What Are VVS Diamonds?
If you’ve been comparing diamonds to choose an engagement ring, you’ve probably become quite familiar with the 4Cs of diamond quality: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. And you’ve likely noticed that pricing is related to overall diamond quality and size. Today we’re going to dig deeper on one clarity grade that continues to get a lot of attention: VVS diamonds. Let’s break down what VVS means and how it compares to other grades.
What Are VVS Diamonds?
VVS stands for Very, Very Slightly Included. This term is a measure of a diamond’s clarity, which refers to the visual appearance of a diamond and its internal inclusions or external blemishes. To obtain a grading of VVS, that means the diamond has very tiny inclusions that are difficult to notice even when viewing the diamond face-up under 10x magnification.
Therefore, VVS diamonds are referred to as eye-clean, meaning you are unable to see any of the inclusions or blemishes with the naked eye. On the clarity grading scale, VVS diamonds are one step away from an internally flawless (FL) diamond. Diamonds with very few or no clarity characteristics are extremely rare, and VVS diamonds fall into this category.
VVS diamonds typically show miniscule versions of inclusions such as pinpoints, needles, internal graining, or clouds, and tiny surface-reaching inclusions like a chip, cavity, or feather. But again, any instance of inclusions or blemishes would only be noticeable under strong magnification and never be visible to the naked eye.
A VS clarity oval diamond
The Difference Between VVS1 and VVS2
All diamonds are graded by assessing five clarity quality factors: size, number, location, relief, and nature of the inclusions. Then the diamonds are assigned a grade based on considering these factors. There are 11 grades ranging over 6 categories, and VVS diamonds comprise one of the categories and two of the grades.
As stated above, VVS diamonds make up the category of Very, Very Slightly Included. Within this category, there are two specific gradings: VVS1 and VVS2. When comparing the two gradings, there are slight differences and one definite similarity:
- - VVS1 diamonds are often less included than VVS2 diamonds.
- VVS1 diamonds usually cost more (when all else is equal).
- - Inclusions on VVS1 diamonds aren’t visible under magnification and are barely visible under magnification for VVS2 diamonds, but are still difficult to find.
- - VVS2 inclusions can be negligibly more prominent or darker than the ones in VVS1 diamonds.
- - Both VVS1 and VVS2 diamonds are eye-clean.
When comparing the two, a VVS2 diamond might have a blemish closer to the center, or table, of the stone, while a VVS1 diamond might have inclusions closer to the edge. As with any diamond, the price of a VVS diamond will depend on the cut quality, color, shape, and carat weight. So, if all things are equal on two diamonds, but one is VVS1 clarity and the other is VVS2 clarity, the VVS1 diamond will likely average about 10% more in cost than a VVS2.
A Word About VVS vs. VS Diamonds
VS diamonds mean that they are Very Slightly Included, indicating that they contain minor inclusions that range from difficult to somewhat easy to see under 10x magnification. While many different types of inclusions are possible for VS diamonds, they must be very tiny relative to the size of the diamond in order to achieve this grading.
VS diamonds are one category grade down from VVS diamonds. This category also has two gradings, VS1 and VS2, with the general distinction being that VS1 inclusions are difficult to see while VS2 inclusions are somewhat easy to see. So why are we comparing VVS and VS diamonds? Well, because each is likely to represent eye-clean diamonds because lower VS clarity will not be noticeable to the naked eye.
A VVS1 diamond
A VS1 diamond
What does that mean for considering which diamond to choose? It helps you understand what you’re paying for when choosing VVS or VS diamonds. Since each is likely to be eye clean, and if all other quality grades are equal, choosing a VS diamond will save a bit on the expense or allow for your budget to go towards a better color or cut. Alternately, choosing a VVS diamond will mean it’s a closer-to-perfect stone, and therefore, more rare.
Choosing your perfect diamond clarity means striking a balance between all of the diamond quality characteristics for what is most important to you. Since clarity alone doesn’t guarantee a beautiful diamond, figuring out what works with the cut and shape of the diamond you prefer is key to choosing the best clarity.
Tips For Buying VVS or VS Diamonds
VVS and VS diamonds have such slight imperfections, even trained professionals using a jeweler’s loupe find it difficult to see the blemishes easily. So in terms of clarity, there is no more visual value to a VVS diamond versus a VS diamond when both look to be eye clean to the naked eye. The key differences between VVS and VS diamond clarity are the size, number, location, and nature of inclusions. Clarity grade is based on all of these factors, not just the quantity or size.
VS diamonds tend to have a higher number of inclusions, but that’s not always the case. Since the diamond grade is carefully measured from all of the five factors, a VS diamond may actually have fewer inclusions than a VVS diamond, they may just be located in the center of the crown or are larger in size. What’s important to remember is that none of these inclusions are visible unless looked at carefully by a professional under 10x magnification.
There are a couple of instances when it would be important to focus your search on VVS over VS diamonds: when shopping for a specific cut or shape, or when looking for a larger diamond. Step-cut diamonds featuring large, rectangular facets, like emerald and Asscher cuts, look best at higher clarity grades. This is because the large, open facets create clear, transparent spaces that highlight the clarity and color of a diamond over its brilliance and sparkle. All this open, transparent space allows extra viewing of the interior of the stone, making any inclusions much more noticeable.
Considering a VVS diamond also becomes more likely when looking at a larger diamond. As you go up in carat weight and size, there are simply fewer options on the market. There’s significantly less inventory available, especially when looking for 3 carat and higher, due to the lower demand. So, once you’ve narrowed down your list for cut quality and color – both especially important in larger diamonds – you may find that you only have the option of a VVS diamond because there’s nothing suitable in the lower clarity ranges.
Picking an engagement ring is a journey of a hundred tiny decisions that should end with the ring that is perfect for you. If you take this knowledge with you about VVS and VS diamonds, and focus on the best eye-clean diamond to you, you’ll never make a wrong decision.
A 3 carat, emerald cut diamond requires a high clarity grade diamond
A 2 carat oval diamond ring with a VS1 clarity grade