Diamonds are a type of precious gemstone that have been beloved for centuries but only graded on a scale of quality for the past hundred years or so. The Gemological Institute of America developed a system for diamond grading based on its founder Robert M. Shipley’s “4 Cs” and published the first diamond grading reports in 1953. This International Diamond Grading System became the universal standard for diamond grading. The 4Cs were and still are: cut, clarity, color, and carat weight.
Within each of the 4Cs of diamond quality, there is a range of grades that a diamond can be given. “VVS” is one of those grades for diamond clarity. So, what are VVS diamonds and why should you care? We answer these important questions below.
Clarity grading pertains to how many inclusions and blemishes a diamond has. Inclusions refer to internal marks and blemishes refer to external marks. The fewer inclusions and blemishes a diamond has, the better its quality.
When diamonds are formed, it is over the course of hundreds of thousands of years within the earth’s surface, so it’s only natural that they would have some markings. Although some markings may be small or even invisible, markings that are large, extremely pronounced, or in precarious places on the stone can affect a diamond’s transparency, sparkle, and durability.
Diamond clarity grading ranges from Flawless, FL, which means there are no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification, to Included, I3, which means there are obvious inclusions. There are 11 total clarity grades; the better the grade, the higher the quality, and, the higher the price.
Lab grown diamonds are graded on the same universally recognized clarity scale and terms as natural diamonds so you can evaluate their quality in the same way when you shop without supporting the unethical practices behind the natural diamond industry.
Why Learn About Diamond Clarity
Grading diamonds is a unique science, so it’s understandable that many of the terms and qualities that make up a diamond grade are foreign to anyone outside the industry. Even if you know what the terms mean, you would probably be hard-pressed to identify them in a diamond in front of you unless you were trained to do so and had the right microscope on hand. Many of a diamond’s quality attributes aren’t visible to the naked eye, and most aren’t visible to the untrained eye. However, when it comes to beauty, you know it when you see it, and this applies to diamonds as well.
Just because you may not be trained in gemstones doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know what characteristics make a diamond a stone of higher or lesser quality. If you are in the market for a diamond, for your engagement ring, or another piece of fine jewelry, you very well should know what these characteristics are for a couple of reasons. For one, this knowledge will help you select a diamond that looks as sparkly, bright, and beautiful as you would like. With so much of the diamond shopping experience shifting online, this is even more important today than it was twenty or even ten years ago when you could work closely with a trusted jeweler who would help you select a high-quality diamond and when you could see the diamond you were selecting in person.
Another reason to understand diamond quality is that it will allow you to get the best bang for your buck. When you deeply know about cut, clarity, color, and carat weight, you will be able to decide what aspects are worth sacrificing and what are not in order to achieve the ideal diamond at your ideal price point.
When it comes to clarity, in particular, differences in grades can be infinitesimal, and thus extremely difficult to notice, but if you know what each clarity grade means, you will know why the price differences can be vast.
What To Know About VVS Diamonds
So, are VVS diamonds real? VVS stands for Very, Very Slightly Included. This grade means inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification. On the clarity scale, VVS falls just after FL (flawless) and IF (internally flawless), which means there are no inclusions and blemishes are only visible under 10x magnification. While a VVS diamond may not have the highest grade on the scale, they are a much better value than rarer FL and IF diamonds, which can be incredibly pricey, that is, if you can even find them.
There are actually two separate grades that fall under VVS diamond quality: VVS1 and VVS2. A VVS2 diamond is a lower clarity grade than a VVS1 diamond and it tends to have more inclusions.
It’s important to note that diamond graders grade clarity under a microscope. This means that, all else the same, a diamond that has a VVS clarity grade and a diamond that has a VS clarity grade may appear identical to the naked eye, but will have quite a large price disparity. At 12FIFTEEN Diamonds, you can filter your search for a diamond by clarity grade, ranging from S12 to FL, and compare the appearance of separate stones with 3D videos.
When shopping for a precious stone like a diamond, the clarity grade is important, but what’s more important is that the diamond appears “eye-clean” and beautiful to you. It’s better to go for a lower clarity grade over a flawless diamond when the difference cannot be seen with the naked eye.