VS1 vs. VS2 diamonds

Understand the difference between VS2 and VS1 diamonds, and when you should choose one over the other

VS1 diamonds and VS2 are grouped together in the GIA clarity grading scale and are covered by the same description:

Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification

So, what’s the difference between VS2 and VS1 diamonds?

The main difference is in the size and location of the inclusions.

  • VS2 diamonds are more likely to have inclusions that are larger, darker and closer to the center of the diamond, where they are easier to see.
  • VS1 diamonds are more likely to be smaller and further away from the table of the diamond, which makes them more difficult to see.

When should you choose a VS1 diamond over a VS2 diamond?

There are two occasions when you should consider choosing a VS1 diamond over a VS2 diamond:

  1. When the diamond has a diamond dossier, rather than a diamond report
  2. When the diamond is over 2 carats

Consider a VS1 when… a diamonds has a ‘diamond dossier’, rather than a diamond report

In the examples of VS2 diamonds shown above, we used the ‘clarity plots’, which map out the inclusions in a diamond, to make it easier to spot and assess the inclusions.

Having a diamond’s quality graded by an independent lab like the GIA costs money, and this expense eats into the profit margins of diamonds suppliers and retailers.

To reduce this, diamonds smaller than 1 carat are sometimes issued a simpler version of the diamond gradient report, known as a diamond dossier. A diamond dossier contains much of the same information as a diamond grading report, but doesn’t include a diamond clarity chart:

diamond dossier 2

It does still list the inclusions in the ‘clarity characteristics’ section, with the most prominent inclusion listed first.

But, just having the inclusions listed means that it impossible to know where the inclusions are located in the diamond, unless you can see a high quality, zoomed-in image of the diamond in question or you can examine the stone under a microscope yourself. 

The diamond for the above certificate is below, and you can see that the crystal inclusion that it is listed first is clearly visible near the center of the table.

3 0.7 VS2 with visible inclusion

For smaller diamonds, I therefore recommend retailers, like Taylor and Hart, who have high quality, magnified images of all their diamonds, allowing you toreview each individual diamond and verify whether or not they have prominent inclusions under the table.

For other retailers where high quality magnified images of each individual diamond aren’t available, VS2 diamonds which only have a diamond dossier should be avoided.

Consider a VS1 when… a diamond is over 2 carats

In theory, diamond clarity gradings should be the same, no matter what size or shape of diamond is being assessed. A VS2 is a VS2 is a VS2, right?

In reality, there are some exceptions and the larger a VS2 diamond is, the more care has to be taken to ensure that it is eye clean. Larger diamonds have larger top tables, and larger tables mean that there are more opportunities for an inclusion to appear underneath it and be visible.

4 diamond Round 2.51 Carat G VS2 0 first