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. Chelsea-
    September 2, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    What’s your opinion of the following diamond from James Allen? If it doesn’t match up to your standards, can you find me another option for around 10 thousand dollars?

  8. Paul Gian-
    September 3, 2017 at 7:19 am

    I don’t see any urls or links to the stone. Can you check that you entered the comment correctly? For what’s its worth, this article should address some of your questions when shopping for a 10k wedding ring.

  9. 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?

  10. 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.

  11. Raffi-
    May 13, 2018 at 2:49 am

    Hi Paul, I am purchasing diamond ring for my wife. It is our 40th wedding anniversary. Under 10X view I did not see any inclusion from the top. I did not look at the sides or bottom. I have the GIA number and looked it up and saw the inclusions. It is a 1.90 carat, F Color, SI1 Clarity, Excellent Cut, Excellent Symmetry, Excellent Polish and Faint Florescence, It is a big investment and I wanted a quality diamond for my wife. My only worry was the SI1 Clarity, but that kept the cost down and it looked good.

    The GIA number is 5181827243.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank You Raffi

  12. Paul Gian-
    May 13, 2018 at 4:00 am

    I can tell you that the mediocre proportions would have instantly cause me to “fail” the diamond. I won’t even bother wasting time and effort to look at tangible data when light physics dictates performance issues here. As for clarity, the plot itself is not useful because you do need to judge the diamond on a case by case basis based on its appearance. There’s zero tangible data here.

  13. Rafael Herman-
    July 12, 2018 at 2:14 am

    In answer to the answer you gave to me: the ring I bought is a pre owned ring, this vendor buys lots of used jewelry abroad, and sells it back in Poland, there is no sense to give an independent grading report from third part labs like GIA because of the cost involved and to keep prices reasonably low.
    I think I have found the answer in your articles, since these are small diamonds, it is possible to have even a P1 eye clean because of the small size as inclusions become noticeable only if the size grows! Even so the diamonds have a good sparkling and fire, as for the color, I have yesterday bought a F VS1 emerald cut diamond, which is, of course much brighter compared to the others.

  14. Paul Gian-
    July 12, 2018 at 5:45 am

    Prices are “low” for a reason when buying diamonds without a GIA grading report. In reality, they are going to be MORE expensive than a properly graded diamond 99% of the time. Jewelers who take advantage of misrepresentation will always say the same excuse “Oh, sending the diamond to GIA is going to end up costing you more.”

    It’s a load of bullshit. The GIA report protects the consumer and not buying a diamond ring with one is asking to get ripped off. And deserving so, for people who knowingly have this knowledge and still choose to ignore the advice.

  15. Rafael Herman-
    July 12, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    You would be definitely right if we were speaking about a solitaire 0.70 carat diamond. We are speaking about 9 0.05 carat princess cut clutter setting a many small baguette diamond set on the ring band. A third party like GIA grading report will surely surpass the value of that kind of ring, bought in after market. I think no one vendor offers a third party grading report for a lot of small tiny diamonds, it would be like repairing a chipped 0.10 carat diamond. Of course if I had been buying a solitaire ring for thousands of dollars I would pretend to have it graded by GIA

  16. Paul Gian-
    July 13, 2018 at 3:41 am

    You are absolutely right. If you are buying melees or accent diamond rings, then the grading makes no economic sense. You just have the trust what the vendor says about their goods. So, do you trust them? If you do, you probably won’t be asking questions here.

    This article will have more info:

  17. Flor-
    October 10, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    Hi, I inherited my mom’s jewelries, and with that her wedding ring, I took it to the jeweller and he told me that the kind of cut is actually not worth anything, and he said is a one cut. not sure what that is. I was kinda surprised. Either way i’m keeping it. it’s my mom’s and that’s the important part of it.

  18. Paul Gian-
    October 11, 2018 at 1:38 am

    Diamonds have little resale value to begin with. If it is an old cut, I think he is referring to the single cut. The underlying value of the diamond is determined by the quality of the diamond and for what’s its worth, the jeweler has probably saw diamonds with junk tier quality in terms of the 4cs.

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