Diamond qualityTo understand what VVS means, first I have to tell you about the diamond quality. Diamonds come in all sorts, shapes, and prices. The quality of a diamond depends on the so-called 4 C’s of diamond valuation. These four C’s are carat, color, clarity, and cut. Carat is the weight of a diamond. It determines the size. A bigger carat means a higher value. The color of a diamond, or rather the lack of it, determines the color and the value. The whiter a diamond is, the more valuable. Clarity refers to the amount and the size of inclusions inside a diamond. If a diamond has no imperfections, we call it ‘(internally) flawless’. This is very close to VVS. The clearer the diamond, the more valuable. A diamond’s cut is the shape and the quality of it. This is the only C a diamond polisher has a direct influence on.
Diamond clarityPractically every natural diamond has imperfections in them. These imperfections are fractures, parts of carbon, or air bubbles. They can seriously affect a diamond’s sparkle. Around 70% of natural diamonds are so polluted that they are not even suitable for jewelry. These diamonds are used in mechanic tools and for other industrial purposes. The diamonds that are suitable for jewelry differ in clarity and quality. Official institutions such as the GIA determine the clarity of a diamond by means of a clarity grading scale.
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Clarity grading scaleThe different clarity options are:
- FL & IF means Internally Flawless. A perfect diamond without any flaws. A flawless diamond is rare and very, very, very valuable.
- VVS1 & VVS2 means Very Very Small inclusions. The diamond is nearly perfect with almost no visible flaws. Even with a 10x loupe, it’s almost impossible to spot the imperfections. VVS diamonds are extremely valuable and rare.
- VS1 & VS2 means Very Small inclusions. You can spot the imperfections with a 10x loupe, but only if you know where to look. VS diamonds are very valuable and quite rare.
- SI1 & SI2 means Small Inclusions or Slightly Included. SI diamonds have inclusions that you can see, but only with magnification. Probably most commercial diamonds have an SI clarity. We often consider them the ‘magic zone’ of getting the best quality for your money.
I1, 12 & I3 / PIQ1, PIQ2 & PIQ3 means Included or Imperfect. In Europe, we often use Piqué instead of Included, but they mean the same. These are diamonds with visible inclusions, easy to spot by the naked eye. We usually only recommend Pique or Included diamonds if you are on a tight budget or if you have your mind set on a specific diamond color, size or shape.
Difference between VVS1 and VVS2In the scale above, you see there are numbers (1 or 2) behind the different clarity grades. These numbers indicate the size and the place of the imperfections. The 1 means that the clarity is better than the 2. Especially for SI diamonds, these numbers make a difference. Imperfections in SI1 diamonds are smaller and harder to spot. Whereas in SI2 diamonds, you can sometimes see the imperfections without a loupe. But what about the difference between VVS1 and VVS2? Both have eenie meenie tiny imperfections that are invisible to the naked eye.
Location & sizeThe inclusions on both the VVS1 and the VVS2 diamond are very, very small. Usually, VVS1 diamonds have one or two imperfections that are off-center. VVS2 can have (a bit) more inclusions or imperfections that are closer to the table. The closer to the center, the more an imperfection hurts the sparkle. That is why VVS1 diamonds tend to be a bit pricier than VVS2 diamonds. But the untrained eye normally does not see the difference between a VVS1 and VVS2 diamond. Even with a microscope, an untrained individual cannot find the inclusions in either one of them.
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Colored diamonds with a VVS clarity
If you are looking for something extremely rare, there are also fancy colored diamonds with a VVS clarity. Fancy colored diamonds are diamonds with an intense color such as yellow, orange, blue, etcetera. Fancy colored diamonds are rare. VVS diamonds are also rare. As you can imagine, a fancy colored diamond with such a good clarity is very rare. It comes with a certain price tag. However, diamond clarity does not play as much of an important role in a fancy colored diamond as it does in colorless stones. For colored diamonds, the color and its intensity are more important than the clarity.
Why choose VVS diamonds?There are several reasons why some people prefer a VVS diamond. The most obvious reason is the sparkle. Diamonds with a better clarity sparkle more in general. And that is what you want: a sparkling diamond. But keep in mind that also the diamond cut influences the sparkle. A bad cut can dull even the clearest diamond. Another reason to choose VVS diamonds is the investment options. Because VVS diamonds are so extremely rare, they are investment-worthy.
Should I purchase a VVS diamond?VVS diamonds are very popular. But are they something for you? To help you make this decision, I put together a list of pros and cons.
Pro 1: VVS diamonds are almost flawlessOnly Internally Flawless and Flawless diamonds have a higher clarity grade than VVS diamonds. Moreover, even to the trained eye, VVS diamonds appear flawless. Even experienced diamond polishers and experts can have difficulties finding the impurities.
Pro 2: Any size, shape and color is suitable
Certain diamond shapes are more prow to show inclusions than others. Certain diamond cuts such as the brilliant don’t show imperfections so easily. But in other shapes, such as the Emerald cut, any imperfection is immediately visible. When you opt for a lower clarity grade, some diamond cuts may not make the cut.