What are VS1 clarity diamonds?

The Details About VS1 Clarity Diamonds

VS1 is a term used in diamond grading to describe the clarity of a diamond. It refers to diamonds with very slight inclusions (Very Slightly Included 1) that are difficult to see under 10x magnification.

In general, VS1 clarity diamonds are the grittier, cooler version of their VVS1/VVS2 clarity buddies.

They know that they’re not as ‘clean’ as their higher caliber counterparts, but on the other hand, they are much better valued and, because of that, very popular.

As you move down the clarity scale, the diamonds will have more inclusions and in more obvious places.

However, what’s awesome about the VS1 diamonds is that they are still eye-clean. So why would you want to spend all that hard-earned cash on a VVS1 or VVS2, when you can get a snazzy little VS1 for a lot less money?

VS1 Diamond Inclusions

So, what’s the deal with VS1s? Well first of all, VS1s have inclusions. Shocker! ‘VS’ does stand for ‘very slight’ after all. That being said, the types of inclusions are pretty benign (tiny white spots, feathers, clouds and cute sounding stuff like that) and are usually located to the sides or underneath of a stone rather than in center and the top.

Basically folks, you are not going to find a VS1 with a big black inclusion right in the center of the table. Even if the diamond has a few inclusions or blemishes, they are polite enough to only be visible under 10x magnification, so they are certainly not going to rock up unannounced.

That said, not all VS1’s will be eye-clean. You might find a diamond that states it’s a VS1 on the grading report, but later find out it looks more like a lump of coal than a diamond. This will usually be down to some dodgy grading practices, and can be avoided if you stick with the well-regarded laboratories like GIA and AGS.

VS1 Diamonds and Fancy Cuts

Speaking of fancy cut diamonds, it’s time for a stern warning. If you are buying a diamond with a step cut (like Emerald cuts and Asscher cuts ), you really do need to be going for a clarity in the higher ranges (VS2 and above). This is because step cut diamonds will not hide any glaring imperfections.

The other instance where I suggest it’s worth going for this higher band of clarity is if you are getting a LARGE diamond (over 2 carats for example). The bigger the diamond, the more obvious the blemishes, so you need to stick with the higher clarity ranges to avoid spotting the issues more easily. 

Yes, VS1 is definitely a better value than the VVS ranges I outlined in the previous posts - in short, go for a VS1 if you are getting a large or step-cut diamond; otherwise, cast your net wider. You might be pleasantly surprised. 

VVS2 Clarity Diamonds

VS2 Clarity Diamonds

Dr. Rian Mulcahy
Dr. Rian Mulcahy
Rian is officially a Diamond PhD - just ping us if you’d like to read her fascinating 200-page thesis, titled Facets of Value: An Investigation into the Formation of Worth in the Diamond Market. She has consulted various firms all along the pipeline, from the rough diamond market to the recycled diamond industry. She holds an MA in Globalisation and Development from University College Cork and a PhD in the Sociology of Diamond Valuation from the London School of Economics.