An eye-clean diamond (of any grade) will look identical to VVS diamonds assuming all else is equal (yet will cost far far less). Because inclusions and blemishes in both VVS and VS diamond are only visible at 10x magnification, we recommend choosing a VS diamond (or lower) for maximum value without impacting an ounce of beauty.
Shopping for diamonds exposes you to a whole new set of acronyms and vocabulary. When it comes to VVS diamonds, we're talking about clarity. A diamond's clarity refers to the visual appearance of any inclusions and blemishes. By definition, VVS diamonds mean those that are Very Very Slightly Included.
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|FL||Flawless: No inclusions under 10x. A stone that is completely flawless. This is an extremely rare find.|
|IF||Internally Flawless: No internal imperfections. A stone that has no internal flaws at all but does have surface flaws. Also, an extremely rare find.|
|VVS1-VVS2||Very Very Slightly Included: A stone with very minute internal inclusions that are extremely difficult to see under a 10X magnification.|
|VS1-VS2||Very Slightly Included: A stone with very minor internal inclusions that range from difficult to somehwat easy see under a 10X magnification.|
|SI1-SI2||Slightly Included: A stone that has imperfections visible under X10 magnification and may be visible with the unaided eye.|
|I1-I3||Included: A stone that has significant inclusions most often visible with the naked eye. Inclusions of this level drastically bring down the diamonds value.|
Inclusions signify composition aspects like cavities or internal graining. Blemishes are imperfections like chips, scratches or dark spots. The fewer inclusions and blemishes, the better the clarity grade.
The VVS grade is divided into two levels: VVS1 and VVS2, with VVS1 as the higher grade. Diamonds graded as VVS have such slight imperfections that even with a loupe tool or microscope, trained diamond professionals are unable to see them easily.
While clarity can impact a diamond's value and beauty, inclusions are primarily unrecognized by the naked eye in VVS diamonds. The GIA uses the International diamond clarity scale shown above.
VVS1 diamonds rank higher than VVS2 on the diamond clarity chart and are the closest to being an internally flawless diamond, which is incredibly rare. The inclusions found in VVS1 diamonds are not visible at all under 10x magnification. Only under a powerful microscope can any inclusions in a VVS1 be seen by a trained eye.
A few aspects of inclusions are reviewed when a lab professional is determining how to grade the diamond. For one, graders watch for the size of the inclusion. In other words, if the inclusion is larger and can be seen under 10x magnification, then the diamond would be categorized lower than VVS1.
Graders also look for the number of inclusions in a diamond. The more inclusions that are readily seen not necessarily the number that exist the lower the grade.
As another element to evaluate, lab graders observe where the inclusion is located. Those found directly beneath the diamond's table, for instance, will be more noticeable than those present in the pavilion and crown facets. The color light or dark also plays a role in the level of clarity.
VVS1 inclusions are not distinguishable to the naked eye. Diamonds graded as VVS1 appear entirely clean unless viewed by a professional under more than 10x magnification.
VVS2 diamonds are those graded under the second degree of Very Very Slightly Included. Inclusions at this level are barely visible under 10x magnification and that's when it's being evaluated by a professional. Even then, it generally takes ample time for a trained eye to locate the imperfections.
Similar to VVS1 diamonds, VVS2s are graded on the size, number, color and location of inclusions. A central difference from VVS1 diamonds is that VVS2 inclusions are visible from the crown when looked at under 10x magnification. To the naked eye, VVS2 diamonds look identical to VVS1 diamonds and even Internally Flawless diamonds.
A gemological microscope is generally required to identify a VVS2 inclusion. This is often due to the inclusion pattern consisting of a few separate VVS1 sized spots that collectively equal a VVS2 clarity grade (instead of one larger speck). Since each of the individual spots are too small to be seen with a jeweller's loupe, one needs a powerful microscope to identify them.
Though they're both beautiful diamonds, VVS1 diamonds have fewer inclusions in number, size and location than VVS2 diamonds.
The size of the inclusions in VVS1 stones tend to be tiny and microscopic, the location tend to be off center in VVS1 and closer under the table facet in VVS2. The number of inclusions in VVS diamonds can vary from single inclusion or multiple. VVS1 diamonds typically only have one or two inclusions at the most.
VVS1 diamonds usually have one or two imperfections (typically pinpoint and natural). The average VVS2 diamond will have several that range from multiple pinpoint inclusions to indented natural and feathers. VVS2 diamonds tend to have more inclusions than VVS1 diamonds.
The placement of inclusions is important enough to bump a diamond out of the VVS1 range. Inclusions off to the side of your stone can often be hidden with prongs. So once the stone is placed in your engagement ring setting it's as if the flaw isn't there at all. But there's nothing that can hide an inclusion that's right in the center of your stone.
Certified diamond experts evaluate diamonds based on a number of qualifications. Diamond clarity specifically is graded under specialized microscopes that can help them spot any inclusions that affect the overall clarity of the stone.
Tweezers are used to hold the diamond from girdle to girdle and magnification is adjusted so that the grader can view the diamond. The grader also uses the standard loupe and 10X magnification to ensure that the inclusions are viewed under different lenses and accurately recorded. And that's important to remember. Any inclusions you see on the GIA grading report have been spotted under this extreme magnification.
Any inclusions found in the diamond are graded based on a variety of factors, including size, number and position on the diamond. They also look at whether the inclusion is external or internal within the diamond, along with the color of the inclusions. All of these factors affect the grade of the diamond in the order mentioned. Even if a diamond has several inclusions, if they are not eye-visible a diamond may still be graded as VVS.
All laboratories are also easily able to determine if clarity has been altered with laser drilling or treatments to the diamond. All reputable retailers disclose this information when selling diamonds.
VVS clarity diamonds are in high demand due to price, so they actually hold more value over time when compared to IF and FL diamonds.
Both VVS1 and VVS2 diamonds are considerably less expensive than FL or IF diamonds, but you'll still have a diamond that looks virtually identical to FL or IF diamonds.
The value of VVS diamonds appreciates over time. Actually, the sheer value of VVS clarity diamonds has appreciated higher than IF and FL diamonds over the last five to 10 years.
However, there is a big price difference between VVS grades, too. Of course the actual price of your VVS diamond will depend on whether you're looking at a VVS1 or VVS2 diamond, as well as where the diamond is graded based on the other 3Cs. VVS1 diamonds will differ somewhere around 25 percent. VVS1 diamonds being the more expensive of the two grades. The best part? You probably won't be able to tell the difference between the two.
The most common mistake people make when buying diamonds is they purchase a diamond with a clarity grade that is simply too high to appreciate in order to buy a "good investment."
Some diamonds are a retail product like any other, and based on resale value shouldn't be regarded as an investment.
In terms of clarity, no additional value is achieved for a higher clarity diamond that looks the same to the naked eye as a lower graded diamond. The only difference is that you will pay much more, sometimes in the thousands, for a higher clarity diamond that appears the same to you and the wearer. Always look for a diamond with the lowest clarity grade that is still clean to the naked eye.
When reviewing VVS diamonds, or any diamond for that matter, it is crucial to review each one thoroughly with high magnification. More importantly, though, is having an expert review the diamond and make a recommendation to you, so you don't spend on a characteristic that will go entirely unnoticed to the naked eye.
Only buy from a reputable retailer who can provide an authentic certification for your diamond from one of the reputable labs, like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The GIA is the most widely accepted and respected certification for diamonds, which you should always be able to view before you make a payment.
VS, or Very Slightly Included diamonds, of both the first and second degree (VS1 and VS2), contain a small number of inclusions when the diamond is being viewed under 10x magnification. Imperfections are more easily visible than those in VVS diamonds, but are still difficult to identify and locate under magnification.
Still, VVS diamonds do have smaller inclusions and less visible flaws than VS diamonds when both are evaluated with a microscope. The inclusions in VS diamonds will be easier to identify at this level of vision. The most common inclusions you'll see in VVS2 diamonds include cloud, pinpoint, feather and natural.
In addition to size, VS diamonds tend to have a higher number of inclusions, although not always. Because a clarity grade considers the size, location, color and number of inclusions, a VS Diamond doesn't necessarily mean it has more imperfections than a VVS. For example, a diamond's inclusions may be located more in the center of the crown or are larger in size. The most common VS1 inclusions include cloud, feather, needle, crystal and indented natural.
Overall, in most cases, the naked eye is unable to notice a difference between VS and VVS graded diamonds. Inclusions in both types of stones are almost always indistinguishable unless looked at carefully with 10x magnification or more.
In terms of price, VVS Diamonds are almost always priced considerably higher than VS, though multiple factors impact the price of a diamond like cut quality and color. In some cases, though, two otherwise equal diamonds could be priced differently by $1,000 or more based on clarity grade alone.
For this reason, we always recommend choosing a VS diamond (or lower) over a VVS diamond, because the difference between these two grades is unnoticeable to the naked eye. There is no reason to pay more for something that will go unnoticed. This is why we recommend finding an eye-clean diamond above all else. Each diamond's clarity should be reviewed thoroughly on its own merit.
Though it may seem like choosing a VVS (or even a VS diamond) is the right course of action in the vein of choosing the "best", the difference will go unnoticed to the naked eye. Because inclusions at these levels are only seen under 10x magnification or more, it's better to focus your efforts and wallet on identifying an eye-clean diamond.