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VVS Diamond Clarity Explained

Diamond clarity is one of the classic 4Cs of diamond quality. (Cut, Clarity, Colour, Carat – weight). Diamond cut and clarity both affect the sparkle and brilliance of a diamond. Clarity is intrinsic to the stone and is therefore not under the direct control of the diamond cutter's skill.

Clarity is usually measured according to a grading scale devised by the Gemological Institute of America and, with modifications, used by almost all other grading laboratories. There are 11 grades of clarity in this scale and VVS, with its sub-grades of VVS1 and VVS2 are the 3rd and 4th levels of clarity behind Flawless (FL) and Internally Flawless (IF).

VVS graded diamonds are, for most people, the highest-grade diamonds that are worthy of consideration. FL and IF graded gems are so rare that their cost makes them unattainable.

What IS A VVS Diamond?

In the briefest of terms, a VVS diamond is 'almost perfect'. VVS stands for 'Very slightly included' the two subgrades VVS1 and VVS2 are very similar but refer to the positioning of the internal flaws. The surface of the diamond should have only the very slightest of surface blemishes that are unseen by the naked eye.

The flaws in a VVS diamond are so minuscule that even a trained gemologist can be expected to have difficulty in locating them. Expect to need ideal lighting conditions, professional equipment, plenty of time, and the assistance of a skilled gemologist. That is the only way you will see the flaws in a VVS diamond graded by a leading gemological grading laboratory such as the GIA.

Differences Between VVS1 and VVS2 Diamonds

A VVS1 diamond will have minute inclusions that are difficult for even a skilled diamond grader or gemologist to see under 10x magnification. A VVS1 diamond’s flaws will only ever be visible from underneath the diamond, that is looking upward from the culet (the bottom facet or point) upward to the top of the diamond.

A VVS2 diamond will have similar size flaws as a VVS1 stone, but these can be seen from the top of the diamond looking down toward the table (the top flat facet).

Neither grade of diamond will ever have any flaws that are visible to the naked eye, but that is true of most diamonds with a grade above VS2. A well-chosen and cut diamond of lower grade will have an appearance that is in no way inferior to that of a VVS diamond. The rarity of VVS diamonds ensures that they have a very high price compared to lower clarity grade diamonds.

VVS Grade Diamonds And Sparkle

Most of the sparkle and brilliance in a diamond is the result of the diamond cutter’s skill and how he shapes and cuts the facets into the diamond on which he is working. The clarity of the diamond has almost no impact upon the sparkle of the stone except in cases where the clarity is very low: I1, I2 or I3. In such diamonds, the internal flaws can interfere with internal reflections reducing sparkle. Many good jewellers do not even sell I2 or I3 diamonds.

As long as a VV1 and VS2 diamond are equally well cut, then both stones will have equal brilliance and sparkle.

When choosing your diamond, do not compromiseon the quality of the cut to buy a VVS graded diamond, the cutting quality is the most critical aspect.

When Should You Buy A VVS Graded Diamond?

There are some occasions when a VVS diamond might be worth buying as opposed to a lower grade:

  1. Supply of fancy cut diamonds such as heart shapes can sometimes be limited in the size and quality that you prefer. In such a case, and where time is of the essence, then choosing to pay the premium of a VVS grade diamond might be worthwhile.
  2. Although historically, diamonds are a poor investment, some people like to invest in diamonds as a form of readily portable wealth. The rarity of VVS stones ensures that there will always be a premium for natural, almost flawless, diamonds.

  1. A VVS diamond may be worth consideration in cases where you are choosing a large and, or, a fancy colour. Extending your range to include VVS diamonds will increase your buying options.
  2. It might be that you simply want to buy a VVS diamond because you are a purist, or possibly for symbolic reasons. These are non-monetary reasons. Given the available budget, there is no good reason not to indulge oneself in a beautiful thing that one knows is almost as good as one can get.

A VVS diamond is as close to perfection in a natural gemstone as most people will ever be able to attain. FL and IF graded diamonds form less than 1% of the diamonds sold as jewellery and are priced accordingly. Incidentally, only about 20% of diamonds mined are considered to be of good enough quality tobe used in jewellery at any price. That places the rarity of high-quality diamonds into context; they are truly rare!

Do not allow yourself to be misled by a diamond seller that you need a VVS diamond to get the best sparkle from a diamond that is simply untrue. Do not fall for claims about investment value; the resale price of a diamond will almost always be lower than the price you paid. On the other hand, a diamond is small and easily carried, and that might have its advantages.

When you check the GIA grading report and see the diagram showing the position of internal flaws do not expect to be able to see them! The imperfections will be minuscule!

When you choose a VVS diamond, whether a VVS1 or VVS2 you are buying the best. Nobody but you will ever know that your diamonds are VVS rather than VS (unless you tell them!). You will have the sense that YOU know what you have and that can be a great feeling! Owning the best of almost anything is an invisible and private pleasure!

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