Trying to decide between VS1 or VS2 clarity grades?
In this Learning Guide, we'll compare the two VS clarity grades and answer questions YOU need to know like:
- Is a VS1 diamond eye-clean?
- Are VS2 diamonds good for a 1-carat diamond ring?
- Are VS1 diamonds always more expensive?
Main Differences Between VS1 and VS2 Diamonds
- VS1 diamonds are more rare, whereas VS2 diamonds are less rare.
- VS1 diamonds are more expensive, whereas VS2 diamonds of the same quality tend to be less expensive.
- VS1 diamond inclusions are more likely to near the outer edges, whereas VS2 diamonds are more likely to have inclusions toward the center.
- VS1 diamonds shouldn’t have any dark inclusions, whereas VS2 diamonds may have one or two dark inclusions.
What is VS Diamond Clarity?
A diamond with VS clarity means the stone has been evaluated as “Very Slightly Included.” The VS clarity tier consists of two diamond grades: VS1 diamonds and VS2 diamonds.
Both VS1 and VS2 diamonds have inclusions and blemishes that can be viewed under 10x magnification or higher. Diamond clarity grades are given to diamonds according to the size, location, nature, relief, and number of inclusions and blemishes present in the stone.
Diamonds that have VS clarity grades mean that clarity characteristics in the diamond are unable to be seen with the naked eye. However, inclusions can be seen under 10x magnification or higher.
We call diamonds that don’t have visible inclusions to the naked eye as eye-clean diamonds. The VS clarity tier is the first tier to be considered eye-clean.
VS1 vs VS2 Diamond: Visual Differences
When breaking down a clarity tier down to its individual diamond grades, it’s hard to differentiate them from one another. The same is said for a VS1 and VS2 diamond.
The visual differences between the two clarity grades is minimal. The average person can look at both a VS1 and VS2 diamond beside each other and not be able to tell them apart. At best, they’d guess and be correct.
Even under 10x magnification, the difference is still hard to tell. But you’re more likely to notice dark inclusions in a VS2 diamond than in a VS1 diamond.
It’s hard for even the most experienced of diamond graders to assess diamond clarity. There are no machines, no mathematical standards for analyzing diamond clarity. The GIA has a master set of different diamond grades that incoming diamonds are matched to in order to assign them a grade.
So, what truly makes a VS1 diamond visually different from a VS2 diamond?
Well, the prominence of inclusions. Though both VS1 and VS2 lie on the Very Slightly Included scale, VS2 diamonds will be more likely to have darker and bigger inclusions than a VS1 diamond. Under 10x magnification, you shouldn’t see any prominent inclusions in a VS1 diamond.
Examples of VS Diamond Inclusions
Here are some VS diamonds taken at 40x magnification from our friends at James Allen to give you an idea of what you might be seeing when you browse.
VS1 vs VS2: Value and Resale
A lot of people have this idea about diamonds that if they cost a lot, they should be valuable. But most brick and mortar retailers carry commercial grade diamonds, not the good stuff that you can find online.
To a place like Kays or Zales, a VS1 or VS2 center diamond would be amazing. Most of what they carry in-store is SI or I Clarity Diamonds. But in an online retailer catalog, VS1 and VS2 diamonds run rampant.
Having a VS1 or VS2 diamond isn’t going to resale for a lot. Colorless diamonds aren’t worth investing in unless you’ve got a huge flawless diamond.
So my advice to you is to not consider the monetary or resale value of your VS diamonds, whichever grade you choose. Technically, a VS1 diamond would be considered more rare and valuable than a VS2 diamond because it’s higher on the clarity scale.
Now, that’s only true so long as all the other diamond grades are comparable. A 3 carat VS2 diamond with E color is going to be more valuable than a 1 carat VS1 diamond with G color grades. It’s much harder for diamond cutters to cut VS clarity out of larger diamonds than the average size 1-carat diamond.
You also have to consider lab grown diamonds too. A lab grown diamond with VS1 clarity isn’t going to be worth as much as a mined diamond with VS2 clarity. Lab grown diamonds are real diamonds in every sense of the word, but don’t hold the same value as mined diamonds.
Lab grown diamonds can be made in little time and often more than one at a time. In the ground it takes billions of years for diamonds to form and an excruciatingly painful amount of money in order to mine and produce to be ready for the jewelry cases.
Oftentimes, jewelers won’t offer any sort of upgrade plan for lab grown diamonds due to the way their prices fluctuate. However, more lab grown diamond retailers are starting to offer their own trade-ups.
VS1 Diamond vs VS2 Diamond: Price Difference
The price differences between a VS1 diamond and a VS2 diamond of the same quality are also minimal. These diamonds will usually range around a 5% to 15% increase.
But once again, that number shifts when VS1 and VS2 diamonds of different grades are compared. Diamonds are priced using a number of different factors like:
- Diamond Shape
- Certified Diamonds vs Uncertified Diamonds
- Certifying Grading Lab
- Lab Grown Diamonds vs Mined Diamonds
- Specialty Cuts
- Colorless vs Fancy Color Diamonds
It’s not uncommon to see VS2 diamonds more expensive than VS1 diamonds. Make sure that you’re accurately comparing the specific details of your diamonds, not just the 4Cs. Symmetry, polish, length to width ratio and other details aren’t part of the 4cs, but important when pricing diamonds.
The cost of a 1 carat VS1 diamond ranges between $5,000 up to $12,000 depending on grades. The average cost of a 1 carat VS2 diamond is around $3,000 up to $8,000.
These average costs change drastically when we talk about 1 carat lab grown diamonds. The exact price of a lab grown diamond is more difficult to guesstimate because they range at a 20-40% decrease from mined diamonds of the same grades. I’ve even seen them at a 60% discount at some of our favorite retailers.
Examples and Real Prices of VS Diamonds Online:
Here are some real prices from real diamonds that I picked online to give you an idea of how much a VS1 and VS2 diamond might cost. Note the difference between the mined diamonds and lab grown VS diamonds.
VS1 and VS2 Mined Diamonds from Blue Nile
VS1 and VS2 Lab Grown Diamonds from Blue Nile
Which is Better, VS1 Diamonds or VS2 Diamonds?
I know you came here for me to help you make a decision, but it probably doesn’t seem like I’m leaning one way or another.
So Juli, out with it. Which is better, VS1 diamonds or VS2 diamonds?
Like much in the diamond industry, it’s complicated. But I’ll explain it in simple terms, so listen up.
If you’re buying a 1-2 carat diamond with a brilliant cutting style, I’d go with a VS2 diamond. But if you’re choosing an emerald cut or Asscher shape diamond, you might want to go with a VS1 diamond.
If you’re buying a 2-carat diamond, I’d also recommend buying a VS1 diamond, no matter what shape you choose.
That being said, you should always analyze video and HD images of your diamond when shopping online. Make sure that your chosen retailer has a good return policy just in case you don’t like what you see.
VS1 and VS2 diamonds are considered the average clarity grade. This is an excellent clarity grade for a diamond engagement ring because there are no visible inclusions to the naked eye. Inclusions are seen at 10x magnification and beyond, which bears no real distinction from people looking at your ring with the naked eye anyway.
I hope I’ve helped to point out the subtle differences between VS1 diamonds and VS2 diamonds. If you’re interested in learning about where you might buy VS diamonds, you should check out our Best Place to Buy VS Diamonds Online.