In the following guide, we’ll explain what the VVS2 clarity designation means in terms of diamonds.
What does VVS2 stand for?
VVS stands for “very very slightly” and it refers to the level of inclusion in a diamond. The numeral “2” refers to the diamond’s overall clarity, and indicates that it is of exceptionally high clarity—indeed, almost perfect.
What is an inclusion?
Before we go further, however, you might be curious as to what an inclusion is. Diamonds are formed in the depths of the earth over a very long period of time. During their formation, there are naturally occurring “birthmarks” that form, unique to each diamond.
Depending on your mindset, you could consider these something like the fingerprints of a diamond, or you might consider them flaws. Anything that can be viewed at 10x magnification or less could be considered an inclusion.
Inclusions, for a diamond grader, can serve a variety of different purposes, from distinguishing between natural and synthetic diamonds, to identifying specific diamonds, to determining the value or quality of the diamond.
What types of inclusions are there?
Not all inclusions are alike, so trying to define them as a group can be difficult. Instead, we’ll explain some of the most common types of inclusions.
- Bearding: Bearding refers to hair-like lines that extend from the diamond’s girdle into its surface, and these occur during the cutting stage.
- Cavity: A cavity is just what it sounds like—a depression or hole in the surface of the diamond. These often occur during polishing.
- Chip: Similar to a cavity, but usually smaller, and occur around the junctions of facets, the girdle, or culet. Often caused by wear and tear.
- Crystal: A mineral crystal that is trapped inside the diamond. Sometimes, they are colorless—it’s one diamond embedded in another. In other cases, they might be black, reddish, greenish, or other colors depending on the mineral involved.
- Feather: A small interior crack. These can be nearly invisible but may also have a whitish or feathery look to them.
- Graining: A milky or hazy appearance which is the result of irregular crystal growth. Can also have the appearance of creases or reflections.
So, what does this mean for VVS2 graded diamonds?
VVS2 diamonds aren’t flawless; they do have some inclusions. But the “very very slight” designation means that these inclusions are so tiny and so difficult to detect that they are even a challenge for trained gemologists to see at ten times magnification.
Are VVS2 diamonds expensive?
Compared to most other diamonds in their weight class, yes, these can be quite pricey—specifically because of the fact that it’s so difficult to detect any inclusions in them, and because their clarity rating is so high.
Some newly-trained gemologists aren’t even able to distinguish these gems from diamonds without visible inclusions—they have to use twenty or thirty times magnification to see them.
Practice makes perfect, however, and a very experienced gemologist will have no trouble finding them, at least with a loupe. With the naked eye, however, they appear flawless.
The point is, most completely untrained people would not be able to notice the inclusions in a VVS2 diamond even with a loupe. That’s why they’re so pricey. And if they can’t be seen at 10x magnification, they certainly can’t be seen by the eye.
That means that the diamond is considered “eye clean.” Eye clean means that a diamond appears to be without any flaw from a normal viewing distance, and it’s one of the biggest predictors of price when taking into consideration other factors like the diamond’s weight.
What’s the difference between VVS2 and VVS1?
With that said, is there any real difference between VVS2 and VVS1? In terms of inclusions, the amount or size of them isn’t really very different. It’s how you can view them. It’s more of a technical distinction than one that matters when a diamond is in a jewelry setting.
To greatly simplify the situation, basically, a VVS2 has inclusions which can be seen (with magnification) from the face of the diamond, while in a VVS1 diamond, unless it’s of a particularly large size (3+ carats) they can only be seen from behind.
It’s not a particularly important distinction, especially when the diamond is in a setting and you’re not looking at it under magnification. Because it is a technical quality difference, you will see some price difference between two diamonds that are otherwise similar in weight and cut.
Usually, though, VVS1 diamonds only cost around 10% more than their VVS2 counterparts because the difference in quality is so very slight.
Should I buy a VVS2 diamond?
You should buy whatever diamond you want—that said if what you’re trying to determine is whether or not the diamond you want is worth the price it’s good to know that VVS2 diamonds are indeed an exceptional alternative to flawless diamonds.