The GIA clarity grades are used to rate how “included” a diamond is, a measure of how many imperfections exist inside the diamond and blemishes on the surface of the stone. The third highest clarity grade is VVS1 which stands for Very Very Slightly Included 1. While these diamonds are not considered “flawless”, the inclusions present within these diamonds are so tiny that even a skilled grader will have a difficult time locating them.
There are many types of imperfections and blemishes that can affect the clarity grade of a diamond, and some are less desirable than others. VVS1 diamonds have no inclusions that could be visible to the naked eye and only subtle blemishes, even when viewed through a 10x microscope lens. While these diamonds aren’t flawless, they’re still of significantly higher quality than most jewelers would recommend, as the imperfections are far too small to be seen by the human eye. However, sometimes these diamonds can become mispriced due to lack of demand and may actually cost much less than expected. It’s important to investigate pricing on higher clarity grades like VVS1 when searching for a stone, just in case you can “upgrade” your clarity for free by buying a VVS1 that is priced like a VS1 (VS1 is two grades lower than VVS1). StoneAlgo typically recommends that you target a VS2 clarity diamond to begin with and make sure to view images and videos of any diamond you plan on purchasing. Even if an online jeweler does not have images of a diamond listed on its site, you can contact their customer service to request that images and videos be e-mailed to you for evaluation.
Diamond buying is all about making small tradeoffs to maximize the criteria you care most about, whether that means getting the largest diamond or the highest quality stone (or somewhere in between) is a matter of preference that every buyer must determine. One thing you should know before you begin investigating tradeoffs is that going one grade lower in clarity will save you less than going one grade lower in color. It’s also important to consider that above a certain point, no one will be able to see the difference between a perfect diamond and a very good diamond unless they have a magnifying glass or a diamond of significantly higher quality to compare it to. We typically recommend you begin your search at I color, VS2 clarity and always see what the diamond market looks like for better or worse colors and clarities while requesting videos and images of every diamond you are interested in buying.
There are a lot of moving parts but generally speaking we try to maximize carat size for our given budget by sticking to the lower end of the color ranges we specified and searching for VS2 or better diamonds. SI1 diamonds are great if they’re eye clean, but they are a pain to find and often end up costing just as much as a VS2 diamond would. If you need one-on-one advice, we offer free support to all our users – simply drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org