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SI2 vs VS2 Diamond Clarity (Differences)

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SI2 vs VS2 Diamonds

Diamonds are graded according to the presence of the inclusions, or flaws, within their facets. The scale begins at flawless (FL) and extends to I3 (included).

SI (slightly included) and VS (very slightly included) fall between those ends of the spectrum, and each is broken down into two grades: SI1, SI2, VS1, and VS2.

The main difference between SI2 and VS2 diamonds is the extent to which inclusions affect their appearance, durability, and brilliance. SI2 diamonds have more impactful blemishes that are often visible without magnification, and VS2 diamonds have minor flaws that often aren’t noticeable to the naked eye.

We’ll compare SI2 versus VS2 diamond clarity, including an overview of each grade, their differences, and how you should decide between the two.

What are SI2 Diamonds?

SI2 diamonds earn that clarity grade because inclusions are easily visible with a jewelers loupe and often don’t require magnification to identify.

The grade is one above I1 and below SI1, but it’s on the low end of the clarity scale.

When the gemologist scans the diamond, they’ll find a variety of inclusions on its table and pavilion. These range from indented naturals and needles to black spots and twinning wisps.

For example, this SI2 diamond from Blue Nile was graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

SI2 Diamond Clarity

The report notes the following inclusions:

  • Crystal
  • Feather
  • Cloud
  • Needle

Many of these inclusions are dark, as opposed to transparent clouds and small pinpoints.

But the SI2 grade isn’t given to a diamond because of a specific number or type of inclusion. Instead, it refers to the overall impact it has on quality.

So it could have a single type of inclusion in multiple places inside its facets, or it could have several instances of smaller ones scattered across the table.

Many reputable jewelry vendors, such as Brilliant Earth and Ritani, won’t sell diamonds with a clarity grade lower than SI2. It’s often the lowest clarity grade buyers choose for engagement rings because of the visibility of its imperfections.

What are VS2 Diamonds?

VS2 Diamond Ring

VS2 diamonds have inclusions that are easily visible at 10x magnification but often aren’t noticeable to the naked eye. The designation is one level above SI1 and below VS1.

When a gemologist is examining a VS2 diamond, they’ll find flaws in multiple positions, but they likely aren’t covering too much of the table and pavilion.

There may be a few needles in one area and a black spots in another. White twinning wisps or transparent feathers could have formed on the table, but you’ll often need a jeweler’s loupe to assess them.

This 0.90-carat round cut diamond from Brilliant Earth earned a VS2 clarity grade from the GIA.

The gemologist identified crystals, feathers, and clouds.

GIA Report for VS2 Diamond These are some of the same inclusions found in the SI2 diamond above.

The reason this one received a higher clarity is because those inclusions are smaller and have minimal impact on its brilliance, durability, and appearance. 

It’s a subjective judgment by the organization creating the report, which is why it’s important to choose a reliable certification.

Many buyers searching for an engagement ring choose VS2 diamonds as a starting point. You don’t pay the premium charged for ones with higher clarity grades, but you also avoid visible inclusions.

The inclusions in a VS2 diamond also have a minuscule effect on brilliance.

Although blemishes have the potential to distort the way light is reflected from the diamond’s facets, cut is a more important determinant of its sparkle.

How are SI2 and VS2 Diamonds Different?

If you’re comparing SI2 versus VS2 clarity diamonds, there are many differences to consider. 

The extent of inclusions will affect the stone in ways beyond its physical appearance. So let’s explore these distinctions to help you decide which is right for you.

SI2 Diamonds Often Have a Higher Number of Inclusions

Gemologists don’t determine a diamond’s clarity grade by counting the total number of inclusions. 

If that were the case, one with several black spots and small needles could earn a lower grade than a diamond with two or three large, visible twinning wisps.

But in general, SI2 diamonds have a higher number of inclusions than ones graded VS2.

As an example, this SI2 diamond has the following flaws:

  • Crystal
  • Cloud
  • Needle
  • Indented natural
  • Natural

Inclusions in an SI2 Diamond

The GIA report shows them located from a top-down and bottom-up view, with some in the center of the table where they’re most visible.

But this VS2 diamond only has two types of inclusions: feathers and indented naturals.

It’s clear the VS2 diamond is higher quality because there are far fewer flaws.

But there are exceptions to this rule.

This one-carat diamond earned a VS2 clarity grade but has more types of inclusions than the SI2 diamond above. The reason it received the higher grade is because the inclusions are smaller and less impactful.

We can see on the clarity characteristics plot of the GIA report they’re barely visible.

VS2 Diamonds are More Expensive

VS2 diamonds are more expensive than SI2 because buyers are willing to pay more for a diamond with fewer imperfections.

This idea is true across the four Cs of color, cut, clarity, and carat, where the price increases as you move up the scales.

The best way to compare VS2 versus SI2 prices is to examine costs for a diamond with all the same qualities but different clarity grades.

We assessed prices for more than 75 diamonds from James Allen, a leading online jewelry vendor, with the following traits:

  • Carat weight: 0.90
  • Cut: Very good
  • Color: F

For ones with a SI2 grade, the average price was $3,751. The range was $2,910-$4,630.

Prices of SI2 Diamonds at James Allen

The VS2 diamonds cost an average of $5,747, with a range of $4,980-$7,280.

That’s a 53 percent premium for VS2 diamonds over SI2. In fact, the least expensive VS2 diamond in James Allen’s inventory cost more than the most expensive SI2 diamond.

Prices continue to increase along the clarity scale, whether you choose a VVS1, VVS2, or flawless diamond.

Buyers weigh this increase in cost against other characteristics about the ring, such as its setting, color grade, cut, and more. 

By choosing a diamond with a lower clarity grade, you can select one with higher qualities in other areas without raising the total price.

SI2 Diamonds Have More Visible Inclusions

Most buyers aren’t primarily concerned about the way inclusions impact the structure of a stone or its brilliance. The most prominent factor they consider is its visible appearance.

An engagement ring can appear lackluster if the center diamond has noticeable flaws. Even a single black spot on its table can diminish its quality.

That’s why we recommend prioritizing eye-cleanliness instead of a specific clarity grade like SI2 or VS2.

But SI2 diamonds are more likely to have visible inclusions, especially if it’s larger than one carat. For example, this one-carat SI2 diamond from James Allen is full of inclusions that are easy to identify in a high-resolution photo.

SI2 Diamond

We’d expect them to be noticeable in person as well, so it isn’t eye-clean.

But this diamond also earned an SI2 grade, and the inclusions aren’t as visible in the photo. The only one that stands out at certain angles is a black spot that resulted from carbon that never fully crystalized.

One reason is because it’s only 0.80 carats. Another reason is its other inclusions appear to be transparent needles and small feathers. 

VS2 diamonds, on the other hand, are often eye-clean if they weigh less than 1.5 carats. No matter the angle you rotate this VS2 diamond, you won’t identify visible inclusions.

VS2 Diamond Engagement Ring

That means it could be the right pick for an engagement ring diamond.

VS2 Diamonds are Less Likely to Chip

VS2 diamonds have a lower chance of chipping because inclusions affect the durability of a gem. The exact impact depends on factors such as:

  • The type of inclusion
  • Their position
  • The size of the flaw

If a diamond has a large inclusion in a vulnerable area like an extremely thin girdle or sharp corner, it’s more likely to fracture with hard impact or a drop.

Girdle of Diamond

Concerns about your SI2 diamond chipping shouldn’t be top of mind, but you can take practical steps to prevent this problem. 

Avoid inclusions such as diamond cavities in weak positions or large feathers near the girdle.

Not only do they diminish its visible appearance, it leaves the gem susceptible to breaking.

Instead, you may want to consider an SI2 diamond with several small inclusions in durable areas. This minimizes the risk of chipping, which is a difficult issue to repair.

Overall, we recommend choosing a strong setting that protects vulnerable areas like corners, whether you choose a VS1, VVS1, VS2 or SI2 diamond.

You’ll have peace of mind knowing its durability can withstand everyday activities that might impact your diamond ring.

How to Decide Between SI2 and VS2 Diamonds

Deciding between SI2 versus VS2 diamonds involves understanding how inclusions affect their overall performance. There’s more to consider than its appearance to the naked eye, but that’s often top-of-mind for buyers.

Here are some guidelines to help you decide.

You should consider an SI2 diamond if:

  • You have the chance to view it in-person or through high-resolution images to learn how its inclusions may appear
  • You’re looking to put the savings into other qualities about the diamond ring, such as its carat weight or cut grade
  • You’ll protect any vulnerable areas with a strong setting or avoid one with large inclusions in weak spots

You should choose a VS2 diamond if:

  • You want to avoid the premiums charged for higher clarity grades but want one that’s eye-clean
  • You aren’t concerned about the presence of several types of inclusions scattered across its table, as long as they aren’t visible

Explore a variety of SI2 and VS2 diamonds at in-person and online diamond retailers.

By pairing VS2 and SI2 diamonds with different types of settings, you’ll find a diamond ring that’s the right fit for you.

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler is the founder of TeachJewelry.com.

He earned an Applied Jewelry Professional Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America and now brings you essential information about diamonds, settings, and more.

Devon has consulted with leading jewelry brands, and his work has been cited in Diamond Nexus and other industry publications.

He's also a member of the International Gem Society.

Devon enjoys discussing jewelry with readers, so contact him with any questions at tyler.devon@teachjewelry.com.

Learn More About Devon