I1 Clarity Diamonds - Are They Really All That Bad? (Read This...) (2023)

The I1 clarity grade is assigned by gemological laboratories (such as GIA and AGS) when the diamond has inclusions that can be seen easily at 10X magnification. This is true even for an unskilled lay-person who’s using the loupe for the first time.

Generally speaking, diamonds that fall within the Included ranges (I1 – I3) would have their brilliance and fire negatively impacted. This is due to the obstruction of light paths caused by inclusions within the stone.

Depending on the type, size and severity of the inclusions, they are usually visible to the unaided eye. In some cases, I1 diamonds may possess flaws that are detrimental to its durability and they might run a high risk of being chipped easily.

That said, included diamonds can be one of the best ways to get maximum bang for shoppers with a limited budget; provided you know exactly what you are doing. In this article, I’m going to show you what to look out for and how to buy I1 graded diamonds the right way.

While clarity is an attribute that may affect a diamond’s appearance, CUT is the more significant factor that decides how much a diamond sparkles and scintillates. Be sure to read this section of Beyond4cs.com to learn how to correctly select diamonds.

Let Me Give You An Idea of What to Expect in I1 Diamonds

I1 Clarity Diamonds - Are They Really All That Bad? (Read This...) (1)

Notice that every diamond is different and varies in appearance?

Tips to Choosing I1 Clarity Diamonds

Buying included diamonds is a tricky affair and visual assessment of the diamond is your number one priority. Generally speaking, my advice is to avoid stones in the I1 to I3 grades.

However, if you must insist on buying within these grades, look for stones where the inclusions are widely scattered or have a few mains ones that are prong-able (hidden under the prongs from visibility).

2.12 Carat G – I1 Ideal Cut Round Brilliant Diamond

I1 Clarity Diamonds - Are They Really All That Bad? (Read This...) (2)

(Video) Diamond Clarity Comparison VS1 vs VS2 SI1 SI2 VVS1 VVS2 I1 IF I2 I3 FL Ring Chart Explained Scale SI

Inclusion plot of AGS 000 ideal cut round diamond

This diamond’s inclusions would be partially prongable and have inclusions hidden from view when it is mounted. In such scenarios, you might want to make use of bigger sized prongs to help you cover up the obvious included areas.

For example, you can hide more of the unsightly areas with the choice of a correct setting. Flat tab prongs that are slightly wider and flatter are well-suited for such applications.

I1 Clarity Diamonds - Are They Really All That Bad? (Read This...) (3)

Example of a flat tab prong setting

Once this diamond is mounted and set, most people won’t be able to notice the inclusions since they are found in the crown area and would blend in nicely with the diamond’s body. Due to its I1 grading, this 2 carat baby only costs $18,000. That’s a far cry from the $40,000 you would expect to pay for a similar diamond in higher clarity grades.

If you did some research and had compared prices yourself, you’ll realize there’s no other way to get an ideally cut diamond of similar specifications at this kind of pricing.

Here another great example of an eye clean stone with a very small chip at the girdle. The chip is fairly noticeable near the center of the stone if you know where to look. Nonetheless, it isn’t obvious unless someone scrutinizes the diamond closely.

1.00 Carat I1 D Color Marquise Cut Diamond

While many people automatically shun away from a cavity inclusion, this I1 is something you can consider on a budget. The grade setting inclusion (faint cavity) of this diamond is found on the upper girdle facet. In this particular case, this diamond is eye clean because the inclusion’s color blends well into the body of the diamond.

(Video) Why the Diamond Clarity Grade Doesn’t Matter | How to Hack the 4 C’s

1.02 Carat – Included – F Color- Excellent Cut Round Brilliant

Will this pose durability issues? I would say yes, it might.

However, all diamonds will run risks of chipping no matter what clarity grade it has. If you have a lack of care for your jewelry during wear, it doesn’t matter if you buy a flawless or included diamond, damage to the diamond will always be a likely possibility.

An IF graded diamond can chip just as easily as one with I1 rating if it is struck in the correct direction with an appropriate force. If you are a meticulous person, I don’t see any issue with getting an I1 or IF diamond for that matter.

James Allen is hands down the best vendor that enables you to cherry pick diamonds through the use of HD videos and their huge inventory size. If you want a good shot at finding a decent I1 diamond, look no further.

More Examples of Potentially Eyeclean Stones

Here’s an example of a diamond from James Allen that could be potentially eye clean. I say potentially because the diamond looks clean in the magnified picture. Also, it is a good sign that the GIA report for this diamond doesn’t report any additional comments.

The feather might be reflecting throughout the table (main facet on the face of the diamond) and might be visible at some angles of viewing. I know shoppers hate the idea of uncertainty when making a huge purchase and that’s why I recommend working with JamesAllen.com.

The great thing about James Allen is that you could request any of their diamonds to be eyeballed and reviewed by their graduate gemologist. By physically examining the stone, they can offer an insightful evaluation on the appearance of the stone you are interested in.

1.51 Carat G – I1 Heart Shaped Diamond

I1 Clarity Diamonds - Are They Really All That Bad? (Read This...) (4)

(Video) All About SI2 Clarity Diamonds: Lauren B Diamond Education

Potentially eye clean – This is a tough call and requires a physical inspection.

Common Mistakes That People Make When Buying Included Diamonds

Sometimes, when people come across an amazingly clean I1 diamond, they get all excited or even buy it based on just a picture. Here’s where you really need to be careful. Most of the time, diamonds graded I1 that have seemingly spotless inclusions plots turn out to be cloudy looking or have other undesirable appearances in real life.

This is often due to “other comments” mentioned in the grading report. You need to know there MUST be something that is causing the stone to be graded as such. You can’t game the system.

Check out this E Color 1.05 Carat I1 Diamond…

I1 Clarity Diamonds - Are They Really All That Bad? (Read This...) (5)

Overly neat looking plots? Red flags must be raised. These are usually the worst kind of I1 diamonds…

There’s no way to confirm whether such diamonds are OK without physical examinations. Offhand, I would say that 99.99% of the above scenarios have HUGE underlying issues in them with cloudiness and haziness to some degree. Based on my experience, the cleaner the plot is for a low clarity diamond, the greater the risk.

Here’s a video that clearly shows a hazy looking diamond because of clarity issues.

Buying I1 diamonds are best done in person or if that’s not possible (e.g. buying online), it is advisable to get a reliable gemologist to eyeball the diamond on your behalf before you bite the bullet. Most decent online jewelers like James Allen or Brian Gavin can do this service for you at no charge.

However, if you happen to work with another vendor that doesn’t offer such services, make sure they have a generous return policy before you lay your cash down.

(Video) Clarity Enhanced Diamonds | Treated Diamonds Explained

Why Do People Buy Included Diamonds?

Cost. Not everyone can afford the premiums of a flawless diamond. This is because most people place emphasis on carat weight and cut, compromising on clarity could make larger diamonds more affordable. When chosen correctly, an I1 diamond can offer very good value for money in terms of costs and looks.

Purpose: The type of jewelry that you are purchasing might not require a high clarity grade. For example, people who are considering earrings, pendants or even cocktail rings can get away with lower clarity diamonds because the viewing distance of such jewelry is often much further than viewing a ring!

Nobody is going to look too closely at them or examine them with a loupe in public. The more important factors that make these jewelry stand out are the cut and carat size.

Did You Know That Every Diamond Is Uniquely Different?

This is much akin to the unique fingerprints we see on our hands. Inclusions can actually help identify your diamond and they are a symbolism for Mother Nature’s creation. Interestingly, there are also included diamonds that collectors sought after due to their fascinating patterning or arrangement of inclusions.

Check out this awesome image of an I1 graded diamond…

I1 Clarity Diamonds - Are They Really All That Bad? (Read This...) (6)

Like the stars in a galaxy, the inclusions make this diamond a great collector’s choice!

If you have a limited budget to work with for your purchase, I1 diamonds are options to pursue. Given the fact that they had already been accurately graded as Included diamonds by GIA or AGS, finding one that is eye clean is difficult but not impossible.

When it comes to buying I1 diamonds, it is MANDATORY to see the diamonds under magnification. I recommend you to start your search here where you can make use of videos to cherry pick an eye-clean diamond from thousands of available options. If you need expert help or opinion in choosing one, bump me an email or leave a comment below.

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Does an I1 diamond sparkle? ›

Many people are concerned that the inclusions within an SI-2 or I-1 clarity diamond will affect the sparkle factor. This is an unnecessary concern, because the inclusions of a diamond to not effect sparkle.

Is it OK to buy an I1 diamond? ›

In general, we advise against I1 diamonds, because inclusions at this level impact the brilliance and fire of the diamond. Large imperfections or a large number of imperfections obstruct light as it travels through the diamond, making it dull like you can see in this underwhelming diamond from James Allen.

Is an I color diamond good? ›

But I-color diamonds are a very good option, especially for yellow and rose gold engagement rings. I-color diamonds will look brightest in round brilliant diamonds and other well-cut brilliant diamond shapes like ovals, cushions, and princess cuts in sizes up to about one-carat.

Which is a better clarity of diamond SI or I 1? ›

On the diamond clarity scale, SI grades are closer to the bottom with only I (Included) grades lower. The SI range is broken down into two grades: SI1 and SI2. The difference between these two is in the amount, size, and how noticeable the inclusions are when viewed, with SI1 being the better grade.

Which is better VS2 or i1? ›

The clarity grades given by agencies like the GIA basically tell you how big of an issue these inclusions are. SI1 clarity diamonds should have slightly worse inclusions than VS2 clarity diamonds.

What is the lowest quality diamond? ›

I3 diamond clarity represents the lowest diamond clarity grade available.

What is the most trusted diamond certification? ›

Gia all the way! GIA stands for Gemological Institute of America, as is widely considered as the standard-bearer of the diamond certification industry.

What clarity is best for a diamond? ›

The best diamond clarity rating is Flawless (FL). These are the rarest diamonds in the world; less than 0.05% of all diamonds are Flawless or Internally Flawless.

Does clarity matter for small diamonds? ›

For stones one carat or smaller, VS or even SI grades are pretty standard. In small stones (those below half a carat), clarity doesn't matter as much. Color grades will be more noticeable. When buying a diamond, it's essential to look closely at the stone.

Is I1 clarity good? ›

Clarity letter grades range from "Flawless" (F) to "Included" (I), with several grades in between as well as some with numbered sub-categories: 1, 2, or 3. A higher number means a higher level of clarity. I1 is a low grade.

Is I1 clarity Better Than SI2? ›

SI stands for "Slightly Included." Just below SI1 and above I diamonds, SI2 clarity diamonds are on the lower end of the clarity scale. However, that doesn't mean you should avoid them. These diamonds offer an affordable price point, and their flaws are often not visible to the naked eye.

What is the most popular cut of diamond? ›

1. ROUND BRILLIANT DIAMOND. By far the most popular cut is the Round Brilliant, with it's fifty-seven perfectly aligned facets it's brilliance really does out-shine the others. Total internal reflection is the key here; light travels through the stone giving optimum sparkle and scintillation.

Which diamond is better H or I? ›

If you're buying a diamond under 1 carat, you might consider choosing an I, J, or K color diamond. Going over 1 carat? We recommend H color-grade diamonds or higher.

Is G or I color diamond better? ›

Why is G the most popular color grade for diamond engagement rings? G-color is the top diamond color grade in the near-colorless color range. These are diamonds that professionals can tell have a slight tint of color but that appear colorless to the rest of us.

Are I diamonds too yellow? ›

Are I Color Diamonds Too Yellow? It's important to remember that some people are more sensitive to color than others, but generally speaking I color diamonds are a great choice for most buyers and will face up white in white gold, platinum, yellow gold, or platinum settings.

Is Costco diamond jewelry good? ›

Overall, Costco diamonds are of decent quality and offer great value, as long as they're GIA certified. You can find a ring for 50% less than at other big-name jewelry stores. But compared to online retailers, Costco cannot match their selections, customization, or service.

What is the best grade of diamond to buy? ›

Flawless is the top grade in the GIA Clarity Grading System. Diamonds graded Flawless don't have visible inclusions or blemishes when examined under 10-power (10X) magnification by a skilled and experienced grader. As clarity increases, and if all other value factors are equal, diamond price per carat also increases.

Is color or clarity more important? ›

Clarity is more important in shapes like emerald, princess, and asscher. Colour is important for cushion, radiant, pear and oval. Generally speaking, as long as you choose an eye-clean diamond, your diamond will still look beautiful in terms of clarity.

What is a cheap diamond called? ›

Moissanite gemstones are one of the most affordable diamond alternatives. While characteristics like color, shape, and size can largely impact the price point of moissanites, a 1 ct. or 6.5mm equivalent can range from around $400 – $1,000.

What is the cheapest diamond price? ›

Rule of thumb: A 1-carat diamond can cost as low as $2,000 and as high as $25,000. That means a middle-of-the-range diamond should be $11,000 - $12,000. Sounds simple, but that is overpaying. A good value, good quality 1 carat diamond should cost you around $4,500 - $6,000.

Which diamond shape sparkles the most? ›

Round Cut Diamonds Sparkle The Most

The standard round cut diamond comprises 57 facets (58 including one on the bezel). This cut heightens the diamond's sparkle and shine. Because round diamonds have the largest number of facets, they create the most sparkle.

Do certified diamonds hold their value? ›

The short answer is yes, but the long answer will walk you through the fundamentals of diamond trading (buying and selling). However, unlike gold, diamond jewellery and loose diamonds maintain a stable market value. Instead, it is contingent upon market forces governing the cost and availability of these gems.

What is the best diamond letter? ›

In the letter-grade diamond color scale, D (colorless) is the highest and best grade, and Z is the lowest. Diamond used to be graded like gemstones on a range that included AAA, AA, A, and B, so the new scale started at D to avoid confusion.

Should you buy a diamond without a certificate? ›

If you had done a little reading up about buying diamonds, one of the first things you are probably told is to make sure that it is certified. Therefore, the answer to the question raised in the title is rather obvious. No. Buying a loose diamond without certification is never a good idea.

What is more important carat or clarity? ›

Out of the 4 C's of diamonds, the cut of the diamond is the most important. This is followed by color, clarity, and carat weight.

Does clarity affect diamond sparkle? ›

Cloud inclusions are very unlikely to have any appreciable impact on light performance in the higher clarity grades (VVS and VS). It is in the SI and below clarities that clouds are apt to be large enough or numerous enough to significantly impact the reflection and refraction of light among the diamond's facets.

What does I1 clarity look like? ›

I1 translates to “Included to the first degree.” Gems with this clarity grade have noticeable imperfections you can uncover with a jeweler's loupe. Even if you don't use a glass or loupe at 10x magnification, you might still be able to spot the blemishes. These flaws are nearly always visible to the naked eye.

What is I1 diamond rating? ›

I1 clarity describes the clarity of a diamond with small inclusions visible to the naked eye. I1 clarity diamonds offer an affordable alternative to high clarity diamonds which demand much higher prices. An understanding of clarity grades will help before buying an engagement ring.

Is I1 better than I3? ›

The iRobot Roomba i3 is a little better than the iRobot Roomba i1, though it's worth mentioning that the two vacuums are mechanically identical, with the i1 being a retailer-specific variant of the i3.

What is the difference between SI1 and I1 diamond? ›

Diamonds receive grades on each of the Four Cs from a gemological laboratory. Their clarity grades can range from "Flawless" (F) to "Included" (I). "Slightly Included" (SI) is on the lower end of the range and has two subdivisions. SI1 has the fewest and smallest inclusions, while SI2 has more and larger inclusions.

Which is better I1 or I3 diamond clarity? ›

I1 clarity have the least amount of eye-visible inclusions, whereas I2 diamonds have very visible inclusions. I3 diamonds are the lowest clarity grade possible prior to industrial drill bit use. As the inclusions present in I1-I3 diamonds detract from the beauty of the gems, Do Amore does not sell them.

What is the best diamond color grade? ›

The highest color grade for a diamond is “D”. “D” color diamonds are very rare and not commonly found in traditional jewelry. Most diamonds used in jewelry have a slight presence of color.

What is a poor cut diamond? ›

Poorly cut diamonds won't reflect as much light, giving the diamond less brilliance and fire. Some of the light will reflect out of the bottom of the stone, which is unseen when a diamond is set in a ring. Poorly cut diamonds may have light or dark patches that make the diamond look dull and lackluster.

How many carats should an engagement ring be? ›

One of the decisions to be made when considering the purchase of an engagement ring is how many carats should the ring be? The average according to The Knot (a research company and website for all things wedding) is 1 to 2 carats. There is no rule. Developing a budget is always a good place to start.

What is the most popular engagement ring right now? ›

The Knot recently surveyed more than 5,000 engaged couples for its 2021 Jewelry & Engagement Study. According to this study, the round brilliant diamond still dominates with 41% popularity while the oval shaped-engagement ring has steadily gained traction; from 2% in 2015 to 19% in 2021.

Which diamond shape has the most sparkle? ›

Round Cut Diamonds Sparkle The Most

The standard round cut diamond comprises 57 facets (58 including one on the bezel). This cut heightens the diamond's sparkle and shine. Because round diamonds have the largest number of facets, they create the most sparkle.

Which diamond clarity sparkles the most? ›

Because diamonds reflect white light, colorless diamonds produce the best sparkle and fire. In fact, the more color a diamond has, the less likely it is to reflect white light. And as a result, will produce less sparkle. A D-color diamond is the highest quality, and will offer the greatest sparkle.

How do you know if a diamond will sparkle? ›

Pay attention to cutting style.

The more facets a diamond has, the more reflective surfaces there are to bounce and scatter light. A round brilliant cut diamond with its 57 or 58 facets will appear to have more sparkle than a single-cut diamond with only 17 or 18 facets.

Is I1 clarity better than SI2? ›

SI stands for "Slightly Included." Just below SI1 and above I diamonds, SI2 clarity diamonds are on the lower end of the clarity scale. However, that doesn't mean you should avoid them. These diamonds offer an affordable price point, and their flaws are often not visible to the naked eye.

What clarity diamond is best value? ›

Bottom Line: VS2 clarity diamonds offer the best value. VS2 diamonds have small inclusions, but are usually not visible to the naked eye. It will look like a flawless diamond. VS2 diamonds can cost as much as 30% less than Flawless clarity grades.

What clarity of diamond should I buy? ›

For diamonds over 2 carats, a clarity grade of VS2 or higher is the safest bet for avoiding any signs of visible inclusions. In diamonds between 1 and 2 carats, clarity grades of SI1 or better will not have inclusions easily visible to the naked eye.

Which cut of diamond looks the biggest? ›

The four shapes that look the largest per carat are (in order of which looks the largest): marquise, pear, oval, and emerald diamonds. Among these shapes, oval diamonds are a top choice among those who want a classic-style engagement ring, yet want to maximize the size of their engagement ring's center diamond.

What is the prettiest diamond cut? ›


By far the most popular cut is the Round Brilliant, with it's fifty-seven perfectly aligned facets it's brilliance really does out-shine the others. Total internal reflection is the key here; light travels through the stone giving optimum sparkle and scintillation.

What setting makes diamonds look bigger? ›

Does a High Setting Make a Diamond Look Bigger? As we established above, yes, a high setting can make a diamond look bigger. This is especially true if you pair a high setting with a thin ring shank or band.


1. VS vs SI Diamond Clarity – What They Look Like in Real Life
2. Diamond Clarity Chart: How Low on the Scale Can You Go?
(Plum Diamonds)
3. INTENSE DIAMOND CLARITY COMPARISON! Guide with Magnified vs Real Life Inclusions & Flaws EXPLAINED
(Rick Buck)
4. Clarity Enhanced-Fracture Filled Diamonds - Buyer Beware
(A. Fishman & Son Diamonds)
5. Clarity | Why same grade diamonds are priced differently
6. Diamond Clarity vs. Transparency
(Johannes Hunter Jewelers)
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