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Why Buying a VVS Diamond is a Mistake

Jewelers love VVS diamonds, but does that mean you should buy one? We take a deep dive into this misunderstood clarity grade.

A VVS1 Assher Diamond

What are VVS diamonds?

VVS diamonds are one of the highest and most expensive diamond clarity grades. Just shy of the Flawless and Internally Flawless grades, VVS are significantly less expensive and just as good looking as flawless grades to the naked eye. Local and luxury jewelers love VVS diamonds because they’re a level of quality that anyone can brag about, without the price tag of the flawless diamonds. But does that does mean you should buy one?

Because VVS diamonds are always eye clean — meaning you can’t see any of the tiny flaws and crystals called inclusions with the naked eye — they can be bought and sold with confidence. Buying a VVS diamond means you don’t have to spend time sifting through certs in search of a deal on a lower clarity diamond that’s eye clean. VVS diamonds are all eye-clean. Don’t believe us, check out our head to head match up of common clarity grades.

What does VVS stand for?

VVS stands for very very slightly included. That means a VVS diamonds only has a tiny number of microscopic inclusions that are difficult to see under 10x magnification. The category is subdivided into VVS1 and VVS2, which are the third and fourth-best clarity grades. A VVS diamond will only have inclusions that impact neither the appearance nor the structure of the stone. They’re there, but they might as well not be. 

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 on the bottom for the diamonds or the pavilion, while VVS2 diamonds have inclusions located on the top of the diamond or the crown. Regardless of where they’re located, they’re still very (very) difficult to see with magnification, and impossible to see with the naked eye.

A VVS1 Lab Grown Cushion

A VVS2 Lab Grown Cushion

The type of inclusions in any VVS diamond will always be inconsequential things like pinpoints, clouds, internal graining or feathers. Want to learn more about inclusions? Take a look at our deep dive into inclusion types and which ones can cause a diamond to break.

If you’re buying a VVS diamond online, offline, or just by looking at a certificate, you can know with 100% confidence that a VVS diamond is going to be eye-clean even if you are gifted with super-human vision.

Do VVS diamonds look different than vs diamonds?

It depends on who you ask, but for the layperson, not usually. While the price tag between a VS and a VVS diamond can vary by thousands of dollars, the look doesn’t change all that much. When you spend on clarity, you’re spending on the absence of inclusions. If you want to get the best value, you want to buy at the lowest clarity grade that’s eye clean and has no inclusions that can damage the integrity of the diamond.

 Unfortunately, eye-clean is a subjective term, and inclusion type and location are not searchable without looking through the diamond certificates. If you want to shop the lower-clarity grades, you’re going to have to dig a little, and digging takes time. We’re happy to do this for you, text us, and let us know what you’re looking for.

VVS1 Round Diamond
VS2 Round Diamond

Do VVS diamonds sparkle more?

No. VVS is a measure of clarity, not sparkle. The diamond’s cut, along with its measurements, will determine its sparkle. Inclusions can impact sparkle if they obstruct the light, however, this only occurs in very low clarity diamonds with large inclusions. We generally recommend spending less on clarity and spending more on cut, color, and carat, which are all things you can see more easily with the naked eye.

A diagram showing how cut not clarity impacts sparkle

How can I be sure my diamond is eye clean if it’s not VVS?

1. Get a video and zoom out

Magnified videos are a useful tool 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 magnification. It’s easy to get hung up on the presence of inclusions when seen at such large magnification. So, how do you know if inclusions that you can see under magnification will be visible to the naked eye.

We know this sounds basic, but seriously zoom out. Use the zoom controls on your keyboard until the diamond is at or near its actual size. Can you see the inclusions now? No? Congratulations, you may have found a winner. You can also 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.

2.06 1 VS1 magnified

The same 2.06 I VS1 at scale

Review the certificate

To an untrained eye, inclusions can be difficult to see. A quick look at the plot map on the diamond certificate will show you where the inclusions are. Pay attention to any inclusions located in the middle of the table. If the certificate lists inclusions which could impact a diamond’s integrity move on and find a new stone. If you’re shopping in the SI1 range, learn which inclusions are OK and which ones to watch out for in our guide to SI1 clarity.

Get a third party opinion

Not sure? Sure. Most stones on our website can be sent to us pre-purchase for an in-person inspection. Just ask.

Are VVS Diamonds Worth It?

A VVS diamond is only worth it in the scenarios listed above. In all other situations, we recommend shopping in the VS1 – VS2 range for an eye-clean diamond at a great value.

VS2 vs. VVS diamonds pricing comparison

So should you spring for the grade? Only in your search falls into one of these four scenarios:

You’re buying a step-cut diamond

If you’re shopping for an eye clean emerald or an Asscher — one of the step cut diamonds — we recommend at least taking a look at the VV range, especially if you’re shopping for larger carat weights. The more orderly nature of the facets in these cuts allows inclusions to be seen more easily.

You’re in a hurry to propose

VVS diamonds are perfect for speedy shoppers who don’t want to pore over a bunch of diamond certificates or talk to a salesperson for guidance. Because they’re all eye clean, you really can’t pick a VVS diamond that has bad clarity. You will pay more for the higher clarity grade, but at least you’re not going to waste hours (if not days) researching and evaluating diamonds only to risk choosing one that doesn’t have the visual clarity you thought it did.

You’re buying a 3 + carat diamond

Inclusions are more visible in big diamonds. While a 3 carat VS2 round brilliant can be eye clean, it also might not be. Again, shopping the VVS will eliminate the need to guess or review the certificate’s plot map of inclusions. VVS stones can even be purchased without seeing them if the cut, color, and carat meet your criteria.

You can’t stand the idea that your diamond is imperfect

Buying a diamond is part art, part science. Some people don’t like the idea that their diamond has inclusions and internal flaws, and that’s OK. It’s up to you how you want to balance your budget, and if proposing with an internally flawless diamond helps you sleep at night, you’re not alone. Going with an internally flawless diamond does make quite a statement.

Ready to Find Your Dream 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 hello@frankdarling.com. We’ll curate a list of 5-7 exclusive stones that are just right for you.