VVS diamonds are found in the higher tier of the clarity grading scale and are often sold as “top quality” diamonds. Sadly, many consumers fall into the beginner’s trap of buying a VVS diamond because of misconceptions about diamond clarity.
In many cases, uneducated shoppers are misled by salespeople into thinking a higher clarity/color grade automatically translates into better brilliance and sparkle for the diamond. Some unethical jewelers even go as far as to market VVS diamonds as investments and a storage of value.
The truth is far from that.
In this article, I’m going to reveal everything you need to know about VVS diamonds and how you can utilize this knowledge to make better purchase decisions. I will also show you a case study on how to save thousands of dollars by shopping with a practical mindset and tangible data.
The term VVS is an abbreviation for Very, Very, Slightly Included and can be further broken down into two sub-categories: VVS1 and VVS2. Respectively, they are the 3rd and 4th best rating on the GIA clarity scale.
The VVS clarity rating on GIA’s grading scale.
VVS diamonds have very benign inclusions such as pinpoints, clouds, internal graining or feathers which will never impact the outward appearance of the stone. And if you are wondering what the differences between VVS1 vs VVS2 clarity are, it’s really quite straightforward.
In laymen’s terms, a VVS1 diamond typically has inclusions found on the pavilion side (diamond is flipped over) which are extremely difficult to see under 10x. In comparison, a VVS2 diamond usually has inclusions found on the crown side (face up) which are very difficult to see under 10x.
Check out the follow video listings and compare the differences between a VVS1 and VVS2 diamond. And if you try to locate the inclusions under 10X magnification, you will quickly realize it is not that easy to do so!
To give you some perspective on how clean a VVS diamond is; even a trained grader like myself would have an extremely hard time grading a VVS diamond without the proper tools and lighting conditions. It may take me up anywhere from 10-15 mins of careful examination in order to accurately identify inclusions under magnification.
The bottom line is, you will not be able to see any inclusions or blemishes with an unaided eye. In fact, you are unlikely to find them even if you use a loupe.
Diamond value and pricing are determined by a combination of the 4Cs: Cut, Color, Carat & Clarity. I’ve compiled a list of diamonds across different clarity grades to give you an idea of price differences in lower carat ranges.
Click here to view the individual diamonds in more details…
While you can see prices gap up as we move up the clarity scale, this effect is much more prominent at high carat ranges. In terms of absolute value, the difference between a VVS and VS diamond can go up to tens of thousands of dollars.
Click here to view the individual diamonds in more details…
Depending on the carat size of your purchase, the price difference between a VVS diamond ring and a VS diamond ring can sometimes amount to tens of thousands of dollars. Yet, both diamond rings can look exactly the same to the naked eyes in a side by side comparison.
If there is absolutely no visual differences between a VS2 diamond and a VVS1 diamond, is it worth it to pay a good 40K more (see 3 ct comparison circled in red above) for a purchase? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment at the end of the article.
Very often, consumers get suckered into buying a diamond with high clarity because they don’t know better. Here at Beyond4cs.com, I personally approach engagement ring shopping in a practical manner and I encourage readers to do the same.
Check out these two photographs of a VVS1 diamond ring vs a VS2 diamond ring with the same setting design. On paper, both these rings are many grades apart in clarity and yet, they look equally stunning and eyeclean in reality.
1.486ct G VVS1 vs 1.484ct G VS2 – Cathedral Tapered Design from WhiteFlash.com
When it comes to sparkle and brilliance of a diamond, CUT is the primary attribute you should place priority in. Whether a diamond has extremely high clarity in the VVS grades or VS grades has little bearing on its beauty. If the cut is poor, even a flawless diamond would look lifeless and dull.
As long as a lower clarity grade diamond is eyeclean, that is really what matters at the end of the day. In my opinion, it doesn’t make sense to pay a premium for an attribute that cannot be appreciated in casual viewing.
I would rather buy an eyeclean VS2 diamond and put the cost savings towards tangible aspects like larger carat weight or better cut quality.
Many businesses including the big brands like Tiffany or Cartier actively market VVS diamonds as being superior or highly sought after. In fact, many of these jewelers openly bash lower clarity diamonds in order to position themselves to sell you “better quality” goods in their inventory.
As a consumer, you need to understand that marketing is a huge part of the jewelry industry. The fact is, most jewelers only care about increasing their profit margins rather than aligning themselves to the interest of the consumer.
While it is true that VVS diamonds can offer consumers an assurance that clarity will never be an issue, these stones are also priced considerably higher. As a practical shopper, let me tell you that a VVS clarity is overkill for the purpose of getting an eyeclean diamond.
Check out this comparison of an SI1 diamond against a VVS1 diamond. Even though these two stones are 4 clarity grades apart, they will face up identical to each other when viewed in a side-by-side placement.
The fact is, you can pay a lot LESS for a lower clarity diamond with inclusions that you will never see with your naked eye. In fact, you don’t have to restrict yourself to the VS clarity range and can even go down to the SI grades. You just have to be smart about your shopping process and put in a bit of effort into your search.
And don’t worry, it really isn’t that hard and you’ll have tons of fun along the way. All you need to do is to follow the steps in our proven Resize Technique and you will be able to assess diamonds for eyecleanliness like a pro.
Having said that, VS and SI diamonds can offer superb value for money but you need to remember that each diamond has to be assessed individually on its own merit. This is because inclusions are unique to different diamonds.
To illustrate this, here’s a diamond that isn’t eyeclean. Click on the image below to view the listing and I’m sure you can see why. The point I want to make here is that it is super easy to scrutinize diamonds due to the nature of how these online vendors operate.
Videos show full details of what a grading certificate may not reveal!
And contrary to what some people think, buying a diamond online through a reliable vendor is much safer and more transparent due to the availability of listing info and risk-free sales policies.
Plus, going online will ensure you have a larger pool of selections to choose from and be able to browse in peace without annoying salespeople breathing down your neck.
With that said, if you are still not sure or confident about a selection by yourself, feel free to drop me an email for help.
Scenario #1 – You Are Feeling Rich And Simply Have a Strong Personal Preference
As long as you are aware that you don’t need a VVS clarity rating to find an eye-clean diamond, then go ahead if that’s what you still want. Some people are after perfection and enjoy knowing that their stone is practically flawless.
As I had stated previously, a VS or SI diamond would be more affordable than a VVS diamond. However, I also know that everyone has different needs and preferences when it comes to buying an engagement ring.
There are people who are mentally affected by the presence of inclusions and there are also people who specifically want a particular carat size or color grade for symbolic reasons.
If you are fully aware that you are paying a premium for a VVS clarity which doesn’t necessarily translate to a better looking diamond, by all means, go ahead and spend the money.
For VVS diamond shoppers, I recommend that you check out White Flash as they specialize in precision cut diamonds and have a curated collection of high color/clarity diamonds with ideal light performance.
Scenario #2 – Limited Choices When Buying Fancy Shapes or Large Size Diamonds
If you are shopping for fancy shape diamond like an oval or a large 3ct round diamond, you will find significantly less inventory available to choose from. This is due to lower demand for such goods in the market.
After doing your due diligence on cut quality and weeding down to your final list of options, you may sometimes end up only with VVS diamonds just because there are no other good options in the lower clarity ranges.
Under such circumstances, it makes sense to fork out the extra cash to get a VVS diamond ring.
In my opinion, VVS diamonds lie in a clarity category that pleases no one. This is because you are paying a huge premium for a very clean diamond and it still doesn’t give you the symbolism of an internally flawless diamond.
And on the other hand, if all you need is a diamond that is eyeclean, a VS1 diamond would aptly do the job (still considered overkill) and save you money in the process.
If you love the idea of a having a “perfect” diamond, by all means go all the way up to the IF/FL clarity grade. Otherwise, I would recommend you avoid the VVS clarity grades and go down to VS or SI grades instead.
I hope this post revealed some useful insights and helped steer you in the right direction. Make sure you check out our step-by-step guide to choosing a well cut diamond if you haven’t yet.
Finally, feel free to leave a comment to leave your thoughts or any questions that you have.