What Are the Main Diamond Clarity Grades?
Diamond clarity is graded by evaluating the number, position and visibility of internal and external flaws in a diamond.
The G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America) grades clarity using six main categories: Flawless (FL), Internally Flawless (IF), Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS), Very Slightly Included (VS), Slightly Included (SI), and Included (I).
What Is VVS Clarity?
VVS stands for “Very, Very Slightly Included” and is the next best clarity grade after Internally Flawless.
Diamonds graded “VVS” have inclusions that are so slight that even a trained gemologist has a hard time seeing them under a 10x loupe.
The VVS category can be split further into two grades: VVS1 (the higher grade) and VVS2. Click here to see a selection of VVS1/VVS2 diamonds and their current prices.
These two sub-categories may differ in designation and definition, but in reality, a consumer who is not an expert will not see any difference between them with the unaided eye.
Shopping for VVS Clarity
VVS is a great clarity to have if you don’t want to pay for Flawless or Internally Flawless diamonds. Stones graded FL and IF are extremely rare and for this reason, very expensive.
In many jewelry stores, VVS-clarity diamonds are the best stones you can see because a lot of shops don’t carry FL or IF diamonds.
VVS-clarity diamonds have top-notch brilliance and sparkle as these stones have very few and small imperfections. As a result, light enters such diamonds virtually unobstructed.
If you cannot afford a Flawless diamond, you shouldn’t worry because VVS clarity is a more than adequate replacement. It is unlikely that anyone would notice the difference between an FL and a VVS stone – at least not without magnification and experience in making out tiny flaws.
The only time a VVS stone can be visibly differentiated from higher graded ones is when it is put next to FL and IF diamonds. Then you would be able to see a slight difference, but you would still have to look hard. And when you are wearing your diamond, nobody will be able to compare it to a clearer stone.
Lastly, if you are debating between VVS1 and VVS2 diamonds, you should know that the difference between them will amount to a couple of small pinpoint inclusions or specks. So, if you cannot see any visible difference, buy the cheaper option.
VVS Clarity vs. VS Clarity
VS clarity is the next grade after VVS. Generally, the difference between the two comes down to the number and size of inclusions.
A VS diamond will have more flaws, but what makes the biggest difference in terms of visibility is the size of these inclusions – VVS diamonds have smaller flaws than VS ones.
To keep things in perspective, however, you should remember that we are talking about differences that can be established under a microscope.
If you cannot make out a big difference in appearance with the naked eye, pick the stone that gets you the best deal.
And as a final note, don’t forget to also consider the cut and color of the stone. No matter how high a diamond’s clarity is, its brilliance will be severely diminished if the cut is poor and makes the light entering the stone leak out.
And if a diamond’s color is also low grade, it can make the clearest stone look duller than a nearly colorless diamond that has more visible inclusions.