VS1 vs VVS2 Diamonds: Understanding How Clarity Affects Diamond Brilliance

The mesmerizing sparkle and timeless allure of diamonds have captivated human beings for centuries. A diamond's clarity contributes significantly to its overall beauty. Clarity refers to the presence or absence of internal and external flaws, known as inclusions and blemishes, respectively.
Making the most of your engagement ring budget involves balancing between what you feel you must have in terms of the 4C's of diamonds, and what you can compromise on.
Knife-Edge Solitaire Engagement Ring
Knife-Edge Solitaire Engagement Ring
One way to increase the carat or cut of your diamond is to sacrifice some clarity to make room for it.
As we discuss clarity, we'll refer to the Gemological Institute of America's clarity scale, which divides diamonds (natural or lab) into 11 grades, from Flawless to Included. The majority of gem diamonds fall somewhere between Very, Very Slightly Included, and Slightly Included.
Technically, VS1 vs VVS2 diamonds are only a clarity step apart. Which would be the best choice for you? Depending on what you absolutely must have for your diamond - and what you want to have, it all depends.
Here we will examine the intricate relationship between clarity and diamond brilliance, shedding light on how flaws can affect a diamond's visual appeal.

Understanding Diamond Clarity

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades diamond clarity on a scale ranging from Flawless (FL) to Included (I3). The clarity grade takes into account the size, type, position, and quantity of any flaws present within a diamond.
Flawless diamonds are extremely rare and possess no visible inclusions or blemishes under 10x magnification.
On the other end of the spectrum, Included diamonds have prominent flaws that may affect both appearance and durability.
Light performance imaging offers valuable information about diamonds that you might not find by visual inspection alone, regardless of whether you're evaluating them online or in person.
Using diagnostic tools like ASET, Ideal Scope, and Hearts and Arrows viewer, we can identify light leakage, optical symmetry faults, contrast issues, and other issues. Through high definition video, performance aspects such as scintillation and fire can be magnified and seen dynamically. And magnified HD video allows inspection of any clarity features that might be present. In conjunction with a laboratory report, diamond images can be used to determine a diamond's quality and beauty in a comprehensive manner.
If you would like to learn more, we have extensive education pages covering diamond clarity and the clarity grading process which can give you a detailed view of this fascinating feature of diamonds.

VS1 Clarity Diamonds

Clarity Grading Scale
Even a trained grader has some difficulty seeing anything in a VS1 at 10X magnification, since it is the top grade in the VS clarity bracket. In some cases, a diamond might lie between two grades - for example, a VS2 might be a borderline SI1.
By selecting a VS1, your diamond will be at the top of the 'Very Slightly Included' category, and will have no inclusions visible to the naked eye.
The first thing you might wonder if you are new to diamonds is why not simply choose the top tier grades (Flawless and Internally Flawless). This is a decision that most buyers have to make based on their budget. Because natural diamond pricing is based on rarity the elite clarity grades come with a significant premium. A VS1 diamond is eye-clean, so it appears exactly like a flawless diamond to the eye, but it costs much less - sometimes thousands of dollars less.
There are some purchasers who desire the rarity of the higher quality diamonds and believe they are well worth the extra cost, while others simply desire a diamond that sparkles beautifully within their budget. You have that opportunity with a VS1 clarity grade, which is a great all around clarity choice.
It's completely up to you what you decide - and we are right here if you need some help with your decision-making.

VVS2 Clarity Diamonds

A VVS2 is the lower tier of the VVS Diamond category, but place a VVS1 diamond next to a VVS2 diamond and to the naked eye it would be impossible to say which was the higher clarity diamond. Both would present with no visible inclusions. A gemologist would need to study the diamonds carefully under a microscope to see any difference.
With that said, VVS2 clarity diamonds sit at the upper end of the diamond clarity scale and are much higher than the average clarity grade for an engagement ring in the USA.
VVS2 diamonds are rare and when combined with an excellent cut and good color, they are truly spectacular.

VS1 vs VVS2: Differences in Clarity, Rarity & Price

The VVS2 grade (part of that range of very, very slightly inclusions) is awarded to diamonds that have very minor inclusions that are extremely small, and only visible under magnification. Even at 10x magnification, these inclusions are almost impossible to see. Clouds, pinpoints, and tiny feathers are the most common inclusions in VVS2 diamonds.
The inclusions in diamonds will appear differently depending on the cut. For example, brilliant cuts conceal inclusions better due to faceting, while step cuts, such as Emerald or Asscher, make inclusions more apparent.
For engagement rings or fine jewelry, VS1 diamonds are a wonderful choice if you are enamored with brilliant cuts. When it comes to diamond clarity grades, VS1 diamonds are among the most popular, so don't hesitate to take advantage of one if you find one that you love!
Among ‘collection quality' diamonds, VVS2 diamonds are considered the best value - and their brilliance will not be compromised. A VS1 diamond, on the other hand, will be less expensive than a VVS2 all other things being equal. However, color, cut, and diamond weight, will also affect your diamond's price.
At Whiteflash, we only offer diamonds that we believe will make dreams come true. Exceptional cuts, bright and brilliant, colorless and near colorless, and outstanding clarity can all go hand in hand with your budget!

How Clarity Affects Diamond Brilliance

Light Performance

Reflection and refraction of light directly affect a diamond's brilliance. As inclusions and blemishes impede light's path, they scatter or absorb it, reducing the overall brilliance. The higher the clarity of the diamond, the more light can pass through unhindered, resulting in exceptional brilliance and fire.


Transparency refers to a diamond's ability to transmit light without interference. Inclusions can disrupt the internal structure of a diamond, hindering the passage of light and diminishing transparency and can leave the diamond slightly hazy. Higher clarity diamonds with minimal or no inclusions have enhanced transparency, allowing light to pass through unobstructed and create stunning optical effects.
Some call them flaws while others call them beauty marks. Among the characteristics of diamond inclusions, there is a wide range, each as fascinating as the next. Inclusions are sometimes responsible for fancy-colored diamonds, such as white and black diamonds that are opaque or translucent.

Reflection and Refraction

Diamonds' brilliance is closely related to their ability to reflect and refract light. As light enters a diamond, it bounces off the facets and reflects and refracts within the stone, before exiting through the crown back to the eye and creating dazzling displays of light. When inclusions are present, this process can be disrupted, causing light to scatter rather than reflect and refract as effectively as it could.
With precision cut diamonds the higher the clarity grade, the greater the reflection and refraction of light, thereby increasing the diamond's brilliance and sparkle.
Many factors are required for a diamond to refract and reflect light beams and return them to the eye in a way that optimizes these beautiful optical effects. Proper proportions, facets aligned in 3D space, and polishing to a mirror are essential to the diamond's beauty.
A diamond must allow light to enter from multiple angles, be internally reflected, and return to the eye with minimal leakage for the most perfect sparkle.

Contrast and Scintillation

Scintillation is the result of the interplays between its light and dark areas when in motion. Contrast is a necessary element in this rapid blinking on and off that we experience as sparkle. Light leakage or inclusions that diminish contrast can interfere with the ability of a diamond to produce brilliance and fire.
The vivid play of light in diamonds with higher clarity grades typically attracts the eye with its purity and beautiful optics
The affordable price points of lab diamonds make them an excellent choice for many people looking for genuine diamond sparkle at a cheaper cost. At Whiteflash we leverage our longstanding expertise in diamond light performance to bring you best-in-class precision-cut lab grown diamonds in our Precision Lab brand.

Durability and Longevity

Simulated Diamond Clarity Grading Scale from FL to I3
Simulated Representation of the Diamond Clarity Scale
There is a direct correlation between clarity and the visual appeal and structural integrity of a diamond. For example, with I1, I2 and I3 clarity diamonds, there may be a higher risk of cracking or breaking in diamonds with significant inclusions.
The clarity of a diamond determines its durability and longevity, so you can enjoy its brilliance for decades to come.
Clarity plays an important role in determining a diamond's brilliance and overall appeal. Choosing a diamond should involve understanding how inclusions and blemishes affect light performance, transparency, reflection, refraction, and scintillation.
In order to purchase an ideal diamond, the challenge for most people is to strike the perfect balance between clarity and other factors, such as cut, color, and carat weight. Unless of course you have the budget for a D IF, then by all means go for it!
When choosing VS1 or VVS2 diamonds, you can't go wrong. However, it's always important to consider each stone individually when shopping for a diamond.
Both clarity grades will result in an eye-clean diamond - the differences are only visible under magnification (and you won't be looking at your diamond that way anyway). Thus, it really boils down to priorities: Do you place a high priority on a top clarity grade? Or would another eye clean clarity give you more budget to work with?
You don’t have to answer that alone. At Whiteflash, we believe cut is the most important feature that determines how a diamond appears.
Consulting with a reputable jeweler, such as Whiteflash, can provide valuable guidance in selecting a diamond that best suits your preferences and budget. Remember, each diamond possesses its unique charm, and finding the perfect balance will ensure a brilliant gem that stands the test of time.

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