SI2 Diamonds: Can Beauty Be Found in Their Imperfection?

Last Updated on June 8, 2023 by Juli "Jewels" Church

Are you wondering if SI2 Clarity Diamonds are a good choice for your diamond engagement ring?

You're not the only one. In this Learning Guide, I'll go over all you need to know about SI2 Diamonds including: 

si2 diamond
  • Are SI2 diamonds bad quality?
  • Is SI2 diamond clarity good for a 1-carat Diamond?
  • What’s the difference between SI1 and SI2 diamonds?

What is an SI2 Diamond?

A diamond with SI2 clarity has been assessed as a Slightly Included diamond. The Slightly Included clarity grades consist of SI1 and SI2 diamonds. SI2 diamonds are considered the lower clarity grade of the Slightly Included tier.

Slightly Included diamonds may have inclusions visible with the naked eye. These inclusions appear larger when observed under magnification. SI2 diamonds are more likely to have visible inclusions than SI1 diamonds.

Diamond Clarity Grades

Clarity grades are given to diamonds after extensive analyzation of the diamond's natural imperfections and blemishes. You might know of inclusions as "black spots" in your diamond.

But inclusions come in all different shapes, sizes, and even colors. However, most diamonds carry inclusions that are either dark or light colored.

A diamond's clarity grade is assessed observing the features of inclusions in the diamond. Clarity grades are awarded according the imperfections' individual details, like:

  • Size
  • Location
  • Relief (how it looks in relation to the rest of the diamond)
  • Type
  • Number

Many assume that because visible inclusions can affect a diamond's beauty that means they're automatically bad. That's not the case.

Inclusions in a Very Slightly Included (VS1) Diamond

Inclusions in an Included Diamond (I1)

Most diamonds have inclusions in them. Even internally flawless and flawless diamonds aren't actually flawless under the highest magnification. Inclusions can happen during the diamond formation process and during the cutting and polishing process.

There are many types of clarity imperfections. Though "inclusions" is used as a general term, these are flaws that are encased in the diamond. Blemishes are inclusions that are confined to the surface of the diamond. Note that the surface of the diamond doesn't just mean the top table facet, but all the facets around the diamond.

GIA Diamond Clarity Scale

The Gemological institute of America (GIA) created the 4C's of diamond quality: Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat Weight. Though they aren't the only factors, they are the major factors of diamond quality.

The GIA also created the Diamond Clarity Scale. Majority of the world uses the same grading standards as the GIA, as they are the pioneers of all things diamond and gemstone with no retailer affiliation.

The GIA's Diamond Clarity Scale includes the following clarity tiers and individual clarity grades:

SI2 vs SI1 Clarity Diamonds

There's a very fine line between SI2 clarity diamonds and SI1 clarity diamonds. However, the average person wouldn't be able to tell them apart. At eye to hand level, both clarity grades appear eye clean.

When placed under magnification, you'll start to notice the differences. Both diamond grades are capable of having light and dark inclusions. However, SI1 diamonds will have less dark inclusions and are likely to be toward the outer edges of the diamond.

SI2 diamonds are likely to have one or two major inclusions located near the center of the diamond's table facet and possibly more on the outside. Many SI2 diamonds are speckled throughout with smaller dark inclusions. 

Typically SI1 clarity diamonds are going to be more expensive, but that can change based on the way the other diamond details come out. An SI1 clarity diamond can range from a 5-15% increase from an SI2 clarity diamond.

SI2 Clarity Radiant Diamond

SI1 Clarity Radiant Diamond

SI2 vs SI3 Diamonds

The official GIA clarity scale doesn't include award SI3 clarity grades. But in your diamond clarity research, it's possible you could come across them at other retailers. The GIA regularly assesses what other labs would declare SI3 clarity diamonds and has concluded they don't need to update their system.

I recommend staying away from SI3 loose diamonds because the GIA wouldn't grade them on the SI clarity tier but as an I1 clarity grade.

SI3 diamonds will have easily visible inclusions and they're more likely to have dark black inclusions speckled throughout the diamond, just like I1 clarity diamonds.

Always choose SI2 clarity diamonds over SI3 diamonds, which are basically I clarity grades puffed up. But we'll discuss I clarity diamonds up next.

SI2 Diamonds vs I2 Diamond Clarity

SI2 clarity diamonds are two clarity grades above I2 diamonds. I2 diamonds are the middle clarity grade of the Included tier. The Included clarity tier is the lowest clarity grades available and consist of I1, I2, and I3 diamonds.

When compared to an SI2 clarity diamond, you can pretty much guarantee an I2 diamond will have more inclusions visible to the naked eye. So much so, that I2 diamonds are usually reserved for small diamonds, not engagement ring center stones.

An I2 diamond is a very low clarity grade and should be avoided at all costs. More noticeable flaws found in lower clarity grades impact the diamond's sparkle and overall beauty.

Personally I don't recommend buying any I clarity diamonds for your center stone. Many online diamond retailers agree and don't offer anything below SI2 clarity diamonds.

SI2 vs VS2 Clarity Diamonds

VS2 diamonds are two clarity grades higher than SI2 diamonds. They are the first clarity rating to be considered eye-clean. The VS clarity tier is made of VS1 and VS2 diamonds.

While SI2 clarity diamonds can be eye clean, a VS2 diamond should always be eye clean. But because VS2 diamonds are a higher clarity grade, you can expect to pay a premium than with an SI2 diamond.

VS2 diamonds range as 10-30% price differences from SI2 diamonds. However, this should be expected as the inclusions in VS diamonds can only be seen under 10x magnification.

SI2 vs VVS2 Clarity Diamonds

VVS2 diamonds come from the higher clarity grades of Very, Very Slightly Included. These diamonds are rare in larger carat weights and higher diamond grades. They are two clarity grades before internally flawless diamonds.

VVS clarity diamonds consist of VVS1 and VVS2 diamonds, with VVS2 being the lower grade. When compared to an SI2 diamond of similar quality, the difference between the two diamonds is substantial.

VVS2 diamonds may appear flawless to some. They don't have any noticeable flaws and is even difficult at 40x magnification to locate inclusions. SI2 diamonds may be eye clean sometimes under normal viewing conditions, but they will definitely have inclusions at 40x magnification.

Though it's much easier to find an eye clean stone in the VVS clarity tier, an eye clean SI2 diamond would be a better value. If you can find one, SI2 clarity diamonds tend to be 30-50% cheaper than a VVS2 diamond of same quality. And if you're choosing a higher carat weight, you can expect that number to increase a lot.

Why not get the best value if they're both eye clean? Nobody's going to see your diamond under magnification but you and your jeweler.

How Much Do SI2 Clarity Diamonds Cost?

Diamond prices aren't decided on clarity alone. All of the 4cs play a major part in diamond prices, but they aren't the only factors affecting prices. Diamond prices are assigned according to:

  • Diamond shapes
  • Certified diamonds vs uncertified diamonds
  • Certifying grading Lab
  • Brands
  • Retailer
  • Lab grown diamonds vs mined diamonds
  • Specialty cuts
  • Colorless vs fancy color diamonds
  • Proportions
  • Fluorescence
  • Treatment

So, obviously there's a lot of factors that influence the price of an SI2 clarity diamond. That being said, you can expect a 1 carat SI2 clarity diamond to range from $3,000-$6000.

Lab Grown SI2 Clarity Diamond Prices

Mined SI2 clarity diamonds are some of the lowest clarity prices available for diamonds. They already come at a heavy discount when compared to higher clarity grades.

If you'd like to save even more, I implore you to check out SI2 lab grown diamonds. Not every lab grown diamond retailer carries lower clarity grades, but they're out there.

Lab grown diamonds are real diamonds in every way. You'll be more likely to find an eye clean diamond with SI2 clarity than with mined diamonds. The types of inclusions in lab grown diamonds are more limited because of their lab environment.

A lab created diamond can run 20-40% cheaper than mined diamonds of the same quality. Often times, even more. 

However, SI2 clarity lab grown diamonds are hard to find in smaller carat weights. You're more likely to come across SI2 lab diamond when searching for 2 carats and higher. 

Expect any lab grown diamond with SI2 clarity to be just as included as natural SI2 diamonds, but with limited types of inclusions. 

Where to Buy Diamonds with SI2 Diamond Clarity

Now that you know that the majority loose diamonds and ring settings cost significantly less than they do in-stores, you're probably wondering which is a reliable vendor. Fortunately for you, we've done the homework and you can check it our in our Best Place to Buy SI Diamonds Online Learning Guide.

SI2 Diamond FAQs

Is SI2 a Good Diamond Clarity Grade?

The term good is subjective, but let's just say that I wouldn't buy an SI2 diamond.

I don't have time to sift through every diamond, trying to find one to my liking. Of course, that's just me. In all fairness, if I'm out and about under light or sunlight, you don't notice it. It also helps that I chose the round brilliant diamond shape with Excellent cut quality.

But someone not looking for noticeable inclusions may not even notice. And if you don't notice, it's likely others won't either.

If you're going for diamond shapes like emerald cut engagement rings or Asscher cut diamonds, you might want to rethink SI2 clarity unless you can get your hands on an eye clean diamond.

Emerald Cut Diamonds reveal dark inclusion more because of their cutting style

Can SI2 Diamonds Be Eye Clean?

It's possible for you to find an eye clean SI2 diamond for your engagement ring. But it won't be easy. SI2 diamonds are known for having visible inclusions to the naked eye.

Not only that, but these noticeable flaws tend to be even more noticeable because they're often located close to the center of the diamond or somewhere on the table facet.

How to Find an SI2 Clarity Eye Clean Diamonds

So if you're wanting to hunt for an eye clean diamond with SI2 clarity, you're going to need to take your search online. Online diamond retailers are able to display hundreds of SI2 diamonds at once on their websites.

Physical jewelry stores don't usually get that luxury. Stores have to pay for inventory, but online retailers display them virtually.

Even if jewelry stores were allowed to have multiple loose diamonds for you to pick from, you don't have time to sit there and observe each diamond there.

Have you ever tried to look through a gemscope or jeweler's loupe? It can take some getting used to. It's not like using a magnifying glass.

Majority of online diamond retailers have 360˚ video that allows you to view a diamond's clarity imperfections. Extra benefits if they allow you to control and drag your diamond rather than just playing a 360 video clip.

Narrow the diamond filters down to SI2 clarity with Very Good to Excellent cut quality. Choose whichever carat weight range you're going for to help narrow down the best diamond with SI2 clarity for you.

Any noticeable inclusions found in SI2 diamonds in these viewers are usually at a much higher magnification than 10x, so they will appear much bigger. Don't freak out. Oftentimes they have a zoom out feature that can put the diamond at a more accurate magnification.

Choose SI2 diamonds whose clarity imperfections are located closer to the edge or are caught in the light return when rotating the stone. And don't forget to observe any return policies and processes BEFORE making your purchase, just in case.

Are SI2 Diamonds Durable?

Some blemishes can compromise the durability of your diamond. It's possible for these types of blemishes to be present in an SI2 diamond. As you know, SI2 diamonds may have many small inclusions visible to the naked eye.

Internal inclusions are encased within the diamond, whereas blemishes are on the surface. It's the blemishes you have to worry about when compromising durability of a diamond.

There's other factors besides blemishes that are attributed to the overall durability of a diamond. But surface blemishes can affect the cleavage of diamond.

Diamond cleavage is an atomic weakness in the diamond crystal structure. If a diamond is struck along a cleavage plane, it's more likely to chip or split along a direction. Diamonds have perfect cleavage, which means that they are susceptible to splitting in many ways if accidentally struck too hard.

Observe your SI2 clarity diamond closely for any surface inclusions before purchasing. Grading reports often show you where your major inclusions are located on clarity plots if they have them.

Do SI2 Diamonds Need a Grading Report?

All diamonds should have an accompanying grading report. A Gem Ex report, diamond appraisal, or info sheet is not a diamond grading report. Certified diamonds come with either a physical report or a digital grading report from a gemological laboratory.

My SI2 diamond engagement ring came with both a GSI grading report and a Gem Ex light performance card as well. However, majority of the engagement rings in the jewelry cases at Kay's aren't certified. They are taught to tell you that no center stone in the store is below I1 clarity.

I remember this used to be a selling point, but I don't understand why. It's basically saying that we carry bottom of the clarity scale diamonds, but the absolute worst ones. Most accent stones at Kay's have I2 or I3 clarity. 12 and I3 clarity in a center stone would be very unappealing.

The certified diamonds at Kay's are waaay overpriced too. A GIA certified preset 1 carat diamond engagement ring with I1 clarity diamonds can run around $8,000 at Kay's online store. Such diamonds are significantly cheaper from an online retailer.

You can't just buy any old certified diamond ring though. You want a diamond certificate from a reputable and reliable grading authority. Reports can be faked, or they can be in-house by a certified diamond expert.

Instead, you need to buy from an unbiased and respected grading authority in the diamond industry that offers full details on your diamond. That means GIA certified diamonds are one of your best diamond certificate options.

Grading reports from the American Gem Society are considered equivalent in authority as the GIA, though they don't grade very many lab grown diamonds.

gia report

A diamond laboratory report from the GIA may include the following details about your SI2 clarity diamond: 

  • Shape and cutting style: The shape and cutting style of the Diamond, such as round brilliant, Princess, cushion, etc.
  • Measurements: The physical dimensions of the Diamond, including its diameter, depth, and weight (In carats).
  • Carat weight: The weight of the Diamond, measured in carats.
  • Color grade: The Gia color grade, which ranges from d (Colorless) To z (Light yellow or brown).
  • Clarity grade: The Gia clarity grade, which ranges from flawless (FL) To included (I3).
  • Clarity plot: Clarity plots are diagrams showing the location and type of inclusions in the Diamond. Inclusion plots can help identify diamonds with the right types of small inclusions.
  • Cut grade: The Gia cut grade, which assesses the Diamond’s cut details.
  • Polish: The quality of the Diamond’s surface polish, graded as excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor.
  • Symmetry: The quality of the Diamond’s symmetry, graded as excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor.
  • Fluorescence: The strength and color of any fluorescence observed in the Diamond under UV light. 
  • Comments: Any additional comments or observations by the grader regarding the diamond’s characteristics or features.
  • GIA report number: A unique report number assigned by Gia to identify the specific Diamond and its associated grading report.
  • Security features: The GIA grading report May also include security features, such as a hologram, to ensure its authenticity.

You should only ever buy diamond rings with certified center stones. Without a grading report from a reputable lab, your diamond's clarity could be any clarity grade. There's nothing to state that its been assessed by an impartial party.

And with more and more people choosing to buy their engagement ring from unknown sellers on Etsy, it's more important than ever to have certified diamonds.

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