We talk at length about eye cleanliness on WillYou.net. Alongside the diamond’s cut quality, a strong clarity grade is inarguably the most important thing to get right if you want to get the very most out of your engagement ring budget, and present your future bride with a truly stunning diamond.
But, while cut quality is entirely down to the skill of the diamond cutter, a diamond’s clarity is (for the most part) something as random and as unique as a fingerprint. Yes, certain flaws can be removed during the cutting – and others can be caused, if the diamond cutter is not careful enough – but, even so, clarity is a largely natural phenomenon.
What does this mean for you? It means that ‘eye cleanliness’ spans a pretty substantial section of the spectrum between totally flawless diamonds, and diamonds with intrusive inclusions. Great news if you’re looking to get the best quality possible without breaking beyond your original budget…
First off, The SI2 Diamond in a Nutshell…
SI2 refers to the diamond’s clarity, and will typically mean that:
You can browse all of our SI2 diamonds here, or read our full guide to this popular clarity grade – and when it might prove useful to you – below.
Out of the Four Cs of diamond quality, clarity enjoys a slightly more open-ended spot on the list. True, it is vital that the diamond you invest into is eye clean (more on that below) but, at the same time, provided you get eye cleanliness down pat, the clarity grade you end up siding with is pretty irrelevant.
SI2 represents the second degree of the GIA clarity grade known as ‘Slightly Included’.
This grade sits past the halfway point on the GIA’s scale and, according to their own definition, means that the diamond’s inclusions are pretty easy for a skilled grader to identify under 10x magnification.
Sound simple enough? It is, until you start realizing that some SI2 diamonds will feature noticeable inclusions – that is, inclusions that won’t require any sort of magnification to detect – while other SI2 diamonds will appear totally eye clean, and represent a great deal to buyers.
We’ll talk more about this below but, for now, keep in mind the fact that even eye clean SI2 diamonds can be thousands of dollars cheaper than diamonds with higher clarity grades, despite the fact that, without magnification, these diamonds can look pretty much identical.
In diamonds, eye cleanliness means that, without magnification, a diamond appears to be free from any inclusions or blemishes.
As we mentioned above, eye cleanliness must be considered a priority by anyone looking to by a diamond worthy of their engagement ring. With such small differences separating each of the clarity grades, it’s very easy for shoppers to track down diamonds that appear flawless in every respect except price.
For this reason, anyone preparing to invest in their own diamond should read our full guide to eye clean diamonds. A little research will save you thousands of dollars – or the heartache of ending up with a diamond that is undermined by its own inclusions and blemishes.
For now, however, you just need to keep in mind the fact that choosing to purchase a flawless diamond is, for most of us, as ill-advised as choosing to purchase a diamond that is far from eye clean…
There are definitely SI2 eye clean diamonds out there – and more than you might expect – although your options will be a little more limited at this grade.
Don’t take this as a reason not to bother looking at the SI2 clarity grade. In many cases, this is the best place to start a search – although anyone looking for a larger diamond, or one with a less forgiving shape (such as the step cut shapes Emerald and Asscher) will probably find more choice in the VS range.
The Round, Oval, Marquise and Cushion are just a few shapes that could offer plenty of choices at the SI2 clarity grade.
No, not necessarily. A cloudy diamond is generally one that is so included that it has a distinctly hazy or milky appearance.
This is caused by some pretty major cloud inclusions, and will, unfortunately, make the diamond appear lifeless and lacking in the high shine we all want for our engagement rings. If this is the case, then the diamond will likely be given a much, much lower clarity grade.
Alternatively, some diamonds with significant fluorescence can appear to be cloudy, and, while this will be noted within the stone’s GIA report, it will fall under its own category (not clarity). So, in theory, a diamond could be given a clarity rating of, say, VVS1 (very very slight inclusions 1) while suffering from significant fluorescence.
If you’re unsure, check the report – and, of course, talk to your jeweler about it.
Yes, SI2 diamonds will feature a beautiful sparkle – provided, of course, that they are cut to a high standard.
If you haven’t found out about this already, then get used to hearing it: cut is the most significant factor behind sparkle.
For this reason, you’ll definitely want to do your research on ideal cut diamond proportions, and other factors like symmetry and polish. Getting your head around this – and, of course, which shapes offer the most in terms of brilliance, fire, and scintillation (AKA, sparkle) – will mean that you can avoid any heartache over dull or lifeless diamonds.
Nevertheless, it is true that significant inclusions can impair a diamond’s ability to sparkle as much as it otherwise could. Even so, diamonds of this quality would sit lower on the clarity scale – as low as I1 and I2 – and, provided it appears eye clean, you won’t have to worry about sacrificing any sparkle.
That depends. In terms of quality, the SI1 obviously wins out. In terms of price, the SI2 diamond will be a little more affordable – and a great option if it’s eye clean.
The key difference between SI1 and SI2 is typically down to the location of the stone’s inclusions. If they can be seen through the table, then the grade will be SI2. If, however, they’re only discernible when the diamond is viewed from below, the diamond will likely receive an SI1 grade.
It’s only worth paying for better clarity if you can see a difference without a magnifying glass. If you’re looking at two eye clean diamonds, one SI1 and the other SI2, then paying more for the SI1 diamond (even if it’s only a few hundred dollars) is not worth it.
But, if we’re generalizing, the SI1 grade will prove more useful to shoppers than SI2. You’ll have much more choice in terms of eye clean diamonds than you will at the SI2 mark so, unless you’ve already found an SI2 diamond you’re happy with, consider setting your sights a little higher.
The most obvious downside to the SI2 clarity grade is the fact that it could be a little tougher finding eye clean options – but it’s definitely not impossible.
One of the great things about VS diamonds is the fact that, for the most part, they’re all considered eye clean. This means that searching specifically for VS1 and VS2 diamonds will open you up to plenty of choices, whether you’re looking for a 3 carat Round diamond or a more modest 1.5 carat Emerald cut diamond.
The downside? Shoppers who narrow their sights on this clarity grade too soon could be closing themselves off to some even better deals – deals which leave more budget leftover for the ring setting, or, instead, investing in a bigger diamond in the first place.
It’s not enough to find an eye clean diamond and roll with it. It’s about taking advantage of the lowest clarity grades that still offer beautiful, eye clean options that suit your vision for the ring.
So, while the SI2 clarity grade won’t offer the same number of options as SI1 or VS2, it’s more than worth taking a look for yourself.
SI2 diamonds can represent a great deal – but they can also be just a little too far in the wrong direction – depending on the size and shape of diamond you’re looking at. Confused? Here’s everything you need to understand about paying for an SI2 diamond.
There is no definitive price for SI2 diamonds, since individual price tags are determined by the diamonds cut, color and carat weight, as well as clarity grade.
If you’re looking exclusively at SI2 clarity graded diamonds, then prices could vary from around $2,000+, with a high quality, one carat diamond costing around $5,000.
In other words, it’s impossible to put a price tag on SI2 diamond clarity. Instead, it’s better for you to get used to the idea that two diamonds with identical cut and color grades, and the exact same carat weight, could differ in price by hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars if one is SI2, and the other a higher grade.
So, how much does an SI2 diamond cost? Less than a diamond with a clarity grade of VS or VVS (all else being equal), which can make for an incredible deal that allows you to opt for a higher carat weight.
The catch? You may have a slightly harder time finding eye clean options. Yes, they exist, but the majority of SI2 diamonds do have some visible inclusions, so keep that in mind.
Potentially, but you should never jump into a deal (no matter how good it looks) until you’ve seen the diamond in person.
Eye cleanliness is, by definition, something we can only judge with our own eyes. Through a computer screen, it’s all too easy for diamonds to look better (or, in some cases, worse) than they are in real life, and that is one of the main reasons why we would never recommend that any shopper invests in a diamond based off a webpage alone.
An SI2 diamond can be worth the price, but it’s probably not going to be the easiest grade to focus your search on. Then again, the only diamonds worth buying are those that offer the very best price – and, for some, that can mean SI2.
Once you go to see the diamond, judge its eye cleanliness for yourself, and go through the specifics with your jeweler – then you will know whether or not it’s worth the price. The best way to do so is to hold the diamond between six and twelve inches from your face
Eye cleanliness is certainly possible at SI2, but one of the most significant factors that will determine whether or not you can find a good diamond is shape, with certain diamond shapes making it much harder than others.
In most cases, no, SI2 is a little too low on the clarity scale for step cuts.
Why? Because step cuts feature much longer facets. Not only does this totally change the way those diamonds sparkle (when compared to a brilliant cut, like the traditional round diamond), but it also totally changes the view we get when we look down through the table.
Asscher and Emerald cut diamonds are known for their ‘hall of mirrors’ effect – something that, while beautiful, can make any minor inclusions much easier to detect. The chances of an SI2 step cut diamond bearing visible inclusions is, of course, made even higher as the size of diamond you’re looking at increases.
In other words, what might work in an Oval or Marquise cut diamond, for instance, could easily turn into a dealbreaker in an Emerald or Asscher cut diamond. This is particularly true if the diamonds you are looking at are over half a carat in weight – something which tends to be the case for those picking out a center stone for their engagement ring.
The solution? As always, see these diamonds in person before you commit. It’s the only way you can feel sure that you’re paying for eye cleanliness, and not noticeable inclusions.
You can find beautiful, eye clean Round cut diamonds at the VS1 and VS2, or even SI1, clarity grades – although, of course, an eye clean SI2 diamond is possible.
Let’s face it, finding a great size of diamond matters to you – and, obviously, the ring’s intended wearer. Most engagement rings sit around the one carat mark, although many modern brides-to-be are definitely leaning toward larger diamonds that make a big statement.
Why does this matter? Because, as if finding an eye clean SI2 diamond wasn’t hard enough already, as soon as you start to ‘go big’, it gets even harder.
If you’re looking at Round cut diamonds that are 1 carat or higher then you will generally find much better options between SI1 and VS2.
Potentially. There are some excellent hides hidden within this clarity grade – some beautiful, eye clean diamonds that have not been saddled with the higher costs associated with VS and VVS grades – but these diamonds are absolutely in the minority.
Should you turn away from an eye clean, affordable diamond just because it’s got this low clarity grade? Absolutely not. While the chances of finding one of these diamonds are lower than the chances of finding one with a visible inclusion, a clarity grade of SI2 only matters if the stone in question is not eye clean.
It’s all too easy for first-time shoppers to assume that a relatively low clarity grade means more than it really does. Yes, the criteria for each grade differ significantly in the eyes of a skilled and experienced diamond grader, but, for the rest of us, it really is a case of ‘face value’.
Still, we’d recommend that you broaden your search to include SI1 and VS2 diamonds, in order to ensure that you’re not restricting yourself too much, since most shoppers today are on the hunt for a diamond of at least one carat (or considerably more).
One of the most difficult things for new shoppers to get their heads around is the idea that, despite these grades representing the standard for the industry, there is still plenty of discrepancy between the diamonds included in each of these grades.