VS2 Clarity: Our Expert Guide

By Michael Fried

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We recommend searching for a diamond with a VS1 to SI2 Clarity grade. A beautiful VS2 or VS1 diamond will look identical to a Flawless graded diamond, assuming all else is equal (yet will cost significantly less). 

As you increase in carat weight, and inevitably the size of your diamond, blemishes and inclusions may become more visible to the naked eye. For diamonds greater than 2.01 Carat, you may need to bump up to a VS1 or VVS2 Clarity grade for an eye-clean diamond. Review all potential diamonds closely to ensure that no blemishes or inclusions are noticeable by the naked eye.

For assistance in evaluating diamonds for their Clarity and other important features, contact our diamond experts.

What is VS2 Clarity?

In order to understand what a VS2 diamond is, it’s important to know the basics of Diamond Clarity. A diamond’s Clarity refers to the visual appearance of inclusions and blemishes. By definition, VS2 diamonds are stones that are Very Slightly Included. These inclusions are rarely noticeable to the naked eye, though.

Imperfections in diamonds are almost inevitable, based on their formation process. Diamonds face extreme heat of up to 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and are shaped in the earth’s mantle at 80-120 miles deep. While diamond growth takes between one and three billion years, only the rarest diamonds emerge in perfect condition. Most of the time, diamonds are imperfect and contain varying degrees of surface blemishes and internal inclusions.

The GIA grades Clarity on the following scale:

  • IF – Internally Flawless
  • VVS1 – Very Very Small Inclusions 1
  • VVS2 – Very Very Small Inclusions 2
  • VS1 – Very Small Inclusions 1
  • VS2 – Very Small Inclusions 2
  • SI1 – Small Inclusions 1
  • SI2 – Small Inclusions 2
  • I1 – Inclusions 1
  • I2 – Inclusions 2

VS2 Diamond inclusions are almost always easily noticed under 10x magnification (a standard jeweler’s loupe). In some cases, the inclusion is in a difficult-to-spot location. Most often, though, the inclusion is large enough that it can be spotted quickly under magnification. VS2 inclusions are hardly every noticeable to the naked eye, especially in diamonds less than 2.0 Carat.

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Should I Buy a VS2 Diamond?

Our countless years of diamond experience have shown us that VS1 and VS2 diamonds offer both excellent beauty and value. We generally recommend our readers look for VS1 and VS2 diamonds when searching for diamond rings and other fine jewelry. Most importantly, though, you want to be looking for a diamond that’s eye-clean.

The most common mistake people make is that they purchase a diamond with a Clarity grade that’s simply too high to appreciate. An eye-clean VS2 diamond will look identical to a Flawless graded diamond assuming all else is equal, but will cost far less.

As another example, this Round Cut 0.8 Carat Diamond is a VS1 clarity with an F Color. It costs $3,280. This Round Cut 0.8 Carat Diamond is graded a VVS2 for clarity with F Color, but costs $3,840. The VVS2 Diamond costs 17% more than the VS1 Diamond. Both diamonds are eye-clean. You can’t see any blemishes or inclusions with the naked eye. Choosing the VS1 Diamond will give you the same result as far as beauty, but again, will cost 17% less.

Take a look at these VS2 diamonds:

Each of these three diamonds are eye-clean at normal magnification. Any of these stones would make for a remarkable diamond ring or pendant.

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Diamonds of 2.0 Carat Weight and Greater

As you increase the Carat weight and inevitably the size of the diamond, inclusions can be more visible to the naked eye.

Some larger diamonds—even those with a high clarity grade like VS2 and VS1—are eye-clean. As an example, this 3.02 Diamond with a VS1 Clarity shows a dark inclusion near the center of the diamond’s surface. And this 4.05 Carat VS2 diamond contains noticeable surface blemishes.

In these larger carat weights, open your search to include VS2, VS1 and VVS2 diamonds. You’ll want to choose a diamond that’s eye-clean, no matter the grade. This stunning VVS2 diamond, for instance, is 3.01 carat and has no noticeable blemishes or inclusions. It’s likely you can find some eye-clean VS1 diamonds at 3.0 Carat, too, like this 3.31 Carat Round Cut.

With diamonds that are 1 or even 2 Carat, you can feel secure with a VS1 or VS2 grade. As you increase in Carat, though, be sure the diamond is clean of imperfections at the naked eye level. Without using any magnification aids, you shouldn’t be able to see any inclusions or flaws.

Diamonds with Step Cuts

Emerald Cuts and Asscher Cuts are Diamond Shapes with step cuts. Diamonds containing step cuts are either square or rectangular. They have many parallel facets, making it easier to see inclusions.

For Emerald, Asscher and Baguette diamonds, it’s best to look at each potential diamond using high-quality 360° photographs (like with James Allen’s gallery. Depending on your Carat weight, you may have to bump up to a VVS2 Clarity grade to get an eye-clean diamond with step cuts.

Examples of Undesirable VS2 Diamonds

inclusion plot for vs2 emerald cut

Inclusion plot from GIA report shows a concentration of clouds in the same vicinity.

As you’ll notice in the images above, an eye-clean diamond isn’t always guaranteed with the VS2 Clarity grade. An eye-clean stone is dependent on a few factors: the Cut quality (better light performance helps conceal imperfections), the color of the inclusions and the nature of the flaws.

As another example of questionable eye-clean status is this 1.01 Carat Princess Cut. It’s graded with Very Slightly Included 2 Clarity. The inclusion may be visible to your naked eye depending on your eye’s orientation to the diamond and the lighting conditions.

vs2 princess cut diamond

Princess Cut with dark inclusions under table facet.

Most importantly, be sure to review every diamond closely (no matter the Clarity grade) to ensure there are no noticeable imperfections. If you’d like assistance in selecting a diamond, please contact our Clarity experts.

Difference Between VS2 and VS1

It’s usually quite difficult to tell the difference between VS2 and VS1 diamonds, especially those that are 1.0 – 2.0 Carats.

For example, look at this VS2 Diamond then this VS1 Diamond. Do you notice the difference in their Clarity? Probably not, because even a diamond expert would have a difficult time telling their Clarity grades apart without using magnification. In order to notice the difference, you’d need a 10x magnification tool (and probably even specialty training).

In terms of their definitions, there are some difference between VS1 and VS2 Diamonds. A VS1 Clarity rating means minor inclusions are somewhat easily detected by a trained professional under 10X magnification. Without using magnification tools, you shouldn’t be able to see any inclusions or flaws with your naked eye.

VS2 Clarity means, on the other hand, that inclusions are almost always easily noticeable at 10x magnification. In most cases, the inclusion is large enough that it can be spotted quickly under magnification, although sometimes it’s difficult to spot.

While VS2 diamonds are usually eye-clean, some outliers exist, especially in larger-sized stones like 3, 4 and 5 Carat diamonds. These outliers often barely make it past the SI1 grade and contain inclusions visible to the naked eye. This is why we continue to stress the importance of reviewing magnified photographs and videos before any purchase. Reading a lab report will tell you the Clarity grade, but it won’t tell you if the diamond is eye-clean.

Because the difference between VS1 and VS2 is slight, we recommend looking for eye-clean VS2 diamonds with a carat weight less than 2.01. You won’t sacrifice any of the beauty, but you’ll save some of your budget for other important factors like Cut quality. As you increase in carat weight, you may want to consider VS1 diamonds or even VVS2 diamonds to ensure you get one that’s eye-clean.

Where to Buy a VS2 or VS1 Diamond

It’s essential to look closely at any diamond in order to evaluate its Clarity. You need to see if the diamond has visible blemishes and inclusions to the naked eye.

To watch for these imperfections, you need to review high-quality images. That’s why recommend online vendors who offer high-tech photography and videos.

At present, the only vendors that offer sufficiently high-quality images for reviewing Clarity are James Allen and Blue Nile. With their advanced technology, you can find diamonds like this stunning SI2 from Blue Nile that saves you almost 25% over a mediocre VS2 like this one from James Allen or this one from Blue Nile.

If you’d like assistance with Diamond Clarity or anything else, feel free to contact our experts. After helping thousands of readers, we have years of experience sifting through images and figuring out which diamond is eye-clean.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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