Real Life Examples And Images of Slightly Included Diamonds

Alright, this post is specially written for readers who have queries about diamonds in the slightly included grades. Some of the most common questions I had received via emails are as follows: “What’s the difference between SI1 and SI2?”, “I had read in some forums and websites that I should stay away from SI1 to SI2 grades when buying online, but it seems that you are actually advising people to buy in this range. Why?” plus a ton of other related questions. 

First of all, I would like to clarify that buying slightly included diamonds is one of the best methods to stretching your money for value. That is the primary reason why I recommend them since most people do work with a limited budget. However, the key point to take back here is you need put in some effort to select the ones which are eye-clean (no visible inclusions with the naked eye) and never shop blindly.


Also, I need to re-emphasize the point that clarity grades can fall within a “band”. For example, a graded stone could be on the higher band of SI2 (closer to SI1) or on the lower band of SI2 (closer to I1). Ultimately, it is the amount and type of inclusions which causes a diamond to be placed in a particular clarity grade. Very often, the locations of flaws will play a big role in defining whether a diamond is eye clean or not.

Comparisons of SI2 Emerald Cut Diamonds

For educational purposes, I am going to show you some examples of diamonds you should look out for and those that you should avoid. First of all, let’s take a look at the following emerald cuts which are both graded with an SI2 clarity rating.

This SI2 emerald cut diamond has inclusions well spread out across the gem and is eye-clean.

si2 emerald cut diamond with invisible inlusions
The cloud and crystal inclusions under the table facet will be very obvious to the naked eye.

avoid cloud or crystal inclusions near the diamond's center

Comparisons of SI2 Round Brilliant Cuts

Due to the nature of the brilliant cut, round diamonds can be more forgiving with clarity grades. With better optical performance, the fire and scintillation of an ideal cut round diamond can help mask inclusions compared to step cuts like the emerald or asscher. However, that’s not to say we can just go out and randomly pick the first ideal cut round diamond we see. You still need to exercise caution!

Super obvious crystal inclusion – Buying 3 diamonds for the price of one

ugly dark crystal inclusion in a round si2 diamond

A combination of clouds, feathers and crystals kills it for this example…

obvious feather, cloud and crystal inclusions

This is another example showing visible inclusions under the table.

reflected inclusion by pavilion facet

Here’s an eye-clean SI2 diamond even though the grading report shows a scary looking plot.

unlike clean choice with messy inclusion plot

From these examples, you can see that a grading report only maps and grades the diamond’s inclusions. Without seeing the actual diamond, there’s no way you can determine how the inclusions will impact a diamond’s beauty. By allowing shoppers to view and interact with diamonds using 360° videos, has eliminated the problem of buying “blind”.

Photographs of SI1 Clarity Diamonds

By now, I hope I had driven home the idea that viewing a magnified photo or video is critical in helping you make selections. To complete this round up, here are some examples of SI1 diamonds which aren’t eye clean.

* When browsing through diamonds, you can make use of the clarity plot as a reference to compare images and also as a tool to orientate yourself.

princess cut with slightly included clarity

Do note that these images had been magnified many times. In real life, the black crystal inclusion would look like a speck of dirt on the diamond’s surface. Personally, I would pass on this option as there are far better alternatives out there.

In the next example, a cloud of dark particles underneath the table facet makes it a poor choice.

cushion cut diamond with inclusions that will be visible at an angle

Surprise! This Messy Clarity Plot Actually Yielded an Eye Clean Diamond

well scattered inclusions that are not visible to naked eye

For people who want to maximize their budget for a bigger and better cut stone, clarity is an aspect that you can compromise on. You don’t really need a VVS1 diamond when an SI1 diamond can look just as good in person. The only catch here is that you need to do your homework before making a purchase.

Remember, diamonds are not created equal. Even if 2 stones look very similar on a piece of paper, they might look very different in real life. As you can see above, inspecting a diamond with magnified pictures or videos will reveal a lot of details about the stone.

Finally, don’t be afraid of getting diamonds in the lower clarity grades. As long as you are clear about what you are doing and had seen it under magnification, you won’t have a shocker when you receive the stone.

With that, you have now completed your education on the fundamentals of diamond clarity. Well done! My next recommended reading for you is to check out our step by step guide on choosing a diamond. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments area below.

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  1. Jerry-
    May 21, 2016 at 6:20 am

    I have an SI2 1.5 F color diamond that has two big pin points in the table…cannot be noticed unless under magnification…can only see with naked eye after staring for a while…is it worth buying for 10200 out the door?

  2. Paul Gian-
    May 21, 2016 at 6:33 am

    Well, the stone isn’t eyeclean based on your observations. I would dump the stone and keep looking.

  3. Robert-
    July 6, 2016 at 3:15 am

    I have a 1.26 ct H excellent cut SI2. The diamond is eye clean face up and has beautiful shine. That said, if I stare at the diamond from the side angle at point blank range I can see the inclusion alongside the prong area. It is slightly concealed in this location and like I said, cannot be seen face up. The GIA plot is nearly flawless except for this side crystal. Is it worth the extra couple grand (at least) to upgrade the clarity rating assuming all else is equal?

  4. Paul Gian-
    July 6, 2016 at 3:55 am

    Depends on how much it matters to you. If seeing the inclusion by its side is affecting your enjoyment of the diamond, change it. I would say that most people only care about the face up view and not the profile view.

  5. R j-
    June 25, 2017 at 6:54 am


    I’m in india. My Budget is 1 lakh rupees, including a ring mount. around $1500. Sir, i would be thrilled if u could guide me as to which would be the best solitaire among the following, as well as if there are any that would be better than any of the following (GIA cert no)

    Please do guide me.

  6. Paul Gian-
    June 25, 2017 at 7:44 am

    You will need more than GIA cert numbers for me to help you.

  7. Rafal Herman-
    January 25, 2018 at 4:35 am

    Hi! I bought a ( pre owned ) diamond ring from a seller who sales a lot of pre owned jewlery. The diamonds were described as J color and SI to P1 in clarity. On the centre there is a 7 mm square with 9 princess cut diamonds, plus other small baguette cut d. on the side of the ring. Well, the colour seems to be slightly yellow only under a yellow light source, in the day light the colour appears to be candid like snow ( I will be waiting till spring when the sun come out to se them in the direct sun light ). As for inclusions I’m not able to see any even with 30 x magnification ( but with a low quality loupe ) – maybe because d. are small ( total weight of d. is about 0.70 ct ) and/or well cut. I suppose many people won’t buy them after reading J/ Si-I1 ( declared by the seller ) but they look really beautiful. So I1 seems to be advisable at least for small pieces. Last but not least the d. on the picture seemed much more yellow than the actually look like under normal light. Have I found a honest seller?

  8. Paul Gian-
    January 25, 2018 at 8:31 am

    It’s unlikely you found an honest seller if the piece came without a reliable grading report from a 3rd party lab. For someone in the trade, P1 is not a proper term used and also, you probably don’t know what you have on hand or how to examine jewelry correctly.

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