What Grade of Diamond Clarity Should You Buy?
Diamonds are graded based on the four C’s, as you may know. The four C’s are Color, Clarity, Carat-weight and Cut. In this article, we are going to examine clarity and what is a suitable quality.
SI Clarity is Very Popular
SI is one of the five grades of clarity. Its popularity is based on its affordability and the likelihood that its flaws are not very noticeable. SI means Slightly Included, and the meaning of the term “included”, is that there are marks and spots in the structure of the diamond. These marks are called “inclusions.”
Within the SI designation, there are two and sometimes three variants. The two main ones are SI1 and SI2. As you might expect, SI1 has fewer inclusions than SI2. SI3 is not really an official grade, but is sometimes used by jewelers to point out that the diamond they are showing you is not the absolute bottom of the barrel, which would be I (Included).
What Are the Six Grades of Clarity?
From best to worst, the six grades used by the G.I.A. (*Gemological Institute of America) are FL (flawless), IF (internally flawless), VVS (Very Very Slightly Included), VS (Very Slightly Included), SI (Slightly Included) and I (Included). You will note that SI is #5 in the line-up.
What Is the Clarity of the SI Grade?
The flaws of the SI grades, namely the SI1 and SI2 can be seen readily under magnification. With the SI1 grade, the flaws will not be visible to the naked eye, and under magnification, they will be barely perceptible. The S2 grade has more noticeable flaws, but still hardly recognizable, and probably only from the side. To the casual observer, there may be no difference at all in the two grades. Even higher grades may not appear superior to the SI designated gem. That is the essence of its popularity. If you can’t see a difference, why pay more for a higher grade?
It’s important to ask about the grade of the diamond you are examining, because this will alert the jeweler to the fact that you know a thing or two about diamonds and are a discerning buyer.
Buying an SI Diamond
As a customer, it is advantageous for you to be knowledgeable about the different grades of diamonds, because this will inform your salesperson that you have studied the matter.
To start with, examine the diamond from the top. If you can see flaws, you will know you are not looking at an SI graded diamond, as you will not see flaws with your naked eye. This action will also alert your salesperson to the fact that you are a knowledgeable buyer.
Next, ask the jeweler what the grade of the diamond is. If they tell you something higher than SI, explain that you are looking for an SI diamond. Or you could simply start there, if the jeweler inquired what you are looking for. Then you will want to know if the article is S1 or S2. Ask to see one of each, for further clarification.
If you decide that the S2 is the better buy, examine several S2 pieces, because there may be variations in the flaws they contain. S2 diamonds can cost a lot less than S1 diamonds, and you may not be able to tell that much difference in the different variations of the grade. But between two S2 diamonds, there may be one that you strongly prefer. There may be a difference in your choice depending on the setting the gem is to be placed in. The setting may cover up the inclusions anyway.
Always ask to see the certificate, to verify that you are being told the truth about the grade of the diamond. You will enjoy the beauty of your diamond for many years to come, and you will be pleased that you chose on the basis of credible information.