Complete VVS Diamond Clarity Buying Guide
What are VVS clarity diamonds and are they a good value?
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What are VVS clarity diamonds and are they a good value?
VVS means Very Very Slightly Included. It is a measure of diamond clarity on the GIA clarity scale, which grades the visual appearance of a diamond, and how many flaws or blemishes there are. A VVS grade means the diamond has very small inclusions, difficult to notice even under 10x magnification.
Always buy VVS diamonds from reputable jewelers offering GIA certificates. When buying online make sure to purchase from retailers that have high quality images of the diamond.
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.
Everything else equal, VVS1 diamonds will cost about 10% more on than VVS2.
What are VVS diamonds?
How much does a VVS diamond cost?
What are VVS1 diamonds?
What are VVS2 diamonds?
What to look for when buying VVS diamonds?
What is the difference between a VVS and VS clarity diamond?
Bottom Line Recommendation
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.
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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.
If you are wondering what a VVS diamond would look like in an engagement ring, look at Simone Biles’s 3ct F VVS2 oval engagement ring.
In September 2019 Rapaport reported that the largest D color VVS diamond had been unveiled by Nemesis International. The “Constellation 1”, as it is known, is a 313 carat D color emerald shape diamond.
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. We explain more in our guide to how much diamonds are worth.
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.
To see where VVS diamonds rank on the diamond clarity scale, review GIA’s diamond grading charts.
Internally Flawless / Flawless – No internal or external imperfections. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare.
Here's an example of an FL/IF diamond
Very Very Slightly Included (1st Degree) – Diamond clarity inclusions rated VVS1 are not visible at all under 10x magnification.
Here's an example of an VVS1 diamond
Very Very Slightly Included (2nd Degree) – Diamond clarity inclusions rated VVS2 are sometimes just barely visible under 10x magnification (standard jeweler’s loupe). When they are visible, they are quite difficult to find and can often take quite a while to locate.
Here's an example of an VVS2 diamond
Very Slightly Included (1st Degree) – VS1 diamond clarity inclusions are just barely visible under 10x magnification (standard jeweler’s loupe). When looking for VS1 clarity inclusions with a loupe, it can sometimes take a good few seconds until the pinpoint is located.
Here's an example of an VS1 diamond
Very Slightly Included (2nd Degree) – VS2 clarity inclusions are almost always easily noticeable at 10x magnification (standard jeweler’s loupe). Occasionally, the inclusion will be located in a difficult-to-spot location, but otherwise, the inclusion is large enough that it can be spotted quickly under magnification.
Here's an example of an VS2 diamond
Slightly Included (1st Degree) – SI1 Clarity inclusions are easily found with a standard jeweler’s loupe at 10x magnification. With most shapes (to the exclusion of step cuts like Asscher and Emerald Cuts), SI1 clarity inclusions are almost always clean to the naked eye.
Here's an example of an SI1 diamond
Slightly Included (2nd Degree) – SI2 clarity inclusions are seen clearly and obviously with the help of a jeweler’s loupe. With step cuts like Emerald and Asscher cuts, an SI2 clarity inclusion will most likely be visible to the naked eye.
Here's an example of an SI2 diamond
Included (1st Degree) – I1 clarity inclusions are even more obvious and clearly seen than SI2 clarity inclusions. Most I1 inclusions are visible to the naked eye—even on brilliant cuts.
Here's an example of an I1 diamond
Included (2nd/3rd Degree) – I2/I3 clarity inclusions are even more obvious and clearly seen. Most I2/3 inclusions will encompass most of the diamond—even on brilliant cuts.
While this article addresses the technical grading and value of VVS clarity diamonds, that is not what we recommend focusing on when purchasing a diamond. In our opinion, a consumer’s goal should be to find the cheapest (in regards to clarity; other factors matter as well) “eye-clean” diamond you can find. We use “eye-clean” to describe diamonds that may have inclusions if you look at them with a magnifying glass (or microscope or loupe), but the typical person can’t see the inclusion with their naked eye.
We have recently developed Ringo, a patented artificial intelligence model, that can examine videos of diamonds and determine if they are eye-clean. Ringo will also filter for other parameters like making sure the diamond is well-cut, doesn’t have fluorescence issues and will match the style setting you choose.
If you want to select a diamond specifically for your personal needs (budget, shape and setting style), check it out here.
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.
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.
Diamonds with VVS2 clarity 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 from James Allen, 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.
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 by the naked eye.
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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 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, diamond 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.
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 diamond cut.
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.
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 James Allen 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.
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 by 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.
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