VS vs VVS Diamond Clarity Explained
The clarity or ‘cleanliness’ of a diamond is one of the most important ways a gemstone is measured and priced.
Clarity measures your stone’s structural flaws. These flaws are often so microscopic you may not even notice them. Your diamond may be ‘eye clean,” meaning you cannot see any flaws, yet, nevertheless, it has minute imperfections which are only visible through a jeweler’s loupe or microscope.
What are “inclusions?”
Flaws or “inclusions” are created when structural irregularities, or tiny cracks called “feathers” appear during the formation of the diamond, regardless of whether it is a lab-grown diamond or a mined diamond. The flaws within the diamond itself are called “inclusions” and flaws on the outside of the diamond are called “blemishes,” and they are what make each gem totally unique. The least flawed or “included” diamonds are the most highly prized and therefore the most expensive.
It is the size, the location and visibility of these inclusions and blemishes that determine the final clarity grade of your diamond. A stone with obvious inclusions will look duller and less brilliant to the eye, so it is not as attractive. A FL (Flawless) diamond with no inclusions is rare and is highly prized, therefore will be more expensive.
The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades:
- Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
- Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for even a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor.
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification.
- Included (I1, I2, and I3)Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance.
What Is the Difference between VS and VVS clarity grades?
At Stefano Navi, we are often asked about the differences between VS and VVS graded stones, both of which are popular choices for our customers.
Here are the differences explained, bearing in mind that in BOTH VS and VVS grades, the inclusions or imperfections will be NOT visible to the naked, untrained eye, so you will not be able to see them:
VVS grades have very slight imperfections. These are so slight that even trained professionals cannot easily see them without a loupe or microscope. In this category, VVS1 is slightly cleaner than VVS2.
VS clarity diamonds have inclusions that are easier to see under 10x magnification, but they are still tiny. In this category, VS1 is slightly cleaner than VS2.
VS graded diamonds will typically have bigger inclusions than VVS graded ones. VS diamonds will typically have more imperfections than VVS graded stones.
So, it is the number and size of the imperfections that determine the difference between the two grades, again bearing in mind that YOU will not be able to see the difference.
Another point to make here is that MOST imperfections in VS and VVS graded stones occur closer to their periphery. What does this mean? It means that when you look at the stone from the top under a microscope, most flaws will not be detected around the center of the stone, which is its most important area from a visual standpoint.
Which Grade Should You Choose?
If both VS and VVS grades are similar, in that they are both ‘eye clean,’ which one should you choose? The answer is largely about price and re-sale value. If you want a great quality stone - and are prepared to pay more for it because it is for a diamond engagement ring or to celebrate an important milestone - you should opt for a diamond with VVS grading. A VVS graded stone is closer to perfect than a VS one, so if perfection at a higher price point is important to you, you should choose VVS.
If, on the other hand, you are limited because you have stay within a particular budget, a stone with VS grading will serve much the same purpose, with no visible difference between the two. The savings you might get with a VS diamond can also help you afford a better cut and color stone, because clarity alone is not the determining factor in gemstone quality.
The re-sale value of your ring will also be affected if you buy a VS vs a VVS stone, as the VVS stone will be more valuable.
We carry a magnificent selection of diamonds of both grades. Let us know what you are looking for and we will be delighted to help you choose the perfect one for you. Shop Stefano Navi Diamond Engagement Rings