SI1 Diamond Clarity: Does It Still Look Good?

SI1 Diamond Clarity: Does It Still Look Good?

Are you curious about whether SI1 clarity is a suitable grade for a diamond engagement ring? Well, you’ve come to the perfect spot!

I’m here to provide you with all the information you require regarding buying SI1 diamonds. Additionally, I’ll address inquiries such as:

  • What exactly are SI1 diamonds?
  • How do SI1 diamonds compare to VS1 diamonds in terms of quality?
  • Can SI1 diamonds be considered visually flawless?

What is an SI1 Diamond?

An SI1 diamond is a special type of diamond that has been assessed with a clarity grade known as Slightly Included. The Slightly Included Diamond Clarity category comprises two grades, namely SI1 diamonds and SI2 diamonds.

Diamond Clarity

The clarity grade of a diamond is determined by the natural flaws found within the diamond, which can be internal inclusions or blemishes on the surface.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) employs a Diamond Clarity scale to assess diamonds. An SI1 diamond occupies a higher clarity grade compared to SI2 diamonds on this scale. The SI clarity tier falls between Included diamonds and Very Slightly Included diamonds.

SI1 Clarity vs SI2 Clarity Grades

You probably already know that SI diamond clarity consists of two grades: SI1 and SI2 diamonds. While they may appear similar to the average person, there are some differences between the two grades that are worth considering before making your final decision.

SI1 diamonds generally have fewer noticeable flaws compared to SI2 diamonds. Both types of diamonds can have small flaws that are visible without magnification.

In SI1 diamonds, visible flaws tend to be located towards the outer edge or in easily noticeable areas that may be harder to spot due to their placement.

On the other hand, SI2 diamonds are more likely to have flaws towards the center. These flaws may or may not be visible from a normal viewing distance, depending on your ability to detect them. If you’re actively searching for flaws, you’ll probably find them more easily.

Many people don’t notice visible flaws until later on. It’s not uncommon for customers to become upset with jewelers because they insist that a “black spot” in their diamond engagement ring wasn’t there when they purchased it.

The issue is that jewelry stores use special lighting to enhance the sparkle and brilliance of their diamonds. However, under different lighting conditions, such as normal room lighting, these dark crystals may become more apparent to the viewer.

Although SI2 diamonds are more likely to have darker and more obvious flaws, both SI1 and SI2 diamonds can still be considered “eye clean” diamonds.

On average, SI1 diamonds are usually priced 5-15% higher than SI2 diamonds. However, the price difference may vary depending on other factors such as the overall quality of the diamond.

1 Carat SI1 Clarity G Color, Radiant Cut, GIA Report
1.02 Carat SI2, G Color, Radiant, GIA Report

SI3 Diamond Clarity Grades

Occasionally, I hear people mention the SI3 clarity grade when talking about diamonds. Interestingly, this grade is not standardized by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or most other reputable labs. However, as online diamond retailers gain popularity among engagement ring buyers, you might encounter a lab that assigns SI3 clarity grades.

In my personal opinion and recommendation, it’s best to steer clear of these diamonds completely.

If the GIA, International Gemological Institute (IGI), and American Gem Society (AGS) do not recognize SI3 clarity grades, it’s wise to avoid purchasing diamonds with such grades. These labs are known for their reliability and respected grading reports.

SI3 diamonds exist simply to expand the clarity grading scale. However, in reality, diamonds with SI3 clarity are equivalent to what the GIA would classify as I1 diamonds.

Retailers and labs that offer so-called SI3 clarity diamonds are essentially presenting lower quality diamonds as higher quality ones. I find this to be a deceptive practice.

According to the GIA, they regularly evaluate diamonds that some might consider SI3, and they have determined that no change to the scale is necessary.

SI1 Clarity Grade vs I1 Clarity Grades

When you visit physical stores like Kays and Zales, you’re more likely to come across engagement rings with SI clarity grades or I clarity grades. I clarity grades indicate that the diamonds have visible flaws that can be seen with the naked eye.

The I clarity tier consists of three grades: I1, I2, and I3 clarity. I1 and I2 diamonds are usually used for smaller accent diamonds and melee stones in engagement rings sold by commercial mall retailers.

The majority of engagement rings in these mall stores actually feature I1 clarity diamonds, which are the lowest grade on the GIA’s diamond clarity scale.

SI1 diamonds have higher clarity grades compared to I1 diamonds. While both grades can have inclusions that affect the diamond’s appearance, it is much more challenging to find an I1 diamond that is considered “eye clean” (without visible flaws).

I1 clarity diamonds typically have numerous noticeable inclusions. Many online diamond retailers choose not to offer I1 clarity diamonds because they are not considered to be of good quality. I1 clarity diamonds are priced around 10% to 30% cheaper than an SI1 diamond of similar grades and quality.

1 Carat SI1 Clarity, GIA Graded, Round Cut, Excellent Cut at 40x magnification
1 Carat SI1 Clarity, GIA Graded, Round Cut, Excellent Cut at 40x magnification

SI1 Clarity Diamonds vs VS1 Diamonds

A VS1 diamond is a higher grade within the Very Slightly Included clarity category. It represents one of the two clarity grades available for VS diamonds.

The characteristics of a VS1 diamond should not be visible to the naked eye. These diamonds are expected to be “eye clean.” On the other hand, SI1 diamonds may or may not be eye clean, as they can have visible flaws.

Very Slightly Included diamonds also have inclusions, but they are very tiny and can only be seen when magnified at 10 times or more.

In general, I suggest considering diamonds with VS1 or VS2 clarity grades because they are more likely to be eye clean. However, if you are patient and looking to save money, you can search for an eye clean SI1 clarity diamond.

Keep in mind that the average price difference between a VS1 and SI1 diamond is typically around 20-30% higher for the VS1 grade.

Oval, G Color, VS1 Clarity, GIA Graded, 1.01 Carats, small light pinpoints
Oval, F Color, VS1 Clarity, GIA Graded, 1.01 Carats, small light pinpoints

SI1 Clarity Diamonds vs VVS1 Diamond Clarity

Slightly included diamonds fall four clarity grades below Very Very Slightly included diamonds. VVS1 diamonds are the last grade before reaching internally flawless diamonds.

VVS1 diamonds are rarer and more valuable compared to SI1 clarity diamonds. They do not contain any dark crystal inclusions when viewed under magnification. The inclusions in VVS1 diamonds are usually light in color and often appear as small pinpoints or feathers.

Even if an SI1 diamond appears clean to the naked eye, it will definitely have noticeable inclusions when viewed under 10x magnification or higher.

However, just because a VVS1 diamond has fewer inclusions under magnification doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the better choice for you. You may not want to pay the higher price associated with purchasing a VVS1 clarity grade instead of an SI1 clarity diamond.

SI1 Clarity, 1.05 ct, H Color, Princess Cut, GIA graded
VVS1 Clarity, 1.05 ct, H Color, Princess Cut, GIA graded, No Obvious Inclusions

The Cost of SI1 Clarity Diamonds

Diamonds with an SI clarity grade are generally considered to be more affordable compared to most other clarity grades for diamonds.

I wish I could give you exact prices for an SI1 clarity diamond or an SI2 clarity diamond, but it’s not that simple in the world of diamonds.

The quality and price of a diamond are determined by various factors. You may be familiar with the 4Cs of diamond quality, but each “C” has its own rankings and charts that determine their relative cost.

However, if you prioritize high color grades and carat weight, the cost of an SI1 diamond is likely to be much higher than that of a 1-carat diamond with SI clarity. The price of a diamond increases significantly as the carat weight goes up.

While the 4Cs have the most significant impact on the price of a diamond, there are many other factors that can influence the cost by a few hundred dollars. Some of these factors include:

  • Diamond shape
  • Certification from a grading lab
  • Choice of grading lab
  • Brand reputation
  • Retailer policies
  • Natural diamonds vs. lab-grown diamonds
  • Specialized diamond cuts
  • Colorless diamonds vs. fancy colored diamonds
  • Proportions of the diamond
  • Fluorescence properties
  • Treatments applied to the diamond

If you really want a ballpark figure, a 1-carat SI1 clarity diamond might cost you anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000, depending on the specific grades and overall quality of the diamond.

Cost of SI1 Clarity Lab Grown Diamond 

However, if you shift your focus to lab-grown diamonds, you can expect a significant drop in that price range. Lab-grown diamonds are genuine diamonds produced in a laboratory, where scientists replicate the natural conditions required for diamond formation.

Apart from their origin, lab-grown diamonds possess the same grades and characteristics as mined diamonds. Moreover, when it comes to clarity, you are more likely to find eye-clean SI1 diamonds among lab-grown options because their controlled environment limits the presence of inclusions.

If you prioritize ethical considerations for your engagement ring, lab-grown diamonds are an excellent choice as they are 100% conflict-free. While they may not be entirely sustainable, their production process consumes significantly less energy and fossil fuels compared to diamond mining.

What many find most appealing is that lab-created diamonds can be purchased at a discounted price of 20-40% compared to mined diamonds of the same quality.

What makes lab-created diamonds particularly enticing to many is the fact that they can be acquired at a notable discount of 20-40% compared to mined diamonds of equivalent quality.

Best Places to Buy SI1 Clarity Diamonds

In my opinion, I suggest purchasing SI1 clarity diamonds online as it is much simpler to find SI diamonds that appear clean to the naked eye compared to physical stores.

Having said that, there is a constant influx of new online diamond retailers. Additionally, private jewelers and sellers on various marketplaces make it difficult to differentiate between them and determine their legitimacy. So, if you’re seeking guidance, I recommend referring to our comprehensive guide that provides information on reputable sources for buying SI clarity diamonds online.

Frequently Asked Questions About SI1 Clarity 

Are SI1 Diamonds Eye-Clean?

Generally, SI1 diamonds are not typically considered to be diamonds that appear eye clean. The first clarity grade known for its eye-clean appearance is usually VS2. However, SI1 clarity diamonds may have one or two more noticeable inclusions that could be located near the outer edge.

Different diamond shapes, like the way they are cut, can affect how easily you can see flaws inside the diamond. Some cuts, like brilliant cuts, do a better job of hiding these flaws compared to other cuts, like emerald cuts or Asschers. The way these cuts are shaped can make it more obvious if there are any imperfections that affect how the diamond looks. However, round brilliant diamonds are really good at hiding these imperfections because they sparkle a lot and it’s harder to see any flaws inside them.

However, as I mentioned earlier, just because the majority of SI1 diamonds are not eye clean doesn’t mean that there aren’t eye-clean SI1 diamonds available. And I’m going to share with you how to find them.

Pay attention.

Looking for a Diamond That’s Free From Imperfections?

Well, online diamond shopping is the perfect solution! Instead of settling for pre-made engagement rings at traditional stores, you can take charge and create your own ring using loose diamonds and empty ring settings.

One of the main advantages of buying diamonds online, especially when it comes to finding eye-clean SI1 clarity diamonds, is the vast inventory available. Unlike physical jewelry stores, online retailers have a wide selection of SI1 clarity diamonds for you to explore, without any time constraints.

In fact, online inventories give you the freedom to take your time and carefully select your favorite SI1 diamonds. You can conveniently examine high-quality images and interactive 360˚ videos, which are much easier to view compared to using a gem microscope or jeweler’s loupe.

It’s important to note that online viewers usually provide magnification beyond 10x. For example, James Allen, one of our recommended retailers, displays their loose diamonds at an impressive 40x magnification. Even VS1 diamonds might appear to have larger inclusions at such high magnification.

Thankfully, many viewers allow you to zoom out, which can be helpful when identifying clarity features in a diamond. By zooming out, you can assess whether these features are noticeable from a greater distance.

If your viewer has an interactive feature, it lets you control the angles of the diamond. This helps you understand how the interplay between light and cut quality affects the visibility of inclusions.

By taking your time and carefully examining each SI1 diamond, you can discover one that’s eye clean or at least has barely noticeable inclusions. Additionally, the placement of prongs in an engagement ring setting can cleverly conceal inclusions on the edges.

For those who are especially determined, you can even try searching for an eye clean SI2 diamond, although it’s a more challenging task.

Lastly, it’s crucial to choose a retailer with a reliable and user-friendly return policy when seeking eye clean SI1 diamonds. This ensures that you have the option to return your chosen diamond if it doesn’t meet your expectations. Always read the entire return policy before making a purchase.

Is SI1 Clarity Suitable for a 1-Carat Diamond?

When it comes to center diamonds, the average carat weight usually falls between 1 and 2 carats. However, many people opt for a 1 carat diamond as the centerpiece of their ring.

For a brilliant cut diamond of 1 carat, SI1 clarity is generally considered a good clarity grade. However, the answer to this question can vary depending on the diamond’s shape and other grading factors.

For instance, if you choose a round diamond with excellent cut quality, its clarity might not be as impressive compared to an excellent cut round diamond.

As you might have guessed, there are no straightforward answers when it comes to diamonds and gemstones.

Numerous factors contribute to the overall quality of a “good diamond,” and it’s not solely determined by whether it has SI clarity or not.

To choose some stunning SI diamonds, it’s best to consider the 4Cs of diamond quality. While clarity is important, color grade, carat weight, and cut quality also play crucial roles in determining the beauty of your diamond.

Which Grading Report Is Suitable for an SI1 Clarity Diamond?

Not every engagement ring includes a grading report, also called a diamond certification. In fact, most jewelry stores like Kays and Zales sell diamonds without certification.

I don’t recommend buying diamonds without certification or those certified by certain gem labs. However, I strongly advise purchasing a certified SI1 clarity diamond from a reputable gemological laboratory.

Diamond certification is crucial because it verifies that the diamond you’re purchasing matches the advertised grades. Without a grading report from a trustworthy laboratory, a retailer could sell you any diamond without transparency.

Now, let’s discuss which labs you should avoid.

Instead, let’s focus on the recommended grading reports when buying SI diamonds. Here are the ones we suggest:

  • GIA (for natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds)
  • IGI (for lab-grown diamonds)
  • AGS (for natural diamonds, but they rarely grade lab-grown diamonds)
  • GCAL (for lab-grown diamonds)

All diamond certifications come with either a physical or digital grading report. Some reports even have laser-inscribed serial numbers for identification purposes, which can be helpful if the diamond is ever stolen.

Please keep in mind that a diamond grading report should not be considered an appraisal or a form of jewelry insurance. Similarly, light performance reports should not be mistaken for diamond certificates. These additional documents are sometimes provided by retailers alongside your diamond documentation, but they serve different purposes.

The GIA’s diamond grading report for an SI1 clarity diamond contains various details, including:

Shape and Cutting Style: The diamond’s shape and how it was cut, like round brilliant, princess, cushion, etc.

Measurements: The physical size of the diamond, including its diameter, depth, and weight measured in carats.

Carat Weight: The weight of the diamond, measured in carats.

Color Grade: The GIA’s assessment of the diamond’s color, ranging from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown).

Clarity Grade: The GIA’s evaluation of the diamond’s clarity, ranging from Flawless (FL) to Included (I3).

Clarity Plot: Diagrams displaying the position and type of imperfections, called inclusions, in the diamond.

Cut Grade: The GIA’s rating of the diamond’s overall cut quality, considering proportions, symmetry, and polish.

Polish: The quality of the diamond’s surface finish, rated as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor.

Symmetry: The quality of the diamond’s alignment and proportions, rated as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor.

Fluorescence: The presence and characteristics of any fluorescence the diamond exhibits under UV light.

Comments: Additional remarks or observations made by the grader about the diamond’s attributes.

GIA Report Number: A unique identification number assigned by GIA to identify the specific diamond and its associated grading report.

Security Features: The GIA grading report may include security measures, like a hologram, to guarantee its authenticity.

GIA diamond certification
Colored Diamond Grading Report

Please be aware that not every GIA report will provide a cut grade. There are situations where the diamond was assessed prior to the implementation of the GIA’s cut grading system, or the diamond does not meet the requirements for a cut grade assessment.

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