What is an Eye Clean Diamond? (7 Questions Answered)

Last Updated on August 14, 2023 by Juli "Jewels" Church

Wonder what an "eye clean" diamond actually is and the best place to buy those types of diamonds?

Perfect, in this expert Learning Jewelry guide you'll learn:

  • What does Eye-Clean Mean?
  • Are Eye-Clean Diamonds More Expensive or Cheap?
  • How to pick out Eye-Clean Diamonds?
what is an eye clean diamond

Below is a quick list of all my top picks. Keep scrolling to learn more about my best buying tips and tricks, as well as a comprehensive FAQ section. 

What Does Eye-Clean Mean?

Simply put, an eye clean diamond is a diamond that shows no visible inclusions to the naked eye. It may however, have visible diamond inclusions under 10x magnification and beyond, depending on the clarity grade of the diamond. 

Diamond Clarity

If you're new to diamonds, some of these words may not make sense to you. To really understand what eye-clean means, you'll need to know about diamond clarity. Clarity is one of the diamond 4Cs, which is the system that all diamonds are graded by. This was put forth by the world's leading jewelry and gemology resource, the Gemological Institute of America. The 4Cs is a system that focuses on the cut quality, diamond clarity, diamond color, and carat weight. 

When we talk about eye-clean diamonds, we're referring to the clarity of the diamond. All diamonds have what we call natural inclusions or blemishes. These are bits of carbon and crystals that get stuck in the diamond while it grows deep in the earth. The following is the GIA's official clarity scale. 

Diamond Inclusions

Diamond cutters try to make the diamond as internally flawless as possible, faceting the stone to minimize the appearance of these inclusions. Tiny inclusions are usually light, like white speckles. Other inclusions can be dark and big. Black inclusions are the most unappealing and can be found in lower clarity grades like I1 diamonds and many SI diamonds. 

Eye-clean diamonds are diamonds that have either flawless or very small inclusions that you wouldn't see unless you were looking down the lens of a Gemscope. You can expect majority of eye clean diamonds to start at the VS2 clarity, which means very slightly included. That's not to say it isn't impossible to find an eye-clean SI1 or SI2 diamond, because you can.

A lot of SI1 clarity diamonds are eye-clean, but many SI2 diamonds aren't. You can find an eye-clean I1 diamond, but it can be very difficult because lower clarity grades have more eye-visible inclusions. But don't worry, we'll teach you how to pick eye clean diamonds from lower clarity grades and save money while doing it.

Are Eye-Clean Diamonds Expensive or Cheap?

The cost of an eye-clean diamond is not just based on one factor, but many. Because eye-clean can include I1 diamonds all the way up to flawless, you can understand that a price might be generalized. 

The price of eye-clean diamonds will depend greatly on other diamond details, like your other 3Cs. The better those diamond grades are, the more expensive your diamond will be. 

The carat weight of a diamond is how heavy your diamond is, even though it's often associated with size. And while we can interpret the size of a round diamond in carat weights like this guide below, it doesn't work for every diamond shape. 

Read also: What's the best carat weight for a diamond engagement ring?

Let's take VVS diamonds for example. Both this eye-clean VVS1 round and emerald shape diamonds are both 1 carat loose diamonds, but they have an obvious difference in face up size. Emerald cut diamonds just retain more of the diamond rough when cut while round diamonds have more discarded. 

Color grades will have an impact when you get into the colorless diamond grades like D, E, F. Of course, you don't really need a high color grade if you're purchasing a brilliant cut diamond because they reflect so much white light already. Plus, they say that you can't really tell the difference between two color grades next to each other, but can when alternated. 

For example, an E and F color grade will look identical, but an E will be more expensive. There's no reason to go that high on color grade other than you have the money and want that specifically. But if you're trying to save on an eye-clean diamond, you can find better priced near colorless grades and even some faint yellow on brilliant shapes. 

Similarly, some diamonds with different cutting techniques are more expensive than others. Step cut diamonds like your Asscher cut and emerald cut shapes will need higher diamond clarity grades, because the facets are long flashes of light that reveal inclusions that you wouldn't see if it was brilliant cut. Brilliant cut diamond shapes are round, princess cut, radiant, cushion cut, and more.

However, step cut diamonds are cheaper, so it benefits you a lot to purchase from someone like James Allen that allows you to see the inclusions from a 360 viewer.  

Read Also: Round cut diamond vs princess cut, which is better?

Other reasons why an eye-clean diamond with the same diamond grades might be because of different diamond shapes. Round cut diamonds, often referred to as round brilliant diamonds, are the most expensive diamond shape. It also happens to be the most popular, because they can be cut to exact symmetry and proportions to have the best brilliance money can buy. 

Diamonds like this are called ideal cut diamonds. Ideal cut diamonds are the highest cut quality a round diamond can have, making it at the top of the GIA cut grade system. GIA grading reports use the Ideal Cut term while the American Gem Society (AGS) has Excellent Cut diamonds. The two are interchangeable and mean the same high quality. 

Other diamond shapes can claim to be ideal cut, like princess cut diamonds and cushion cuts. However, the GIA grading reports only officially recognize round diamonds as ideal. Other "ideal" shapes are just cut to the strict perimeters for that shape to obtain the best brilliance, usually in a range. 

Read also: Why are cushion cut diamonds both cheap and popular?

The following is a chart that shows you the average cost of different diamond shapes when buying a VS2 diamond with G color grade: 

Lastly when it comes to clarity, diamonds with the higher eye-clean clarity range such as VVS1, VVS2, IF, and F will be more expensive the higher up the tier you buy. Picking an eye clean diamond with a lower clarity grade will save money as well.

How to Pick an Eye Clean Diamond

1. Make Sure You Have Options For Diamonds

Online diamond retailers have better capabilities of letting you check out hundreds and even thousands of loose diamonds online. Your mall jewelry store can't do that. 

If you're trying to find an eye-clean diamond in a lower clarity grade, you'll want a large selection to choose from. 

2. Use 360˚ Video or HD images

Personally, an interactive 360˚ viewer is going to be the best in helping you locate the inclusions within a diamond. You're able to drag the diamond at your own pace and analyze how the light reacts between inclusions. 

3. Analyze the Imperfections

If you're searching for an eye-clean diamond in SI Clarity diamonds, you'll want to analyze its characteristics. Some SI diamonds may have a single dark inclusion. Without it, they may as well be eye-clean. 

If the inclusion is dark and right smack in the middle of the table facet, you're going to be likely to notice it with the naked eye. But if the dark inclusion is in the pavillion or closer to the girdle of the diamond, you might not even notice it. It would be eye clean to you and at a discounted price. 

FAQ On Eye Clean Diamonds

Does An Eye Clean Diamond Need a Certification?

I always recommend getting a certified diamond, but only by either the GIA or AGS. Many of our recommended retailers sell IGI certified diamonds as well, but you should avoid these. IGI certified diamonds have looser guidelines to diamond grades. It's actually possible to take a diamond graded as a SI2 diamond from a different lab, take it to the GIA, and it come back with an I1 grade.

Diamond certifications from reputable labs like the GIA or AGS will ensure that you are receiving exactly what you are buying. It also helps you when obtaining appraisals or reselling. 

Are Diamond Inclusions Bad?

Absolutely not. There are many different types of diamond inclusions. Diamond inclusions show us that your diamond is a real diamond. It is often one of a few ways to tell a real diamond apart from diamond simulants, like lab-created white sapphire, or moissanite. Of course, this gets harder to tell in clarity grades that are typically eye-clean. 

Read also: What are the best and worst inclusions to have in your diamond?

Diamond inclusions are also what makes a diamond unique to you. If your diamond has inclusions in it, that means that no other diamond in the world has those same inclusions. It's the footprint of your stone. 

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