For people on a budget and are conscious about clarity, VS1 diamonds are good options for consideration. These diamonds have very minor inclusions that are generally not be visible to the naked eye. Examples of commonly found inclusions within this grade include very small feathers, clouds, white pinpoints and small indented naturals.
It really is a choice of personal preference. Typically, I would only recommend people to buy VS1 diamonds if they are looking for larger stones ( > 2 carats) or step cuts (emerald/asscher shapes).
Ideal cut round brilliants generally do a fine job of masking inclusions due to the way it scintillates and disperse light. In contrast, step cuts generally cannot achieve the same level of optical performance compared to round diamonds.
This is the reason why inclusions in step cuts tend to show up easily; much like peering into an open window. And as we go higher in carat size, inclusions become more obvious as the relative facet size increases.
For diamonds that are smaller in size, a VS1 and VS2 diamond will look just about the same and a skilled eye is required to notice differences with magnification aids.
Speaking from a technical point of view, not all VS1 diamonds are eye clean. It depends on who does the grading and how strict their standards are. For example, if the diamond has been graded by EGL (who are notorious for their lax standards) as a VS1, you won’t know what you are getting exactly. Chances are, this same diamond would probably be graded as an SI1 by GIA/AGS.
Here’s an example of an EGL graded stone with many “un-plotted” inclusions in its report…
After viewing the diamond above, do you trust what was plotted on the report? I don’t…
If a diamond had been graded by reliable labs like AGS or GIA as a VS1, I can assure you that the diamond will be eye-clean. In my personal experience with handling diamonds, I had never seen any VS1 diamonds with inclusions visible to the naked eye.
Click the links below to play around with the 20X virtual loupe and try finding the inclusions yourself.
A great looking VS1 emerald cut diamond
Brian Gavin’s signature princess cut diamond graded by AGS
When shopping for diamonds, the reliability and origin of grading reports are very important factors since they offer you assurance of what you are paying for. Don’t get suckered into “awesome deals” that involve purchasing diamonds with dubious certifications.