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May 9th 2022

The VS1 Clarity Diamond Guide

By Devin Jones

VS1 clarity diamonds are one of the most popular choices for fine jewelry shoppers, and for good reason. When buying a loose diamond for fine jewelry like a 2 carat engagement ring or a pair of stud earrings, you typically want to maximize size, sparkle, and overall beauty without overpaying for it.

This is where VS1 clarity comes in. VS1 clarity diamonds are a great option for most people because they balance quality and value.  VS1 diamonds should be totally eye clean, meaning you won't see any imperfections with the naked eye but they aren't completely flawless under intense magnification. With a VS1 diamond you should never be able to see any inclusions with your naked eye, and it should be difficult to find them when using 10x magnification (such as a jewelers loupe).

Check out these diamonds ranging from Flawless to SI2 clarity. At what point can you see imperfections in the diamonds below?

FL clarity diamond
IF clarity diamond
VVS1 clarity diamond
VVS2 clarity diamond
VS1 clarity diamond
VS2 clarity diamond
SI1 clarity diamond
SI2 clarity diamond

Click on each diamond for more details and videos

For most people, clarity is tough to discern until around SI1 clarity. Even then, most people can't pick out the imperfections (often referred to as "inclusions") unless they appear in an obvious location and are dark in color. Some inclusions are clean or white, while others look like black spots like those in the last image shown above (an SI2 clarity diamond).

For a VS1 diamond, you should never be able to pick out an inclusion with your naked eye. However, there can of course be exceptions to the rule. It is typically easier to see inclusions present in very large diamonds and in fancy cut diamonds that feature a large flat table (like a 5 carat emerald cut diamond for example).

What is VS1 Clarity?

VS1 clarity means a diamond is graded as "very slightly included 1". This grading designation falls below VVS2 clarity (very very slightly included 2) and above VS2 clarity graded stones. VS1 clarity is a good indication that the diamond should have only very minor imperfections, so minor that you can't see them with the naked eye. 

The GIA describes VS diamonds as having "inclusions that are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification"

As the Gemological Institute of America states in their description above, a skilled grader could pick out these inclusions iwth the aid of 10x magnification. Speaking from a lot of experience, it is difficult to pick out inclusions even with a jewelers loupe. Without the aid of magnification it's basically impossible until you reach SI2 or lower clarity.

VS1 vs VS2 Clarity Diamonds

VS1 is better than VS2 clarity, although some VS2 clarity diamonds may be so eye clean that they look identical to a VS1 clarity diamond. Both are part of the VS clarity diamonds class and are considered "very slightly included". VS2 clarity diamonds are still considered "slightly included" but do generally have worse or more obvious inclusions that VS1 clarity diamonds do. However, the higher quality of VS1 clarity diamonds comes at a price.

VS1 clarity diamondVS2 clarity diamond

Click for more details, videos, and prices of these VS1 and VS2 clarity diamonds

VS1 and VS2 clarity diamonds are both considered "very slightly included", but unlike VS1 clarity diamonds which are almost universally eye clean - some VS2 clarity diamonds are not totally eye clean or may have inclusions that you would rather avoid completely.

For example, if you see a VS2 clarity diamond with a cavity or indented natural listed as the first inclusion on the GIA Grading Report (referred to as the grade setting inclusion), you should probably avoid that diamond. Similarly, VS2 clarity diamonds can sometimes have dark inclusions on the table - typically an inclusion that will not appear eye clean.

With VS1 clarity diamonds you're pretty much guaranteed to get a great looking diamond without these sorts of annoying inclusions that may or may not be totally eye clean. For that reason a lot of online diamond shoppers tend to steer toward VS1 clarity diamonds. In fact, if you're committed to buying a VS1 clarity diamond there isn't much of a reason to evaluate the diamond in person since it's going to be 

VS1 Diamond Prices

VS1 diamond prices can range from $4,200 to $11,000 for 1 carat round diamonds. On the lower end of the spectrum, K color VS1 clarity diamonds are warmer colored stones (read: more yellow tint) that work best in a yellow gold or rose gold setting. On the more expensive end, D color VS1 clarity diamonds are totally white and work well in any color setting, but we'd typically recommend platinum or white gold.

VS1 clarity diamonds cost about 10% more than VS2 clarity diamonds. For example, a 1 carat G color VS1 clarity diamond costs about $9,400 while a 1 carat G color VS2 clarity diamond costs about $8,500.

Best Color Grades For VS1 Clarity Diamonds

If you're searching for a VS1 clarity diamond then you value quality but are also conscious of not overpaying for it. So it's no surprise that G color diamonds are the top pick for VS1 clarity diamond shoppers

G color VS1 clarity diamonds are a great choice for any diamond shopper looking for a high quality diamond without (totally) breaking the bank. Of course you could go up in color grade to D, E, or F color, or you could improve the clarity to VS or Flawless grades, but these upgrades will be lost on the average observer. What won't be lost is the increase in price.

The most popular diamond color grades for VS1 clarity diamonds according to StoneAlgo are:

  1. G Color VS1 Clarity Diamonds (28%)
  2. F Color VS1 Clarity Diamonds (19%)
  3. D Color VS1 Clarity Diamonds (14%)
  4. H Color VS1 Clarity Diamonds (12%)
  5. E Color VS1 Clarity Diamonds (11%)
  6. I Color VS1 Clarity Diamonds (10%)
  7. J Color VS1 Clarity Diamonds (6%)
  8. K Color VS1 Clarity Diamonds (2%)

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