The Ultimate Guide to Buying VS Diamonds

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Getting to grips with the Four C’s is essential if you want a successful, diamond buying experience. Finding a diamond entirely free from inclusions and blemishes is extremely rare, so a large part of your search will be concerned with finding eye-clean diamonds, that offer the same optical clarity but at a fraction of the price.

Choosing a clarity grade will be based on a close analysis of the diamond itself and your assigned budget. Fortunately, modern diamond imaging technology has made it easier than ever to find a sparkling clear diamond.  

If you have your heart set on a VS diamond, or are just learning the clarity grades, this guide will cover the how and where of buying a VS diamond.

What is a VS Diamond?

The GIA created a scale to assess the clarity of diamonds; that is, the absence of inclusions and imperfections.

GIA Clarity Scale
Image courtesy of the GIA

A VS diamond is defined by the GIA as follows: ‘Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification’. The VS category is split into two tiers; VS1 and VS2.

A VS diamond is a highly popular choice for engagement rings as a huge majority of them are eye clean. However, it is still important that you do your due diligence.

VS1 Clarity Diamonds

VS1 diamonds are the top tier of the VS category. At this grade, inclusions are not visible to the naked eye but may be observed under optimum lighting at 10x magnification.

Even using high-res diamond imaging, inclusions in VS1 diamonds can be difficult to spot. Take a look at this 1.018ct H-VS1 A CUT ABOVE® diamond by Whiteflash:

a VS1 diamond
Image courtesy of Whiteflash

Even with cutting edge, high-res imaging and magnification, inclusions are not visible to the naked eye. The diamond inclusion plot will show that the diamond does have inclusions (and as such, it did not receive a higher clarity grade) but they are so negligible, the appearance is one of a beautifully clear diamond.

VS2 Clarity Diamonds

VS2 diamonds represent the lower tier of the VS category. For the most part, their inclusions are not visible, however there is variation within this grade. Some diamonds might have just made the VS2 grade, but be on the cusp of an SI1, while others might have just fallen short of a VS1 grade. The result is some VS2 diamonds with inclusions in more obvious places that can be visible.

This is easily overcome by using diamond imaging to scrutinize the positions and significance of any inclusions in VS2 diamonds.

Carat Weight and VS Diamonds

All of the four c’s impact upon one another. The carat weight of a diamond can affect how visible inclusions are. Diamonds with a higher carat weight will present inclusions more readily than smaller diamonds. When it comes to VS diamonds, the 2.00ct mark and above is where VS2 diamonds may possess visible inclusions. This need not deter you. It is absolutely possible to find eye-clean, VS2 diamonds at bigger carat weights, it just requires a close inspection. I recommend taking a look at my clarity and diamond imaging guides for a better understanding of how to assess diamond quality when buying online.

Diamond Shape

A round brilliant diamond is adept at concealing inclusions, but other shapes are less forgiving. Step cuts, such as Emerald and Asscher, have less facets and larger tables so inclusions are easier to spot.

VS2 james allen
Image courtesy of James Allen

This emerald cut VS2 diamond has very obvious inclusions that are detrimental to the beauty of the diamond. It is crucial that you view the diamond in the best possible conditions to avoid disappointment. A grade is not enough.

Should I Buy a VS Diamond?

I am personally fond of VS diamonds and the exquisite clarity they can give at a fraction of the price of higher graded diamonds. There are plenty on the market and though not all are winners, it gives buyers a great opportunity to find a stunning diamond.

The driving factor is likely to be budget. If choosing a VS diamond is tipping the balance of your budget, remember that clarity can be compromised before cut. You can get beautiful eye-clean SI1 diamonds and this is a better way to apply your budget.

The golden rule is finding an eye-clean diamond and choosing trusted vendors who provide quality, diamond imaging is the best way to achieve this.

Where to Buy VS Diamonds

My first choice for VS diamonds is Whiteflash – specifically, their A CUT ABOVE® super-ideal cut diamonds. With cut quality doing so much of the work, going for the best possible cut immediately sets you on the path to success. There are some stunning A CUT ABOVE® diamonds of VS clarity, all with high-res diamond imaging and AGS diamond certificates. For step cut diamonds, I recommend James Allen. Given the unforgiving nature of step-cuts, the clear diamond imaging combined with the sheer volume of choice gives buyers the best chance of finding an eye-clean, step cut diamond within the VS category.