Bargain Hunting SI2 Diamonds
When shopping for a diamond, one way you can save a good bit of money is to check out diamonds with lower clarity ratings, ranging from SI1 or SI2 to even I1.
However, a problem with this approach is that diamonds at these clarity levels are often not “eye clean”, meaning that inclusions within the diamond could be visible to the naked eye when you examine it.
Technically “Eye Clean” means that inclusions should not be visible when the diamond is viewed face-up at a distance of 8-10 inches in natural lighting to a person with 20/20 vision.
So when considering diamonds with lower clarity ratings you really need to visually inspect the diamond before you purchase it.
Fortunately the higher-quality on-line jewelers provide pictures or videos of the actual diamonds they have for sale. For example, James Allen’s “360° Diamond Display Technology”, lets you inspect the diamond from every angle before you make your purchase.
Below are two examples from James Allen. Both are SI2 clarity (J color, Excellent cut, 1.3ct).
SI2 clarity Diamond
SI2 clarity Diamond with noticeable black inclusion
The First diamond we would consider to be eye-clean. However, the second diamond has a very noticeable black “crystal” under the table and wouldn’t be a very good choice for an engagement ring.
In general, black colored inclusions tend to be a lot more objectionable and noticeable when compared to “white” inclusions.
Another factor to consider is that what the diamond industry considers to be “eye-clean”, may not be what you or your bride-to-be consider to be eye-clean. The one wearing the diamond (or her bridesmaids, friends and relatives) will obviously be looking at it closer than 10 inches.
Which is why many diamond shoppers decide it’s just not worth the trouble and go with a VS2 or better clarity.
But if you’re willing educate yourself about diamond clarity and can take the time and trouble to search for eye-clean lower clarity diamonds you can save yourself some money which can be put towards buying a larger diamond.