Eye-clean diamonds are sought-after by jewelers and luxury consumers due to their blemish- or inclusion-free clarity to the naked eye. Some imperfections are present, but they won’t be visible unless you inspect your diamonds under a microscope.
Knowing how to spot an eye-clean diamond at a lower clarity grade, such as a VS2 or SI1, can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars when shopping for an engagement ring or any piece of diamond jewelry. You will pay far less than you would for a higher-graded diamond (IF diamonds), but still acquire one that’s eye-clean and stunning. They look identical and you won’t need to break the bank.
How to Spot Eye-Clean Diamonds
If you want to learn how to find eye-clean diamonds at the lowest price point, here’s a quick and easy guide to follow.
- Check the diamond’s clarity grade, but it shouldn’t be your only focus
Before we begin sharing experts tips on finding eye-clean diamonds, for your reference, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades clarity based on this scale:
- Flawless (FL)
- Internally Flawless (IF)
- Very Very Small Inclusions 1 (VVS1)
- Very Very Small Inclusions 2 (VVS2)
- Very Small Inclusions 1 (VS1)
- Very Small Inclusions 2 (VS2)
- Small Inclusions 1 (SI1)
- Small Inclusions 2 (SI2)
- Inclusions 1 (I1)
- Inclusions 2 (I2)
- Inclusions 3 (I3)
While grades from the GIA and American Gem Society (AGS) are important, they are not the only instrument you should use to evaluate a diamond. In general, a diamond in the SI and VS ranges provides the best value for an eye-clean diamond.
If a jewelry store presents you with a VVS, FL, or IF diamond, you might be paying too much for clarity. Unless you’re looking for a diamond with 3 carats or more, then a VVS diamond might give you the best value. These are the higher grades, and you can usually come across an eye-clean diamond that costs less. Meanwhile, I1-I3 diamonds have too many imperfections to be eye-clean in any carat weight above 0.4ct.
- Examine the diamond closely
Some online vendors like TheRelux.com provide quality, up-close images of every diamond in their inventory. Review the photographs thoroughly to see if you notice any blemishes and inclusions. If you’re not satisfied with the pictures available, contact the vendor and request higher-quality images or videos of the piece you have in mind. TheRelux.com also allows you to zoom in and see where the inclusions are, but keep in mind that you, or anyone you know, won’t be looking at the diamond under magnification.
If you’re shopping for diamond jewelry in person, ask if you can review the diamond in daylight or close to a window to check for any imperfections.
- Take note of where the inclusions are
If the inclusions are near a loose diamond’s edges, setting it in jewelry can help cover them. If a dark blemish is in the middle of a diamond’s table, it can’t be hidden and the inclusion will be noticeable to the naked eye.
- Consider the lowest grade
Though FI and FL diamonds seem like the best choice, they are not worth the cost if you’re on a budget. Higher-graded diamonds look similar to lower-graded diamonds as long as they’re both eye-clean.
- Ask for another pair of eyes, preferably a professional’s
Evaluating a diamond’s clarity can be tricky, especially for first-timers. Seeking guidance from a professional who has reviewed hundreds or even thousands of diamonds can go a long way in helping you choose an eye-clean diamond.
Do you own any diamond jewelry? Drop by our office in Scottsdale or Phoenix, AZ to determine your gemstone’s clarity grade and current market value.
Best Clarity Grades for Eye-Clean Diamonds
The cut and carat weight of your diamond plays a significant role in making it eye-clean. Follow these guidelines to get the best value.
- Round and princess cut. Less than 2 carats, VS2 and SI1 diamonds are often eye-clean (sometimes even SI2s for a round cut). 2 carats, VS1s and VS2s diamonds are eye-clean. When the weight is more than 3 carats, consider VVS2 diamonds to get an eye-clean stone. The bigger a diamond is (carat weight can be a contributor), the easier it is to see inclusions.
- Cushion, oval, marquise, pear-shaped, and radiant cut. These diamond shapes are the best at hiding inclusions. Opt for an SI1 or SI2 to get the most value.
- Heart-shaped cut. SI1 and VS2 heart-shaped diamonds are eye-clean and offer you the most value for your budget. The shape hides inclusions better than round and princess cuts, but not as well as the cushion cut.
- Emerald, asscher, and baguette cut. It’s much easier to see inclusions in diamonds with a square or rectangular shape. For the best value, aim for a VS2 in these shapes.
Learn more about the different types of diamond cuts here.
FAQs About Eye-Clean Diamonds
Examining diamonds to get the best possible bang for your buck takes time and research. Allow us to answer two of the most frequently asked questions about eye-clean diamonds.
- What’s the worst diamond inclusion?
Diamond inclusions that are large, dark, or in the center of the stone’s table are the worst kinds, as they are visible to the naked eye.
- Do real diamonds get cloudy?
A cluster of smaller inclusions can make a real diamond appear cloudy. Genuine diamonds can also appear dull if the gemstone’s fluorescence is too strong. In addition, the build-up of grime and residue from daily wear can affect a diamond’s clarity and brilliance. As such, it’s important to take good care of your diamond jewelry. Check out this guide to properly caring for diamonds to ensure your pieces stay clean, lustrous, and damage-free.
Bottom Line: Aim for the Lowest Clarity Grade
When it comes to diamond clarity, set your goal to eye-clean. A low-graded, eye-clean diamond looks identical to an IF or FL diamond, assuming all else is equal, plus it will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
For professional help with detecting inclusions and finding an eye-clean diamond, visit our office today. If you’re looking to sell or acquire a collateral loan, Biltmore Loan and Jewelry also offers competitive prices for loose gems and diamond jewelry of any carat weight.