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What is a VVS diamond?

By Frank

Highly experienced diamond polisher who loves to share his knowledge with you. Continues to stun his colleagues with interesting - or simply bizarre - facts about diamonds and gems.

May 10, 2019

Perhaps you overheard someone saying they absolutely want a ‘VVS diamond’. Or perhaps your girlfriend even “hinted” she prefers VVS diamonds. But what is a VVS diamond? Let me explain what a VVS diamond is and why some people are so crazy about it.

Diamond quality

To understand what VVS means, first I have to tell you about the diamond quality. Diamonds come in all sorts, shapes, and prices. The quality of a diamond depends on the so-called 4 C’s of diamond valuation. These four C’s are carat, color, clarity, and cut. Carat is the weight of a diamond. It determines the size. A bigger carat means a higher value. The color of a diamond, or rather the lack of it, determines the color and the value. The whiter a diamond is, the more valuable. Clarity refers to the amount and the size of inclusions inside a diamond. If a diamond has no imperfections, we call it ‘(internally) flawless’. This is very close to VVS. The clearer the diamond, the more valuable. A diamond’s cut is the shape and the quality of it. This is the only C a diamond polisher has a direct influence on.

hand holding a very clear rough vvs diamond

Diamond clarity

Practically every natural diamond has imperfections in them. These imperfections are fractures, parts of carbon, or air bubbles. They can seriously affect a diamond’s sparkle. Around 70% of natural diamonds are so polluted that they are not even suitable for jewelry. These diamonds are used in mechanic tools and for other industrial purposes. The diamonds that are suitable for jewelry differ in clarity and quality. Official institutions such as the GIA determine the clarity of a diamond by means of a clarity grading scale.

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diamond with many imperfectionsSome diamonds contain a lot of imperfections. We call them Pique or I-diamonds. They have a low clarity. 

Clarity grading scale

The different clarity options are:

  • FL & IF means Internally Flawless. A perfect diamond without any flaws.
    A flawless diamond is rare and very, very, very valuable.
  • VVS1 & VVS2 means Very Very Small inclusions. The diamond is nearly perfect with almost no visible flaws. Even with a 10x loupe, it’s almost impossible to spot the imperfections.
    VVS diamonds are extremely valuable and rare.
  • VS1 & VS2 means Very Small inclusions. You can spot the imperfections with a 10x loupe, but only if you know where to look.
    VS diamonds are very valuable and quite rare.
  • SI1 & SI2 means Small Inclusions or Slightly Included. SI diamonds have inclusions that you can see, but only with magnification.
    Probably most commercial diamonds have an SI clarity. We often consider them the ‘magic zone’ of getting the best quality for your money.
  • I1, 12 & I3 / PIQ1, PIQ2 & PIQ3 means Included or Imperfect. In Europe, we often use Piqué instead of Included, but they mean the same. These are diamonds with visible inclusions, easy to spot by the naked eye.
    We usually only recommend Pique or Included diamonds if you are on a tight budget or if you have your mind set on a specific diamond color, size or shape.

clarity grading scale diamond from GIA

Difference between VVS1 and VVS2

In the scale above, you see there are numbers (1 or 2) behind the different clarity grades. These numbers indicate the size and the place of the imperfections. The 1 means that the clarity is better than the 2. Especially for SI diamonds, these numbers make a difference. Imperfections in SI1 diamonds are smaller and harder to spot. Whereas in SI2 diamonds, you can sometimes see the imperfections without a loupe. But what about the difference between VVS1 and VVS2? Both have eenie meenie tiny imperfections that are invisible to the naked eye.

Location & size

The inclusions on both the VVS1 and the VVS2 diamond are very, very small. Usually, VVS1 diamonds have one or two imperfections that are off-center. VVS2 can have (a bit) more inclusions or imperfections that are closer to the table. The closer to the center, the more an imperfection hurts the sparkle. That is why VVS1 diamonds tend to be a bit pricier than VVS2 diamonds. But the untrained eye normally does not see the difference between a VVS1 and VVS2 diamond. Even with a microscope, an untrained individual cannot find the inclusions in either one of them.

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vvs rough diamond and pique rough diamondEven in rough diamonds, it is sometimes clear what clarity the polished gem will have. 

Why choose VVS diamonds?

There are several reasons why some people prefer a VVS diamond. The most obvious reason is the sparkle. Diamonds with a better clarity sparkle more in general. And that is what you want: a sparkling diamond. But keep in mind that also the diamond cut influences the sparkle. A bad cut can dull even the clearest diamond. Another reason to choose VVS diamonds is the investment options. Because VVS diamonds are so extremely rare, they are investment-worthy.

Find the right diamond

Whether a VVS diamond is the right one for you is hard to say. A diamond’s quality and value depend on more than just the clarity. Our diamond consultants help you find the right diamond. Just tell them your wishes and your budget. With 20.000 diamonds in stock, you are sure to find your diamond match right here.

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