VS1 Diamond Clarity Grade: Understanding Why It’s a Smart Choice

Last Updated on October 7, 2023 by Juli "Jewels" Church

Interested in buying a diamond with VS1 clarity? You're in the right place!

I'll go over everything you need to know about VS1 clarity diamonds and give answers to some of the biggest questions asked about them like: 

vs1 diamond
  • What exactly is VS1 clarity, and how does it compare to other clarity grades?
  • What types of inclusions are typically found in VS1 diamonds, and are they visible to the naked eye?
  • How does VS1 clarity affect the value of a diamond, and is it worth the investment?
  • What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of choosing a VS1 diamond, and how can you ensure that you're getting a high-quality stone?

What is a VS1 Clarity Grade?

If a diamond is given the clarity grade of VS1, it means it has been determined that the stone is Very Slightly Included. Inclusions are characteristics that happen naturally during the formation process of a mineral. Both diamonds and colored gemstones can have inclusions.

The word "inclusions" is used as a blanket term for characteristics found within a diamond after its been cut and polished. However, surface blemishes refer to characteristics that happen the surface of the diamond's facets.

clarity diagram

Blemishes happen to the outside of the diamond and can impact the durability of a diamond. But not all blemishes do. There are many types of blemishes and inclusions. Inclusions happen inside the diamond. As long as the inclusion doesn't start from the middle and go above the surface, these will only visually impact the diamond.

You're not likely to find any dark or large visible flaws in VS1 clarity diamonds

The GIA Diamond Clarity Grading Scale

The Gemological Institute of America analyzes diamonds that come in and out of their laboratories according to a clarity scale that was created in the 1940s. The clarity scale was created alongside the other three of the 4Cs of diamond quality: cut quality, color grades, and carat weight.

The GIA's clarity scale consists of the following grades:

clarity scale

VS1 diamonds are the higher clarity grade of the two grades in the VS clarity tier.

Is VS1 a Good Quality Diamond?

Overall, VS1 is considered a high clarity grade. A VS1 engagement ring shouldn't have any visible inclusions to the naked eye. It is an eye clean diamond clarity grade. It is the first eye clean diamond clarity grade on the clarity scale.

As you'll see later on, having a VS1 diamond doesn't guarantee your diamond's overall quality. Many factors go into the the quality of your diamond. VS1 is typically considered a good clarity grade for larger diamonds.

But in diamonds with much larger carat weights (think Hope Diamond size), the small internal inclusions in a VS1 clarity grade would appear much larger in a diamond of that size. Such diamonds that size are extremely expensive and sold at auction.

A VS1 clarity diamond is a good clarity grade for all diamonds when judging clarity levels. A 1 carat VS1 diamond will make a great quality engagement ring in any diamond shape. 

1 carat VS1 diamond

It's not necessary to have a diamond with a high clarity grade like an internally flawless or flawless diamond. These clarity grades can be very expensive, especially if your diamond is a larger carat weight. Diamond with a higher grade of clarity are more rare, and more expensive.

If rarity is of importance and price is no objection then by all means, go for the more rare and valuable grades. But if you want to save money, lower clarity grades are more affordable and have the same visible result.

Remember, VS1, VS2, VVS1 and VVS2 diamonds all have different inclusions under 10x magnification, but all of them appear eye clean with the naked eye. So if they're all giving the same result, why would you shell out more for a VVS1 vs a VS1 diamond?

You can either save money, or use that portion of your budget for another diamond feature like carat weight or cut quality.

I explore this idea further in my article comparing VS1 vs VVS2 clarity diamonds.

Best Shapes for VS1 Diamonds

Choosing a diamond shape for VS1 diamond clarity tends to be about personal preference and styles more so than choosing one particular shape above all others. However, most commercial quality diamonds are either step cut or brilliant cut.

J Color Asscher Diamond

Step cut Asscher Diamond Shape

vvs1 pear diamond

Brilliant Cut Pear Shaped Diamond

Brilliant cut diamonds have been faceted with many small cuts in order to give off short flashes of light. Most standard diamonds in stores are brilliant shapes like:

  • Round diamonds
  • Princess diamonds
  • Oval diamonds
  • Marquise diamonds
  • Cushion diamonds

Step cut diamonds are cut in a stairlike fashion, with long and narrow facets. When diamonds are cut like this, they can give off dramatic flashes of light. The popular step cut shapes are

You already know that a VS1 diamond may have slight inclusions visible under magnification aids. Step cut diamonds tend to show clarity imperfections more because of the way they are cut, so it's not always recommended to purchase lower clarity grades for step cut shapes.

SI1 Clarity Emerald Cut Diamond

SI Clarity Emerald Cut Diamond (Below VS Clarity)

A lower grade of clarity usually shows dark inclusions visible through the table facet. Dark inclusions don't always impede the brilliance, but the location matters greatly.

Fortunately VS1 and VS2 diamonds are eye clean diamonds, so you're free to choose whichever shape suits you. Instead, you should focus your efforts on the other diamond deets like cut quality, diamond certification, and color grades.

However, be aware that certain shapes have their own caveats and extra precautions that should be taken.

Low Quality VS1 Diamonds

While VS1 diamonds are generally considered to be high-quality, there are a few factors that could make a VS1 diamond lower in quality. Some of the things to watch out for include:

  • Visible inclusions: While VS1 diamonds are technically considered "very slightly included," some diamonds may have inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. This can lower the diamond's overall appearance and value.
  • Poor cut: A poorly cut diamond can negatively impact its brilliance and fire, making it appear less sparkly and less valuable.
  • Poor color: While VS1 diamonds are generally colorless or near-colorless, a diamond with a lower color grade may appear dull or yellowish.
  • Other imperfections: In addition to inclusions, diamonds can have other types of imperfections that can lower their quality. For example, a diamond with a chip or scratch may be considered lower in quality than a diamond without these flaws.

After all, not all VS1 diamonds are the same. The location of tiny flaws on each VS1 diamond isn't the same.

Even with lab diamonds, scientists still can't choose which kind of inclusions happen to each diamond. At most, we have some control of the types of inclusions in a lab grown diamond. Many mineral inclusions happen as a result of other elements and rocks becoming trapped in the diamond crystal structure.

The types of inclusions found in lab diamonds are limited due to the isolated environment they form in. They still get inclusions, just not some of the types that mined diamonds are exposed to.

metalic inclusions in Emerald Cut diamond

That being said, even if these low-quality VS1 diamonds were eye clean, they would  have other areas of imperfection:

  • Dark areas in diamond means light doesn't reflect back out
  • Girdle is too thick on diamond
  • Color grade is low (though lower grades are a preference and do not impact durability, just price and value)

It's important to note that a diamond's overall quality is determined by a combination of factors, including its cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. When buying a VS1 diamond, it's important to consider all of these factors and work with a reputable jeweler who can help you choose a high-quality stone that meets your preferences and budget.

Difference Between VS1 and VS2 Diamonds

A VS1 diamond is considered to be a higher clarity grade than VS2 diamonds. Still, both reside on the VS clarity tier, which means they both have eye clean diamond clarity.

Professionally speaking, there are slight differences between VS1 and VS2 diamonds. Minor inclusions under magnification look bigger or more prominent in a VS2 diamond clarity grade than with a VS1 diamond.

That's not to say that every Vs1 diamond has noticeable inclusions. Very slightly included diamonds viewed on diamond retailer's 360˚ video is often magnified at 30x or higher, instead of 10x.

The following VS2 diamonds from James Allen are viewed at 40x magnification. And even if inclusions look large at 40x magnification, it looks much smaller with the naked eye.

VS2 princess cut inclusion

VS2 Inclusions at 40x

VS2 cushion inclusion

VS2 Inclusions at 40x

You shouldn't assume that every VS1 diamond is better than every VS2 diamond. Remember, diamond clarity is just but one of the important factors of diamond quality, price, and value. You can have a poorly cut 2 carat VS1 clarity diamond be a worse option than an Excellent cut 1 carat VS2 diamond.

VS1 Diamond Prices

Analyzing diamond prices is complicated, just like the rest of the jewel and gem industry. There are many contributing factors that go into overall price of a diamond.

There are major contributors to the price that can make the difference be thousands. Then there are certain factors that may make a $100-500 difference. It can be difficult to determine which VS1 diamond is the better value for you, especially if you're on a tight budget.

Diamond prices of a VS1 clarity diamond are based on these factors:

  • Cut quality
  • Color Grade
  • Carat Weight
  • Colored diamonds vs Colorless Diamonds
  • Diamond Shape
  • Fluorescence
  • Grading Report
  • Brand
  • Retailer
  • Online vs In-Store
  • Custom vs Build Your Own
  • Mined Diamonds vs Lab Grown Diamonds

When you compare natural to lab grown VS1 diamonds, you'll notice they cost significantly different despite their grades being the same.

That's because lab grown diamond jewelry comes at a 20-40% (sometimes more) discount than mined diamonds, often called natural diamonds.

There are so many factors and caveats that affect diamond prices. On average, a 1 carat VS1 clarity diamond can cost around $5000 to beyond $10,000, depending on diamond grades.

Where to Buy a VS1 Diamond Engagement Ring

If you're shopping online for a diamond with VS clarity, you're going to have much better luck finding your perfect diamond than in stores.

That's because most diamond jewelry and commercially sold engagement rings are mid-quality. Places like Kay and Zales often only keep engagement rings with SI clarity or I clarity grades in their cases. They don't have loose diamonds for you to observe all at once like you can online either. Often times, they urge you to wait until their Dana Augustine diamond show to buy your VS1 clarity diamond.

i clarity diamond princess cut

I Clarity Princess Cut

SI1 Clarity Emerald Cut

SI Clarity Emerald Cut

Online diamond retailers often offer hundreds to thousands of loose diamonds directly from their site. Though many retailers have the same diamonds on their sites, you can compare them easily in the comfort of your own home.

It's a lot easier looking at magnified pictures online than trying to look at a diamond through a jeweler's loupe or microscope.

FAQs About VS1 Clarity Diamonds

Here are some of the often asked questions about VS1 clarity diamonds we haven't talked about already.

Are Lab Grown VS1 Diamonds Real Diamonds?

A lot of people are suspicious about lab grown diamonds, due to misinformation and negative speak from those trying to sell mined diamonds. Not to mention the terminology can get confusing.

Lab diamonds may be referred to as:

  • Lab created diamonds
  • Created Diamonds
  • Lab Grown Diamonds
  • Synthetic Diamonds (often used, but now discouraged in the trade)
  • Man Made Diamonds (different than cubic zirconia or man made crystals)

A lot of people think synthetic means "fake" because it means that in other instances. But when it comes to diamond and gemstones, synthetic means lab created. Lab created diamonds have all the same basic properties as natural diamonds that have been mined from the earth's crust.

There are many reasons to buy lab grown diamonds and some misconceptions on why you shouldn't buy lab diamonds. You simply have to choose if a lab diamond is the right choice for your engagement ring.

What Grading Reports Are Best for VS1 Clarity Diamonds?

The best grading reports for VS1 clarity diamonds are going to be from respected and reliable laboratories in the industry. We recommend the following grading authorities for diamonds of all clarity grades:

The recommend diamond certification labs expand more for lab grown diamonds. The GIA is considered top authority so many opt to only buy GIA certified diamonds. These are often easier to find than AGS diamond certifications.

Are VS1 Diamonds Cloudy?

No, VS1 diamonds shouldn't be cloudy. But they may have clouds present under magnification. Cloud inclusions can happen in a diamond as a result of gases, crystals, or minerals trapped inside the stone.

In a lower clarity grade like I clarity diamonds, a cloud inclusion can be noticeable with the unaided eye. But in a VS1 clarity diamond, you won't be able to identify a cloud inclusion.

Final Insight

VS1 diamonds are an excellent choice for those looking for high-quality and beautiful diamonds. Compared to higher clarity grade diamonds with the same quality cut, color, and carat size, the exceptional clarity of VS1 gives you a relatively affordable price point and a great balance of value and beauty.

Whether you're looking for an engagement ring, earrings, or other piece of jewelry, a VS1 diamond is a smart investment that will stand the test of time.

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