The Diamond Pro

VVS Diamond Buying Guide

By Michael Fried
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Bottom Line Recommendation

An eye-clean diamond (of any grade) will look identical to VVS Diamonds assuming all else is equal (yet will cost far far less). Because inclusions and blemishes in both VVS and VS Diamonds are only visible at 10x magnification, we recommend choosing a VS Diamond (or lower) for maximum value without impacting an ounce of beauty.

Review each diamond thoroughly with high quality imaging, like that offered by James Allen and Blue Nile. With their technology, you can find diamonds like this gorgeous SI1 from Blue Nile that saves you 64% over a mediocre VVS diamond like this one.

If you’re not feeling confident, feel free to contact us. We’ve assisted thousands of readers with sifting through images to determine which diamonds are eye-clean.

What are VVS diamonds?

A VVS diamond is a very very slightly included diamond with tiny inclusions that can only be seen when under magnification. VVS diamonds are eye-clean—meaning you can’t see any blemishes with the naked eye. On the Clarity scale, VVS diamonds are one step away from an internally flawless (FL) diamond. 

You can get a VVS diamond from most jewelers, depending on their inventory and the shape of the diamond. Reputable online vendors like James Allen and Blue Nile have high-quality imagery of all diamonds. We recommend them because you can see an up-close image before buying a VVS diamond. These online vendors are also more affordable than bricks and mortar stores because online vendors have far lower overhead costs. 

When buying VVS diamonds, be aware that there are two levels: VVS1 and VVS2. VVS1 diamonds are less included than VVS2 diamonds and usually cost more. The inclusions on VVS1 diamonds aren’t visible under 10x magnification.

VVS2 inclusions are barely visible under 10x magnification but are still difficult to find. VVS2 inclusions are usually slightly more prominent or darker than those in VVS1 diamonds but the difference is negligible. For example, a VVS2 diamond might have a blemish closer to the center of the table, while a VVS1 diamond might have inclusions closer to the edge. Both VVS1 and VVS2 diamonds are eye-clean.

Like any diamond, the price of a VVS diamond depends on the Cut quality, Color, Shape and Carat Weight. The average price of a 1 Carat VVS1 round diamond with an H-I color is $5,500. The average cost of a 1 Carat VVS2 round diamond with an I color is $5,310. 

In general, VVS diamonds are more expensive than VS diamonds and significantly more expensive than SI diamonds. 

VVS Diamond Clarity

Very Very Slightly Included Diamonds rank third on the clarity scale (right after internally flawless and flawless diamonds). The VVS grade is divided into two levels: VVS1 and VVS2, with VVS1 being the higher grade.

VVS diamonds have such slight imperfections. Even with a jeweler’s loupe, trained professionals are unable to see the blemishes easily. This means that VVS diamonds are always eye-clean. When looking at the diamond without magnification, you can’t see any imperfections.

Because inclusions can’t be recognized by the naked eye in VVS diamonds, it’s best to go lower on the Clarity scale. You can get a lower-graded clarity diamond that’s still eye-clean for a much lower price. For instance, you can find a 0.7 Carat VS2 that costs $1,970 or a 0.7 Carat SI1 diamond that costs $1,730 that are both eye-clean. They cost less than a nearly identical 0.7 Carat VVS diamond priced at $2,060.

To see where VVS Diamonds rank on the Diamond Clarity scale, review our Diamond Clarity chart here.

Internally Flawless (IF)

Internally Flawless / Flawless – No internal or external imperfections. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare.

What are VVS1 Diamonds?

VVS1 Diamonds rank higher than VVS2 on the Diamond Clarity chart and are the closest to being an internally flawless diamond, which is incredibly rare. The inclusions found in VVS1 diamonds are not visible at all under 10x magnification. Only under a powerful microscope can any inclusions in a VVS1 be seen by a trained eye.

A few aspects of inclusions are reviewed when a lab professional is determining how to grade the diamond. For one, graders watch for the size of the inclusion. In other words, if the inclusion is larger and can be seen under 10x magnification, then the diamond would be categorized lower than VVS1. This VVS1 sample diamond demonstrates that VVS1 size inclusions aren’t visible at this level of magnification.

Graders also look for the number of inclusions in a diamond. The more inclusions that are readily seen—not necessarily the number that exist—the lower the grade.

As another element to evaluate, lab graders observe where the inclusion is located. Those found directly beneath the diamond’s table, for instance, will be more noticeable than those present in the pavilion and crown facets. The Color—light or dark—also plays a role in the level of Clarity.

VVS1 inclusions are not distinguishable to the naked eye. Diamonds graded as VVS1 appear entirely clean unless viewed by a professional under more than 10x magnification.

What are VVS2 Diamonds?

VVS2 Diamonds are those graded under the second degree of Very Very Slightly Included. Inclusions at this level are barely visible under 10x magnification—and that’s when it’s being evaluated by a professional. Even then, it generally takes ample time for a trained eye to locate the imperfections.

Similar to VVS1 Diamonds, VVS2s are graded on the size, number, color and location of inclusions. A central difference from VVS1 Diamonds is that VVS2 inclusions are visible from the crown when looked at under 10x magnification. To the naked eye, VVS2 Diamonds look identical to VVS1 diamonds and even Internally Flawless diamonds.

In this VVS2 sample stone, you can barely make out the VVS2 inclusions. A gemological microscope is generally required to identify a VVS2 inclusion. This is often due to the inclusion pattern consisting of a few separate VVS1 sized spots that collectively equal a VVS2 clarity grade (instead of one larger speck). Since each of the individual spots are too small to be seen with a jeweler’s loupe, one needs a powerful microscope to identify them.

What to Look for When Buying VVS Diamonds

The most common mistake people make when buying diamonds is they purchase a diamond with a clarity grade that is simply too high to appreciate—in order to buy a “good investment.”

Diamonds are a retail product like any other, and—based on resale value—shouldn’t be regarded as an investment.

In terms of Clarity, no additional value is achieved for a higher clarity diamond that looks the same to the naked eye as a lower graded diamond. The only difference is that you will pay much more, sometimes in the thousands, for a higher clarity diamond that appears the same to you and the wearer. Always look for a diamond with the lowest clarity grade that is still clean to the naked eye.

When reviewing VVS Diamonds, or any diamond for that matter, it is crucial to review each one thoroughly with high magnification, like that offered by James Allen. Their technology provides the best tool for evaluating Clarity, because of their ultra-high quality diamond photography. More importantly, though, is having an expert review the diamond and make a recommendation to you, so you don’t spend on a characteristic that will go entirely unnoticed to the naked eye.

Difference between VVS and VS clarity

The key differences between VVS and VS diamond clarity are the size, nature, number and location of inclusions. In general, VS diamonds have more inclusions than VVS diamonds and they might also be larger, darker or closer to the center of the table. Clarity grade is based on all characteristics of the inclusions, not just the quantity. VVS (Very Very Slightly Included) diamonds are a grade better than VS (Very Slightly Included) diamonds.

VS diamonds (both VS1 and VS2) contain a small number of inclusions when the diamond is viewed under 10x magnification. Imperfections are more easily visible than those in VVS diamonds, but are still usually difficult to identify under magnification.

VS Diamonds tend to have a higher number of inclusions, although not always. Because a clarity grade considers the size, location, color and number of inclusions, a VS diamond doesn’t necessarily mean it has more imperfections than a VVS. For example, a diamond’s inclusions may be located more in the center of the crown or are larger in size.

In most cases, the naked eye is unable to notice a difference between VS and VVS graded diamonds. Inclusions in both grades are almost always indistinguishable unless looked at carefully with 10x magnification.

VVS vs. VS Diamond Rings

VVS diamond rings have fewer inclusions than VS diamond rings, but both are eye-clean. When looking at both VS and VVS diamond rings, it’s difficult or impossible to see any imperfections.

A VVS diamond ring price will almost always be higher than a VS diamond ring if the Cut, Color and Carat are the same. In some cases, though, two otherwise equal diamonds could be priced differently by $1,000 or more based on Clarity grade alone. For example, this VVS2 emerald diamond in a platinum solitaire setting costs $4,385 while this VS1 emerald diamond 14K rose gold setting costs $3,485. Both appear clean to the naked eye.

While there are beautiful VVS diamond engagement rings, paying extra for a better clarity grade—when it will go unnoticed—is not money wisely spent. For this reason, we recommend a VS diamond (or lower) over a VVS diamond, because the difference between these two grades is unnoticeable. We recommend finding an eye-clean diamond above all else—no matter the clarity grade. More of your budget can then be spent on important areas like Cut quality.

Each diamond’s Clarity should be reviewed thoroughly on its own merit. If you’re unsure or not confident in this area, reach out to our experts who are happy to assist.

Conclusion

Though it may seem like choosing a VVS (or even a VS Diamond) is the right course of action—in the vein of choosing the “best”—the difference will go unnoticed to the naked eye. Because inclusions at these levels are only seen under 10x magnification or more, it’s better to focus your efforts and wallet on identifying an eye-clean diamond.

We recommend reviewing diamonds carefully for Clarity using high quality imaging, like the up-close photography provided by Blue Nile and James Allen.

If you’re uncertain about identifying an eye-clean diamond, contact us and we’ll be happy to review and evaluate diamonds for you.

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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