VVS Diamond Buying Guide

By Michael Fried

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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 SI2 from Blue Nile or this stunning SI1 from James Allen that saves you 72% over a mediocre VVS2 like this or one like this from Blue Nile.

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?

Shopping for diamonds exposes you to a whole new set of acronyms and vocabulary. When it comes to VVS diamonds, we’re talking about Clarity. A diamond’s Clarity refers to the visual appearance of any inclusions and blemishes. By definition, VVS diamonds mean those that are Very Very Slightly Included.

Inclusions signify composition aspects like cavities or internal graining. Blemishes are imperfections like chips, scratches or dark spots. The fewer inclusions and blemishes, the better the Clarity grade.

The VVS grade is divided into two levels: VVS1 and VVS2, with VVS1 as the higher grade. Diamonds graded as VVS have such slight imperfections that even with a loupe tool or microscope, trained diamond professionals are unable to see them easily.

While Clarity can impact a diamond’s value and beauty, inclusions are primarily unrecognized by the naked eye in VVS Diamonds.

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

For a simple synopsis, the GIA uses this Diamond Clarity scale (from best to worst):

  • 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

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

VS, or Very Slightly Included Diamonds, of both the first and second degree (VS1 and VS2), contain a small number of inclusions when the diamond is being viewed under 10x magnification. Imperfections are more easily visible than those in VVS Diamonds, but are still difficult to identify and locate under magnification.

Still, VVS Diamonds do have smaller inclusions and less visible flaws than VS Diamonds when both are evaluated with a microscope. The inclusions in VS diamonds will be easier to identify at this level of vision.

In addition to size, 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.

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

In terms of price, VVS Diamonds are almost always priced considerably higher than VS, though multiple factors impact the price of a diamond—like Cut quality and Color. 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 pave setting costs $5,330 while this VS2 Emerald Diamond 14K white gold setting costs $3,830. Both appear clean to the naked eye.

For this reason, we always recommend choosing a VS Diamond (or lower) over a VVS Diamond, because the difference between these two grades is unnoticeable to the naked eye. There is no reason to pay more for something that will go unnoticed. This is why we recommend finding an eye-clean diamond above all else.

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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