VS2 vs VS1: What's the Actual Difference Between These Clarity Grades?

Irony of ironies: At face value, clarity can be the most confusing aspect of buying a diamond. Of the four C's — cut, color and carat are the others — clarity has the most complicated nomenclature. There are eight clarity grades, including FL, IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, and I1. But insiders know you only really need to keep two letters in mind: VS.

Clarity refers to the visibility of imperfections that occur naturally during the diamond’s growth. The clarity scale ranges from noticeable imperfections (also known as inclusions) to seemingly flawless, even under magnification. VS diamonds, or very slightly included diamonds, have small imperfections that are difficult to see under 10 times magnification and almost impossible to see with the naked eye.

Why VS Diamonds are a Good Choice

VS diamonds have two grades:

  1. VS1 (very slightly included 1)

  2. VS2 (very slightly included 2)

Firstly, a VS1 diamond has fewer and smaller inclusions than a VS2.

VS1 Diamond Catalog

Because VS diamonds rank just below VVS2 (very, very slightly included 2), they are of high quality — remember, any VS inclusions are difficult to see with the naked eye — and therefore good value if you're trying to figure out how to buy an engagement ring on a budget. Only 20 percent of diamonds are grade VS2 and above, and a VS diamond can cost 10 to 20 percent less than a VVS.

VS2 vs VS1 full diamond comparison

To the naked eye, a VS diamond's sparkle is unimpeded by large inclusions, and light performance is high. There are no structural problems that would cause chips or cracks in the diamond when set in jewelry. Although a VS diamond isn't flawless, it’s very respectable and valuable — VS diamonds appreciate in value over time because of their rarity.

Over time, consumer preference has shifted away from sheer carat weight and more toward quality. When budgeting the 4 C’s, you can feel comfortable about choosing a clarity in the VS2 or VS1 range.

VS2 vs VS1: What's the Difference?

A VS1 diamond is a high clarity grade with no visible inclusions and only small, hard-to-identify inclusions under 10x magnification. These diamonds represent the top 5 percent of all gem-quality stones. The most common VS1 inclusions are crystal (white or black), feather, indented natural, knot, or needle.

Whereas a VS2 diamond will have eye-visible inclusions only 5 percent or less of the time, and only in larger diamonds above 1 carat. Common VS2 inclusions are crystal (white or black), feather, indented natural, knot, needle or cloud.

VS2 Diamond Catalog

VS2 vs VS1: Do they Look Different?

Here's a glimpse at what VS1 and VS2 diamonds look like up close.

Difference between VS2 vs VS1 diamond. VS2 vs VS1 diamond clarity close up

VS2 vs VS1: How their Prices Stack Up

We generally recommend VS1 diamonds over VS2 when the price differential isn't too great; that's a good way to ensure you're getting maximum value, as VS1 diamonds will appreciate more over time.

Because inclusions are more visible in diamonds with larger, open facets, you should pick VS1 over VS2 when choosing diamonds in shapes other than round (particularly in step-cut diamonds such as emerald-cut or Asscher cut).

Consider VS diamonds with inclusions that are off center, or not directly under the table facet of the diamond. Some of these inclusions can be covered by a strategically-placed prong. And always purchase diamonds that come with Gemological Institution of America (GIA) grading reports, so you can confirm their quality. (That’s the only kind we sell here at With Clarity.) A great-seeming deal is often too good to be true.

Ready to make a selection? All of With Clarity's diamonds are accompanied by GIA reports, and our expert on-staff gemologists can help you make the best selection to work for your budget. Contact us by phone at 1(844)-234-6463 or email at [email protected]. Our Live Chat is available during business hours Monday - Friday 10AM - 6PM ET.

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