What’s the Best Diamond Clarity Grade For Value Seekers?

inspecting a vs1 diamond

What Would You Choose?

The appeal of a diamond or any other jewelry usually boils down to personal choice and preference. For this reason, it would be impossible to state what clarity grade is the “best” as you may have your own rationalization for making decisions. 

I have heard of reasons ranging from superstitions (must have clean diamond) to practicality (budget constraints) that cause people to choose a particular clarity grade.

Most of these reasons are valid but there are some that are due to misguided beliefs and misinformation. Anyway, what is important is that you understand how clarity really impacts the beauty of the stone.

Clarity is Often a “Mind Clean” Issue Rather Than a Necessity

A flawless diamond may have the best clarity grade but it doesn’t guarantee that the diamond will look stunning. In fact, a diamond with a SI1 or SI2 grade can be eye clean and look just as good to the naked eye.

I know people buy FL/IF diamonds for symbolic reasons because they only want the best. That’s fine. However, for the majority of other consumers who don’t have such requirements, the best diamond clarity grade should be the one that offers you the most value. And in my opinion, diamonds within the VS or SI clarity would allow you to get better value for money.

The truth is, most casual viewers cannot tell the difference between a VS1 or an SI1 diamond BUT it would be easier for them to notice differences in size. Don’t you think it is better to use the money saved on a lower clarity grade and invest it into a diamond with better color or bigger carat weight instead? After all, it doesn’t make sense to pay a premium for something that can’t be readily seen or appreciated.

So, What is the Best Diamond Clarity Rating?

It depends on what you are looking for.

If you are on a budget and want to get the biggest bang for your money, the best diamond clarity grade for you is VS2 or SI1. As long as you eyeballed the diamond and it is eyeclean, there’s really nothing to be worried about.

If you are buying a large sized diamond (bigger than 1.5 carats), the best clarity rating for diamonds of these sizes will be VS2 or better. This is because inclusions become more obvious when carat sizes increase.

If you are shopping for investment grade diamonds (larger than 10 carat, D color), the best diamond clarity grades would be IF or FL if you can find them.

A Comparison of SI1 vs. IF Ideal Round Brilliant Cuts

is an internally flawless diamond worth it

Both diamonds will look similar when mounted on a ring, but one costs almost twice as much!

Is it worth it to fork out an additional $7,000 just for an internally flawless diamond? Ultimately, that’s a question only you can answer. As long as the diamond is eye clean and you aren’t making a purchase for investment purposes, the SI1 option is hands down the better choice in my opinion.

I need to reiterate that there is nothing wrong with going for a higher clarity rating as long as you know that you can get a similar looking stone at significantly lower costs. In the example above, I was able to make an educated judgement to pick the SI1 diamond with the use of 360° videos and grading reports. You too, can do the same at JamesAllen.com and that’s what you will be learning in a moment.

On the next page, I am going to show you comparisons of eye clean diamonds (with images and links) to teach you what are the things to look out for…

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  1. Phyllis Boatman-
    June 21, 2015 at 2:34 am

    I would like to know what a fair price would be a one caret diamond set in a marquise stud earring. I am not sure what I what I should be looking for as far as clarity goes.
    I do not need the very best diamond but I would like one that does shine and is large enough to show while I wear it.
    Are there any websites online in which I could purchase a good diamond for economical price. I have looked at a few jewelry stores in our area and the seem alittle expensive. I realize there is a huge mark up on diamonds. Therefore, where can I go for the best diamond for a good price.

    I do enjoy your articles that I receive and have used the information to help me find a diamond earring.

    Thank you for your help.

    Phyllis Boatman

  2. Paul Gian-
    June 22, 2015 at 1:48 am

    The price of the jewelry piece will depend alot on various factors of the 4Cs and the kind of material/design you set the diamond in.

    You probably want to read this to get a better idea of pricing: https://beyond4cs.com/diamond-prices/

  3. Rhi Didyoung-
    September 1, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Hi Paul!

    I have a question that I hope you can help with. I’ve tried reading up on all the different standards and I’m confused. I understand a VS1 or 2 diamond should be ‘eye clean’ but I’m not sure what that totally means. I have a larger than 1 carat diamond that is GIA certified as VS2. It has an inclusion that is easily visible on the SIDE but not from the top. It also has a few micro size spots that you can see from the top if you look VERY closely, but nothing that makes it dull or less clear. Is this just a difference in standards or did the jeweler rip us off? Should I have it re-appraised? I keep reading inclusions should only be visible with magnification in VS classification but maybe I’m just looking too close. LOL.

    Thank you in advance if you have the time.

  4. Paul Gian-
    September 2, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Eyeclean means you will not be able to see inclusions with your naked eye in normal viewing conditions. Personally, I define eyeclean inclusions as being “invisible” to the naked eye at a distance of 15cm. The problem here is that eyeclean is not a gemological term. There are VS1s and VS2s that aren’t eyeclean and it really depends on the nature of the inclusion. In your case, I would say that it is no longer eyeclean for you Because once you are able to see an inclusion with your naked eye, it no longer becomes “mind-clean”.

  5. Jeffrey Phillips-
    October 7, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    I love your website – I have learned quite a bit and I thank you for all of your time and dedication. I am looking at a report on a GIA stone. https://products.ritani.com/uploads/diamonds/certificate/pdf/5962708/2267963885.pdf
    Can you give me your thought about this diamond? Thanks

  6. Paul Gian-
    October 8, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Read this: https://beyond4cs.com/shapes/round/ideal-proportions/

    Without even looking at other details (which is a must before you buy), this diamond would have instantly failed my preliminary checks.

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