A Guide to Buying SI1 Clarity Diamonds

Diamond clarity is an intriguing subject that serves as a reminder of the incredible journey a natural diamond makes from deep within the earth. Flawless and Internally Flawless diamonds are extremely rare and the majority of diamonds on the market will contain some degree of inclusions – the goal for a customer is ensuring those inclusions don’t impact upon the beauty or durability of the diamond.
A guiding factor when considering diamond clarity will be your budget. Customers considering SI1 clarity diamonds can reap all the visual benefits of an eye-clean diamond while keeping value and ensuring there is no compromise on more significant quality aspects such as Cut quality. Unlike VVS and most VS diamonds, choosing an SI1 clarity diamond does not guarantee an eye-clean diamond, so achieving the brilliance/budget balance requires more attention to detail. Fortunately, this guide will cover everything you need to know so you can shop for SI1 diamonds with confidence.

What is an SI1 Clarity Diamond?

The GIA clarity grading system contains 11 grades; the top grade is Flawless (FL), extremely rare diamonds that contain no visible blemishes or inclusions at a 10X magnification. An SI1 clarity is six places below this and defined as a diamond with inclusions that are noticeable at a 10X magnification. The AGS Laboratories combine this system with their own grade scale that runs from 0-10.
Clarity Grading Scale
The fascinating process of AGS diamond clarity grading is well worth looking into and is sure to give you an thorough understanding of the nuanced nature of clarity grading.
Before rushing in, it is important to understand that two diamonds holding an SI1 grading can look very different. The type of inclusion(s) and location will dictate how much of an impact it has on the appearance of a diamond and this information cannot be gleaned from the clarity grade alone. Grading a diamond for clarity is complex and involves many considerations. It takes highly skilled graders to assess the size, location, number, relief and type of inclusions. All must be factored in, and even then, there will be a degree of subjectivity. This is why the process requires multiple experts who must reach the same conclusion. Sometimes a diamond might be on the boundary of a grade (for example, just making a VS2 grade as opposed to an SI1) and this also causes disparity between diamonds with the same clarity grade.
It may sound confusing, but the bottom line from a buyer’s perspective is pretty simple; the diamond should be clean to the naked eye and fully transparent.

Finding an Eye-Clean SI1 Diamond

At Whiteflash, we define an eye-clean diamond as having no inclusions visible to the naked eye, in good lighting conditions, from an observation distance of around ten inches in the face-up direction. For higher grades (VS1 and above), it can be safely assumed that the diamond will be eye-clean. An SI1 requires a closer look.
Not all vendors have the same standards for an eye-clean diamond and this can lead to disappointment for buyers. When choosing an SI1 diamond, clarity should be assessed on a stone to stone basis to account for the variety of forms an SI1 diamond can take. This means that high-res diamond imaging and 360 HD videos are essential for an accurate assessment.
In addition to the diamond lab report, and the advanced diamond imaging and HD videos we post for each of our fully vetted in-house diamonds, we also provide customers with eye-clean information in the diamond’s details section. This means our diamond experts have carefully examined the diamond and have confirmed there are no inclusions visible to the naked eye or that negatively impact light return
Eye Clean Details
Our diamonds are in-stock, meaning they have been fully evaluated by Whiteflash gemologists and can be pulled for additional observation at any time. Want to know more about the diamond’s clarity characteristics? No problem, our diamond experts are on hand to provide more detail as and when you need it. This makes it easier than ever to find a sparkling, eye clean diamond with an SI1 grade - a service that few online vendors can provide.

Understanding Inclusions

With such a tiny fraction of flawless diamonds on the market and, of course, the high prices they command, inclusions are likely to be a part of the conversation for most people buying a diamond. The best place to start is by taking a look at the diamond inclusion plot in the lab report and familiarizing yourself with some of the types of inclusions.
GIA Inclusion Plot
Not every piece of information will be shown in the inclusion plot, but you will sometimes see extra detail offered in the additional “Comments” section. Certain comments can be an indication that a diamond requires further scrutiny. Clouds can sometimes be problematic when buying an SI1 diamond – despite an inclusion plot looking clear, a diamond with extensive clouds, graining or twinning wisps can have a hazy appearance that will diminish light performance. Our in-depth guide to cloudy diamonds tells you what red flags to look out for.
Some inclusions will compromise brilliance and even durability in a big way. Defining ‘the worst’ inclusion is subjective, but features like chips, naturals, and some feathers can be detrimental to the diamond’s structure and should be scrutinized carefully. Similarly, laser drill holes are an indication that a diamond is artificially enhanced to improve the appearance of inclusions.
Again, we must stress the benefit of in-stock diamonds. All our diamonds have been analyzed by Whiteflash gemologists to ensure that the diamond has no structurally significant inclusions or light diminishing characteristics.
You can find a full list of diamond inclusions and blemishes in our diamond glossary.

SI1 Diamond Prices

The appeal of a ‘clean’ diamond goes beyond light return. A beautifully cut SI1, VS2 or FL diamond can all deliver fantastic sparkle and optimal light return, yet the price difference between all three grades will be considerable.
Those buyers who aim for the top grades are factoring rarity into their decisions. Across Asia, diamonds of high clarity or ‘purity’ are by far the most popular, and these cultural preferences result in different decisions in how a diamond budget should be allocated. At Whiteflash, we believe the perfect diamond is the one that is perfect for you, whatever preferences you may have.
Whether you are working to a modest budget, or simply do not wish to spend extra money on things the eye cannot see, an SI1 diamond can be a great way to get the best of both worlds.
This gorgeous 1.01ct G-SI1 round brilliant is part of our internationally acclaimed A CUT ABOVE® brand of super-ideal cut diamonds. It displays perfect hearts and arrows, and the sublime cut unleashes an incredible amount of fire and brilliance. It is eye clean with beautiful proportions. The price is $7,222.
A diamond with the same specs but a VS2 clarity would be around $8,500 (this 1.018ct G-VS2 is a beautiful example of this). As you can see from this comparison, just one grade up in clarity can have a big impact on the price of a diamond. For some customers, this price increase for such a small visual difference is not worth it. For others, hitting the top grades in all areas is an important part of the selection process.

Our Top Tips for Buying an SI1 Clarity Diamond

These are our recommendations for finding a stunning, eye-clean SI1 diamond:
  • Diamond imaging is essential. You need to observe the inclusions with your own eyes and high-res images, HD Video and light performance images are the easiest and most accurate way to do this.
  • Become familiar with diamond inclusion plots, but understand that they are not a definitive way of telling how clear a diamond will appear. Use our diamond details section to quickly ascertain whether the diamond is eye clean.
  • Ideal cut round brilliants are excellent at concealing inclusions. The facet patterning of a round brilliant creates powerful scintillation and a super-ideal cut ensures maximum light return – all perfect for ensuring a diamond is as beautiful as it possibly can be.
  • Go for the best Cut quality possible. Cut is the most important aspect of diamond beauty.
  • Choose diamonds with an AGS or GIA laboratory report for the most accurate and reliable grading.
  • In-stock diamonds bring an assurance that in-house experts have analyzed the diamond for any problematic inclusions. We pride ourselves on offering the highest quality diamonds that have been subject to rigorous examination and can be physically reviewed at any time to give our customers further confidence.
  • Inclusions positioned towards the edges of the diamond can be advantageous. Even if visible to the naked eye, they can sometimes be concealed in the mounting under a prong or bezel.
Using these steps, you can find a stunning, SI1 clarity diamond that delivers a knock-out sparkle and appears to the naked eye to be utterly flawless.

Browse our in-house selection of AGS and GIA certified diamonds

 

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