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?
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.
Where To Buy The Best Eye Clean Diamonds?
We've given you a couple examples of online retailers to purchase eye-clean diamonds. Here are the online retailers we recommend:
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, depending on the clarity grade of the diamond.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
What Are Some Buying Tips When Purchasing Eye-Clean Diamonds?
While I've given away some of the price saving secrets when choosing other diamond grades for your eye-clean diamond, but I do have some additional tips and tricks to utilize when buying eye-clean diamonds.
Lab Created Diamonds
Everybody wants a nice diamond, but not everybody wants to pay the price tag for them. The truth is, there's no such thing as a high quality diamond for cheap. There are no bargain prices or 70% of 1 Carat diamonds. If you see any of these advertised, they're probably fake, or very low diamond grades.
For a 1 carat eye-clean diamond engagement ring with good diamond grades, you can count on paying at least $2000, on the low range. If you're looking to save more without taking your diamond grades down, you might consider lab created diamonds.
Lab-created diamonds are often referred to as synthetic diamonds, which automatically translates to fake in people's minds. Synthetic diamonds are 100% real diamonds, and they happen to be 20% cheaper than mined diamonds.
Gemologists found a way to recreate the conditions in which diamonds form in a lab. They are grown in a matter of weeks, while mined diamonds take a billion years to form. Because it's the easier way to get the same product, and they are less rare, lab diamonds cost less. The downside of lab created diamonds is that they don't hold any resale value in the jewelry world.
You won't be able to get a jeweler to buyback a lab created diamond, and most places that sell lab diamonds also don't allow any sort of upgrade benefits like you can with mined diamonds.
Online Diamond Viewer
The best way to save the maximum amount of money when buying eye-clean diamonds is to buy them from an online diamond retailer that allows you to choose your diamond, and see what you're choosing. But be aware, it may take you some time to pick out the right diamond, but it'll be totally worth it when you do.
James Allen and Blue Nile are excellent options when needing to see loose diamonds up close and personal. They also have large diamond inventories as well. Both of them allow you to choose your carat weight in points, clarity grade, color grade, and cut grade.
James Allen has over 2,000 different loose stones with eye-clean clarity grades. These diamonds will for sure be clear to the unaided eye. You can look through even more lower clarity grades to find your perfect diamond, because they have a 360 viewer on every loose diamond.
Blue Nile has 360 on some of their diamonds, but not all. You can easily sort the ones with the 360 viewer with the filters they give. Blue Nile also offers GIA or AGSL certified diamonds, which we'll talk about further down.
We already know that a VS2 diamond is going to be eye clean, no matter where you purchase it from. I've grabbed a 1 carat round diamond with VS2 clarity, SI1 diamond, and SI2 clarity diamond with the color, cut grades, and certification. By using a viewer like James Allen, I was able to sort find eye-clean diamonds from clarity grades that aren't considered eye-clean.
Warranties & Returns
Make sure to consider both warranty and return policies when buying an eye clean diamond online from a retailer. Some companies will offer warranties that cover routine maintenance on your engagement ring, like resizing, rhodium plating white gold, stone tightening, and prong retipping. Buying diamonds from retailers that give a free lifetime warranty like that will save you lots of money over the years.
While I'd love to tell you that every diamond dealer online is 100% legitimate, it's still the internet. It's definitely safer to buy online than it used to be with payment options being expanded past your credit card details, such as Paypal.
No matter where you buy diamonds from, you should buy from someone that has a good return policy. Keep in mind that people have different opinions on what a good policy might consist of. For instance, James Allen and Blue Nile don't accept returns on special orders, so you might not want to buy those ring settings. Many of Whiteflash's internally flawless and flawless diamonds are from their virtual selection, which only allow a 10 day return period. Anything not labeled "virtual" has a 30 day policy.
Make sure that you look at the process of the return as well. For some people, they're unable to make it to a local Fedex, even if the company sends them a free shipping label. Ritani, another online diamond retailer, will arrange for FedEx to pick up at your house.
Picking a diamond company with a solid return policy and process will help you better protect you and your wallet if you don't happen to love what you've picked online.
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.
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.