find an eye-clean SI2 diamond, you are going to get fantastic value for your money. Here’s a case study to show you the massive price differences between an eyeclean SI2 diamond versus a VS2 and VVS2 diamond.
Feel free to click on these individual diamonds to see them in full details using James Allen’s interactive video technology.
SI2 clarity diamond prices are only a fraction of what higher clarity diamonds cost!
When seen with the naked eyes in a casual setting, no one would be able to tell the differences between these diamonds in the face up view. Yet, there’s a huge price difference between each of these diamonds.
In fact, the VVS2 diamond costs a whopping 50% more than the SI2 diamond even though they look completely identical!
To give you a better idea of price differences, I’ve compiled another price chart below with different clarity grades while keeping all other factors the same in these diamonds…
This list of GIA certified, 1 carat, D color diamonds have similar specifications except for their clarity rating. From the chart, you can see a massive price difference from the top tier clarity grades compared to the SI2 clarity diamond.
This is why an eyeclean SI2 diamond can offer you a better bang for your buck especially if you are shopping with a small budget.
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.
The diamond above has a feather at 8’oclock on the girdle area. To the naked eye, this inclusion is eyeclean. However, if you require an additional peace of mind, you can choose to cover it up with a prong and you will never see the inclusion again.
When shopping for SI2 clarity diamonds, I tend to look out for diamonds with well distributed inclusions since they would have a better probability of an eye clean appearance. Here’s another example that I think is a great choice for a value buy.
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.
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 had bought the diamond blindly, you would probably receive a nasty shock when you see it in person. 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
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.
0.57 Carat E Color Slightly Included Ideal Cut Round
The plot doesn’t tell you the details like color or intensity of the inclusions!
Tip #1: It is impossible to accurately represent a 3D object onto a 2D diagram without leaving out some details of the inclusions (e.g. depth, color, density) and that’s why you should never rely solely on an inclusion plot.
Tip #2: Viewing the diamond under magnification is mandatory and you need to understand exactly what you are buying. Be honest and ask yourself whether you would be alright to know that there are inclusions in your stone.
From experience, most consumers find it harder to find a “mind-clean” diamond than it is to find an eye clean stone due to psychological issues. If possible, try and make comparisons against other diamonds from VS2 or I1 grades. This will really help you determine whether the SI2 clarity grade is suitable for you.
Tip #3: NEVER buy an SI2 diamond with a super clean inclusion plot without eye-balling the stone first. When a grade is assigned to a diamond, it is done for a reason.
Having an SI2 diagram that looks like a VVS1 or IF clarity plot is always a red flag for bigger underlying problems such as colored inclusions or severely ugly inclusions which can be reflected around the diamond multiple times. So, make sure you find out exactly what caused the SI2 rating to be assigned to the stone.
Beware of clean plots in SI clarity grades! Such diagrams are the perfect recipes for disasters…
Cloudy looking diamond that mutes brilliance and sparkle.
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 about the SI2 clarity grade. As I’ve shown you in the examples above, there’s no need to be afraid of buying slightly included diamonds as they allow you to maximize your budget with better cut and carat weight,
The key here is never to buy an SI2 diamond without seeing full details and be smart about choosing diamonds with scattered inclusions!
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.