What Is a VVS Diamond and Are They Worth the Price?
Jewelers love a VVS diamond, but does that mean you should too? We take a deep dive into this misunderstood clarity grade.
Technically speaking, VVS stands for “very very slightly included.” What this means is any inclusions in the diamond are so slight that they are difficult for a skilled diamond grader (i.e., not the average human) to see under 10x magnification. And trust us, even with decades of experience, VVS inclusions can be hard to find for a trained eye. A VVS diamond’s inclusions will never impact the appearance or structure of a diamond. They’re there, but they might as well not be. That’s how minuscule they are.
Just Your Type
Evaluating diamond clarity isn’t just about the number or position of inclusions but also about the type of inclusions present. And yes, inclusions come in all different forms. It’s helpful to remember how diamonds form, under intense heat and pressure, and in the presence of other elements, deep within the Earth’s crust. Or in a lab, these days. And like the ice that forms in your freezer, often with bubbles present, diamonds can have all sorts of things going on. Now, with a VVS grade diamond, the types of inclusions will be pretty inconsequential, like pinpoints, tiny clouds, internal graining or miniscule feathers. Again, none of these will pose any structural concerns or have a visual impact on the diamond.
What Does VVS Mean, Anyway?
As nearly perfect as perfect can be, VVS diamonds fall just shy of the Flawless and Internally Flawless clarity grades, usually with just a few pinpoints thrown in for good measure. While their super-high clarity will cost you a pretty penny, VVS diamonds are still significantly less expensive than flawless and internally flawless diamonds and will look identical to the naked eye. And that’s what really matters.
The Nitty Gritty
Diving in a bit further, the VVS category is subdivided into VVS1 and VVS2, which are the third and fourth-best clarity grades. While many people refer to the category as a group-the VV’s-there are subtle differences between VVS1 and VVS2 for good reason. VVS1 diamonds generally have inclusions in the bottom (or pavilion) of the stone, while VVS2 diamonds may have inclusions located in the top (crown) portion. Regardless of where inclusions are located, though, they’re still very (very) difficult to see with magnification, and impossible to see with the naked eye.
Should You Buy a VVS Diamond?
If you’re super busy and important and just don’t want to ever worry about diamond clarity, then VVS might be your next best friend. That’s because 100% of the time, they’re going to be eye-clean. Even if you’re buying one over the internet, as long as it’s been certified by a reputable diamond grading lab, a VVS is a sure thing. And the beauty of it is that this applies to literally any diamond shape or size, making your shopping easy as can be. Don’t believe us? Check out our head to head match up of common clarity grades.
Shapes and Styles
The shape and faceting style of your diamond can make a difference in whether or not any inclusions might be eye-visible, and there are three main categories to know. The first is brilliant cut stones, which is based off the faceting pattern for the modern round brilliant cut diamond, which has facets that radiate outwardly—like the rays of a sun in a super cute kiddo’s drawing—from a center point. The second is a step cut, like an Asscher or emerald cut, which has longer, rectangular facets that repeat in a graduated way from center to edge. Then there’s antique or rose cut stones, which have fewer, wider facets than a modern round brilliant and different depth proportions.
Does a VVS Diamond Sparkle More?
Nope! VVS is a measure of a diamond’s clarity, not its beauty or sparkle. What does impact sparkle is a totally different C: cut. A well cut diamond is where you want to invest your money, because this is what’s going to give you that bling bling. While inclusions can impact the look of your diamond or obstruct light return, this really will only happen in very low clarity diamonds with very large inclusions.
Do VVS Diamonds Look Different From VS Diamonds?
Short answer here is no, not really. At least, not to the naked or untrained eye. Even under magnification, the average human will have a hard time finding VS inclusions, so the differences are not as glaring or scary as they might sound. What will be noticeably different, however, is their price tag. And the difference there between a VS and a VVS diamond can be in the thousands of dollars.
But What About Wiggle Room?
Buying a diamond is part art, part science, and all about balance. For some folks, flawless is a non-negotiable, and that’s okay. For others, different characteristics are a priority — like shape, size, color, etc.. Or maybe you just want to save some of those dollars for a super-luxe honeymoon instead. You gotta do you, right? Either way, striking the right balance is a personal decision between you and, well, your wallet, really. But if you’re going lower than VVS, then you’ll want to keep a few additional factors in mind.
Brilliant, Step, and Rose Cut, Oh My
Brilliant cut diamonds are super rad because for the most part, especially in round stones, those facets really break up the surfaces of the diamond and refract light back to the eye in a way that helps disguise clarity characteristics. Which means you can go down to the SI range and still find eye-clean diamonds.
Step cut stones, however, usually have larger tables (that top flat facet of the diamond) and big window-like facets which means, yes, you can see the inside of the diamond more clearly. In this case, if you want an eye-clean stone, VS2 is likely the lowest you’ll want to go. And if you’re looking at VS1-VS2 diamonds, you should check photos or videos just to be sure.
Rose cuts and antique diamond cuts are their own beast and a bit harder to grade, because they don’t have any of the same characteristics as modern diamond cuts. Rose cuts, for instance, have flat bottoms, so there’s nowhere for inclusions to hide. But salt-and-pepper rose cuts are also very cool and a style statement of their own. Our diamond experts are always on hand to help you find interesting, unique diamond cuts that meet your clarity priorities, so don’t hesitate to reach out!
And Yes, Size Matters
Whether it’s the size and style of your stone’s faceting or the size of your diamond itself, when it comes to clarity, size matters. The bigger the diamond you’re looking for, the more you should be conscious of its clarity grade, because the more visible its inclusions might be. While a 3-carat VS2 round brilliant diamond can be eye-clean, it also might not be, while in smaller sizes you’re usually safe without question. But larger diamond equals larger facets, equals more room to peek inside. So if you’re going big, shopping for a VVS grade diamond can eliminate the need to closely review the diamond’s certificate and clarity plot.
How Can I Be Sure a Diamond is Eye Clean If It’s Not VVS?
The easiest way to tell if any diamond, regardless of clarity grade, is eye-clean is to look at a video of it and remember to zoom out! Magnified videos are helpful for understanding what inclusions look like, and where they’re located. They’re also good at up-selling diamond clarity. Remember, those videos are at a 40x – 60x magnification. So, how do you know if those icky inclusions are going to be visible at scale?
Zoom out. Seriously. Use the zoom controls on your keyboard until the diamond is at or near its actual size. Can you see the inclusions now? No? Success! Still unsure? Ask us to have the stone sent to us for an in-person review. We’ll make videos in different lighting conditions pre-purchase, and make sure it’s a stunner.
Are VVS Diamonds Worth It?
That’s up to you, but here’s how much you can expect to pay for it.
Want to Find a VVS Diamond?
Check out our diamond search where you can view 360-degree images of more than 10,000 diamonds and don’t forget to zoom out (because size can be deceiving), or book an appointment at our New York salon to view certified lab-grown and natural diamonds in person.
Not finding what you’re looking for? Email us with what you’re looking for at email@example.com. We’ll curate a list of 5-7 exclusive stones that are just right for you.