Of all the 4Cs of diamond quality (Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat) it is cut that makes a diamond sparkle and gives the stone its brilliance. The clarity of a diamond supports the cut, releasing the potential of the diamond cutter's skill.
Clarity is about the flaws on the diamond's surface and inside it. There are two types of flaw, internal flaws called inclusions, and surface flaws called blemishes. Different kinds of flaws can be more, or less noticeable than others, but feathers which are small cracks and black crystals inside the gem are among the most common and conspicuous.
Clarity is the part of the specification of the diamond that gives you the best opportunity to save some money. The VS2 clarity grade is, for many buyers, the sweet spot offering the best value for money. This article explains why that is the case and how to choose the best VS2 diamond for your needs.
What is a VS2 Diamond?
A VS diamond is one that is very slightly included. There may be a single internal flaw or several smaller ones, but they will only be visible under 10x magnification and usually not to the naked eye. Compared to a VS1 diamond the inclusions in a VS2 grade diamond may be slightly larger or closer to the centre of the table facet (the top, flat facet of the diamond) making them somewhat more apparent, under magnification, than in a VS1 diamond.
You should expect that a VS2 diamond will usually be 'eye-clean', that is, to the naked eye the diamond will appear flawless.
The Diamond Buying Secrets That Can Save Hundreds of Pounds!
The idea of having a flawless diamond, one that has no defects even under magnification is a great one. Such perfect diamonds, carrying a grade of FL (flawless) are rare, only around 1% of diamonds are this perfect and therefore very expensive.
The big secret that most people outside the jewellery business don't know is that if you can't see the flaws, there's no practical difference between a VS2 diamond and an FL diamond, apart from the price!
You can save money by buying a VS2 graded diamond and buy a larger, better cut gem!
The Second Secret Of Diamond Jewellery
Clarity has almost no effect upon the sparkle and brilliance of a diamond. It is the quality of the cutting, the way that the facets are made, that gives a diamond its sparkle and brilliance. Only if buying a very cheap diamond with many and visible inclusions can the internal reflections be affected enough to make a diamond look less brilliant. No VS2 diamond can have such an effect. A diamond poor enough to affect the sparkle and brilliance would be graded I2 or I3, and most jewellers do not even sell such low-grade gems.
Why Buy VS2 Rather Than VS1?
VS2 diamonds will have slightly more inclusions, and they might be in a more prominent position than a VS1 diamond. Both grades should be eye-clean, meaning that for practical purposes, they should look the same when set into a piece of jewellery. The VS1 diamond will cost significantly more than the VS2, making it a less good value for money.
When Should You Buy A VS1 Diamond?
Although a VS2 diamond is always going to be better value for money compared to an otherwise identically graded VS1, there are times when choosing a VS1 might be a better bet. If you are buying a diamond, over 2 carats weight, then a VS1 diamond might be a better choice because the larger facets of the larger stone might make the inclusions more noticeable.
If you are buying a step-cut diamond such as emerald, asscher or baguette with fewer facets and less brilliance than shapes such as the round, then a VS1 might be better. Diamond shapes with few facets and larger surfaces tend to enhance the visibility of inclusions. The brilliance of round and similar shape diamonds is excellent at hiding any flaws in the stone.
VS2 Diamond Buying Tips
Now that you know about VS2 diamonds and why they are a great value choice for most diamond jewellery, there are some tips to make the buying process easier and help you make a perfect choice.
If buying from a brick and mortar jeweller always check that the particular diamond you are buying has no surprises. Look down into the top of the diamond using a jeweller's loupe to see the stone under magnification. If you can see inclusions near the centre of the diamond, ask to see another gem.
When buying online, choose retailers that provide high-quality images of the diamonds they are selling. Use the pictures and videos to make your choices in the same way that you would with a conventional jeweller.
Make sure that your diamond has a certificate from a reputable diamond grading lab such as the GIA or AGS. Other gemmological labs may be laxer in their grading standards, or if the grading is provided by the jeweller, it may not be reliable. This means that a diamond which, from its grade, might be expected to be eye-clean might not be and would have been graded by the GIA as an I1 or I2 gem.
Final Thoughts Buying a VS2 Grade Diamond
You will not go far wrong when you buy a VS2 diamond. In most cases, the stone will look just as good as a higher grade one but will cost far less. Remember, an eye-clean diamond is the desired goal. The savings you make by careful choices here can be used to buy a bigger diamond, better cut or whiter colour.