Should you Buy SI2 Clarity Diamonds?

For some customers, choosing an SI2 clarity diamond can offer the opportunity to own a beautiful diamond for very good value. One of the benefits of buying a diamond online is the opportunity to take the time to weigh different diamond qualities, and understand the benefits and trade-offs involved in finding the best value for your taste and budget.
However, this balancing act does require some diamond education in order to be successful, particularly for lower grades. If you are shopping for a natural SI2 diamond that delivers plenty of fire and brilliance, or if you might be inclined towards a lab grown diamond to get more for your diamond dollar, this guide will help you to make informed choices and bring you a step closer to the SI2 diamond of your dreams.
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What is an SI2 Clarity Diamond?

The clarity grading system was created by the GIA. It is comprised of 8 upper grades; IF, FL, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1 and SI2. There are also grades below this (I1, I2 and I3) but these are grades can have compromised beauty and durability and are generally unsuitable for fine jewelry. The process of diamond grading is complex and requires multiple experts working in laboratory environments to observe the size, number, type, relief and location of the inclusions before reaching a final grade.
The very top flawless grades (FL and IF) are extremely rare and often considered ‘collectable’. In fact FL-VVS DEF are referred to by diamond dealers as ‘collection goods’, while the most popular grades are a VS1 or VS2. The AGS has their own clarity grading system; the image below shows how it corresponds with the GIA grades:
Clarity grading scale
An SI clarity diamond is defined by the GIA as possessing: Inclusions noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification’. An SI2 is the lower end of the SI bracket, meaning it is more likely to contain problematic inclusions.
Though the description may not sound too concerning (the average buyer is not, after all, a skilled grader looking through a 10x magnification loupe), SI2 diamonds often contain inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. They may also contain inclusions that affect the durability or transparency of the diamond causing diminished light performance. All of this results in a diamond that lacks the fantastic sparkle that buyers are looking for.
The ultimate goal for most shoppers is to find a brilliant diamond that is eye-clean and fully transparent.

Eye-Clean SI2 Diamonds

An eye-clean diamond is a diamond that has no inclusions visible to the naked eye. At Whiteflash, we have specific guidelines for determining eye clean which are as follows:
‘No inclusions visible to the naked eye of a person with 20/20 vision when viewing the diamond in the face-up position at a distance of approximately 10 inches under normal overhead lighting’ (read more about defining eye clean diamonds).
Not all companies use the same level of scrutiny to define an eye-clean diamond and this can make it challenging for buyers to make informed decisions. If a seller does not show you an exact breakdown of how they test for an ‘eye-clean’ diamond, you must investigate this yourself using a jewelers loupe, or better still, high res diamond imaging and HD Video which we provide on all diamonds.
It is estimated that around 70% of SI2 diamonds are not eye-clean. This makes the task of finding a beautiful diamond much more challenging, but thanks to the evolution of diamond imaging, it is possible.

Choosing an SI2 Diamond

In-stock diamonds: The first thing that we need to mention here is the benefit of in-stock diamonds. Our in-stock diamonds have all been thoroughly analyzed by the top laboratories and by the Whiteflash gemological team (who determine whether or not the diamond is eye-clean among other things). Because they are in-house these diamonds can be pulled at any time for consultations about specific questions regarding the nature of the inclusions. This means you have the option to get an expert opinion on any in-stock diamond at any time. Many vendors will post large inventories of diamonds to their website that they do not own and are not physically in their possession. The descriptions of diamond quality based solely on the diamond report do not give you the full picture of quality. For SI2 diamonds, which are at the lowest reasonable point on the clarity grading scale, having the option for additional observation by a diamond expert will prove invaluable to your search.
Understanding inclusions: Inclusions are present in most diamonds, but as you move down the clarity grades, the potential for greater numbers, greater size, or more problematic inclusions increases. The issues are not only visual. In the worst cases, inclusions can make a diamond more prone to chipping and shattering. There is no definitive ranking of the ‘worst’ inclusions but chips and feathers can sometimes compromise the integrity of a diamond, and laser drill holes suggest artificial enhancement of the diamond’s clarity. If you are unsure in determining whether or not an inclusion is going to compromise the beauty or durability of a diamond, get advice from our friendly in house experts.
High-res images: We may sound like a broken record, but high-res images and videos are the best way to get a close look at inclusions and blemishes. They are also the best way to view a diamond in general. They are essential for SI2 diamonds which are unlikely to be eye-clean.
Inclusion plot graphs: An inclusion plot on a laboratory report indicates the type of inclusion in a diamond, its size, and its location. There is also an ‘additional comments’ section and it is important to pay special attention to this when looking at SI2 diamonds. These comments may indicate that a diamond requires more scrutiny. Sometimes the plot will look very clean – this means you must investigate why the diamond has been given an SI2 grade. In particular, look out for mentions of clouds – In the SI range they can sometimes give diamonds a hazy, milky appearance that limits light return and brilliance. Our in-depth guide to cloudy diamonds tells you what red flags to look out for.

SI2 Diamond Prices

Across the internet and indeed in traditional jewelry stores, you are likely to see SI2 diamonds being promoted as a bargain option for buyers. Do not forget that an SI2 diamond may be on the very borderline of I1, and an I1 is not recommended for fine jewelry. This means you need to look for a top SI2 diamond without performance issues. Standards are often overlooked by companies looking to sell SI2 diamonds.
We do not stock a large selection of SI2 diamonds as we are very particular about the diamonds that will carry the Whiteflash name. However, you will usually find a few specially selected SI2 diamonds across our in- house collections. Though prices on top SI2 diamonds are naturally a bit higher than average, because they are rigorously vetted, you can be assured that any SI2 we offer is free of any significant deficits in performance or durability issues.

Should I Buy a Lab Grown Diamond?

Modern technology has recently presented diamond buyers with a new and very affordable alternative – laboratory grown diamonds. These are real diamonds with essentially the same physical, chemical and optical properties as natural diamonds. Because they are produced in quantity in factories, they are much less expensive.
For shoppers on a budget and trying to get the most “bling for the buck”, lab diamonds are definitely an option to consider. Instead of sacrificing too much in terms of clarity grade or light performance, a lab diamond gives you the ability to get a bigger diamond with higher quality while at the same time saving money. While some value added benefits are not available with lab diamonds such as buyback or trade-up guarantees and inherent value, the initial cost can be much more accessible for a nice quality diamond. This gives you flexibility to go with a larger size or put the savings into a high quality designer setting that may not have fit in the budget if opting for a natural diamond.
Shopping for a high quality lab grown diamond takes a little bit of research as well – not all lab diamonds are created equal both from a material and cut quality perspective. Whiteflash offers our exclusive Precision Lab brand to provide the finest, most transparent material and the finest cut quality available in certified lab grown diamonds.
While lab grown diamonds may not be for everyone, if you are looking for a diamond of good size, color and brilliance and your budget is constrained, a lab diamond might be exactly what you need.

Should I Buy an SI2 Diamond?

Generally, we recommend customers begin their search in the VS clarity range. At this grade, it is much more likely you will find an eye-clean diamond that is fully transparent and delivers a fantastic sparkle. Looking for a suitable SI2 diamond can be time consuming and complex.

As an alternative to looking for that rare eye-clean Si2 with no negative issues, a lab grown diamond might be a reasonable consideration. 
However, we respect our customers choices, and should you wish to find a quality, SI2 clarity diamond, or opt for a lab grown diamond, we are here to help. Our detailed diamond specifications, diamond imaging and light performance reports will all assist your search, and our industry leading collection of in-stock diamonds can be examined by our experts at any time. Ultimately the decision to buy an SI2 diamond will be dictated by your budget, taste, time frame, and how many suitable diamonds are on the market at the time. We wish you well in your search!

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