SI2 vs I1 Diamond Clarity: 5 Differences | (2023)

SI2 vs I1 Diamond Clarity: 5 Differences | (1)

Diamond clarity refers to the presence of inclusions. These flaws develop during the diamond’s formation and affect its durability, visible appearance, and brilliance.

Clarity grades range from flawless, where no inclusions are visible with 10x magnification, to I3, which means it’s heavily included.

It’s not always easy to identify the differences between SI2 and I1 diamonds.

Check out this high-resolution image of a one-carat SI2 diamond from James Allen, the vendor where I found my wife’s engagement ring.

Now compare it to this round-cut, which earned I1.

Even when you rotate the images to view them at every angle, they’re difficult to distinguish.

So we’ll compare SI2 versus I1 diamond clarity, including an overview of both grades, how they’re different, and how you should decide which diamond is right for you.

What is an SI2 Diamond?

An SI2 (slightly included) diamond is a clarity grade given to a diamond that often features several types of inclusions.

It’s one grade below SI1, which indicates its inclusions are more visible and impactful than ones that receive the higher grade.

SI2 vs I1 Diamond Clarity: 5 Differences | (2)

It’s often difficult to distinguish between a single clarity grade with the naked eye, but the SI2 diamond would have slightly darker or larger inclusions or ones that have more of an effect on its overall structure.

For example, it may have a white twinning wisp inclusion on the side of its table. There could be a few black spots scattered throughout the diamond caused by dark crystals growing inside.

When viewed from the top-down, these inclusions aren’t always noticeable. Instead, inclusions in SI2 diamonds are often visible from the side.

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

Some buyers choose settings that disguise these areas because they’re more visible to others who see your ring. When a prong or bezel is placed on top of the inclusion, it disappears from view.

Here’s an example of prongs grasping the edge of a diamond.

SI2 vs I1 Diamond Clarity: 5 Differences | (3)

As long as the inclusions are minor, the prongs disguise ones in those positions.

What is an I1 Diamond?

I1 (included) clarity diamonds have significant inclusions in several places throughout the diamond. It’s the third lowest grade, above I3 clarity andI2.

SI2 vs I1 Diamond Clarity: 5 Differences | (4)

They’re given a low grade because the inclusions have a major impact on its light performance, ability to withstand hits or drops, and visual appearance.

If you place an I1 diamond next to one higher on the GIA clarity scale such as VS2 orVS1, the differences are immediately apparent.

There could be a white feather extending across the table, pinpoint inclusions, and etch channels. Each of these affect a diamond in a different way.

In general, they have more of a negative effect if they’re large and near vulnerable areas such as a thin girdle.

While some inclusions can be hidden with the right setting, it can be difficult to cover all the inclusions in an I1 diamond. They may be so spread out that they can’t be covered by a bezel setting or prongs.

What are Differences Between SI2 Clarity and I1 Diamonds?

1. I1 Diamonds Have More Impactful Inclusions

Diamonds receive an I1 versus S12 clarity grade because the inclusions are either larger, darker, or a more severe type.

For example, the twinning wisp may be white in an SI2 diamond and only noticeable if you view it up close, but on an I1 diamond, it could have some color.

SI2 vs I1 Diamond Clarity: 5 Differences | (5)

A colored twinning wisp often diminishes the appearance and brilliance of the diamond more than a white one, so it earns a lower clarity grade.

Or the I1 diamond could have a cavity that leaves it more vulnerable to chipping if dropped.

(Video) Understanding DIAMOND CLARITY !

While both S12 and I1 diamonds can have cavities, the one in the I1 diamond is likely larger.

As a general rule, inclusions located near vulnerable areas are more impactful. You can view the position of each inclusion on the GIA report’s clarity characteristics plot.

SI2 vs I1 Diamond Clarity: 5 Differences | (6)

It’s located at the bottom of the middle panel and is accompanied by a key that identifies the symbols for each inclusion.

2. SI2 Diamonds Can be Eye-Clean

Many buyers are less concerned with a specific clarity grade than the actualappearance of the diamond to the naked eye. You don’t have to purchase a flawless diamond in order for it to be free of visible inclusions.

As an example, the image below is of an SI2 oval cut diamond.

SI2 vs I1 Diamond Clarity: 5 Differences | (7)

Even in high-resolution, it’s inclusions aren’t visible. So it’s unlikely they could be seen when placed in a normal setting.

A diamond with inclusions that are only visible with magnification are called eye-clean diamonds.

SI2 diamonds can be eye-clean, but I1 diamonds rarely have this designation.

In fact, it’s recommended if you want a diamond without visible inclusions that you start with an SI1 clarity grade and go up from there.

Despite this general recommendation, there are instances where you can find an eye-clean SI2. If you’re searching for a diamond that’s one-carat or less, the inclusions may be too small to view.

If that’s the case, you can save money by choosing a diamond with a lower clarity grade or instead put that savings toward a higher carat weight or better color or cut.

But always view a high-quality image of an SI2 diamond before you buy it, so you know if it has any visible inclusions.

3. I1 Diamonds are Less Expensive

If all other qualities are equal, I1 diamonds are less expensive than SI2 diamonds because of the lower clarity grade.

A lack of inclusions is a valuable trait in a diamond, so if there are more flaws, it will sell for a lower price.

(Video) I1 Vs I2 Diamonds: How Are They Different? [2023]

To give an example, I compiled prices from online diamond retailer James Allen for diamonds that have all the same qualities, except some are graded I1 and others are SI2. They earned the following grades:

  • Carat: 1.00
  • Cut: Very good
  • Color: D

For an I1 diamond with these qualities, the average price is $3,781, with a range of $3,270-$4,710.

SI2 vs I1 Diamond Clarity: 5 Differences | (8)

For an SI2 diamond, the average is $4,476, and the range is $3,190-$6,670.

That’s an 18 percent premium for an SI2 diamond versus an I1 diamond.

This same principle applies as you move up the clarity scale. Diamonds with fewer and less impactful inclusions usually sell for higher prices when all other qualities are equal.

You can expect the price of diamonds to increase 10-20 percent for every step up the clarity scale. It’s on the higher end when you move from one category to the next, like SI to VS or VS to VVS.

Those premiums aren’t worth it if you can’t tell the difference between the two diamonds, but if one is eye-clean and the other isn’t, it’s still a strong value to pay the higher price.

4. SI2 Diamonds are More Durable

Inclusions affect the structure of a diamond and make it susceptible to chipping. The extent to which this problem occurs depends on the size, location, and type of inclusion.

SI2 vs I1 Diamond Clarity: 5 Differences | (9)

For example, small pinpoints in an SI2 diamond are unlikely to cause a chip. They’re present in almost everySI diamondbut are often invisible.

On the other hand, indented naturals are often found near the girdle and dip below the polished surface.

If it’s large enough in an I1 diamond, it impacts durability in a similar way as a chip or cavity.

If it’s hit or struck against a surface, the indented natural could expand.

If you choose an I1 diamond, ensure it’s protected with a strong setting. For example, opt for a six-prong or bezel setting, which both offer more protection than a four-setting.

(Video) Diamond Clarity (Part 1) - Quality and Price Comparison - 6 Pro Tips of Do & Don't

5. SI2 Diamonds are Fit for Engagement Rings

If you’re looking for an engagement ring diamond on the lower end of the clarity scale, choose SI2 versus I1.

The center diamond should have brilliance and appeal to the eye. Inclusions diminish both of those features.

SI2 vs I1 Diamond Clarity: 5 Differences | (10)

You don’t want feathers, twinning wisps, etch channels, orindented naturalsvisible when showing off your diamond ring.

It might require choosing a higher clarity than SI2, but you can start there. In fact, most buyers choose a clarity grade higher than SI2 for their engagement ring diamond.

For small diamond accents or side stones, they often aren’t graded by the GIA or other organizations. That means there’s no official clarity grade.

But in some cases, they’ll have SI2, SI1, or VS2 grades attached.

In those cases, choose a setting where the diamonds have no visible inclusions, but it still adds brilliance to the piece.

Is an I1 or SI2 Diamond Right For Your Ring?

SI2 vs I1 Diamond Clarity: 5 Differences | (11)

Choosing between an I1 and SI2 diamond involves understanding which qualities are most important to you.

Clarity is only one of the four Cs, so you should also consider carat, cut, and color. You may decide you’re willing to sacrifice clarity for a larger diamond, or you prefer a colorless diamond to one that lacks inclusions.

When it comes to deciding between I1 and SI2 clarity, here are some tips to consider.

You should choose an I1 diamond if:

  • It’s a small diamond that won’t be the center diamond in an engagement ring
  • You’re looking for a less expensive diamond
  • You’ll protect it with a strong setting

You should opt for an S12 diamond if:

  • You understand it may have inclusions visible from the side
  • It’s an engagement ring diamond that weighs less than one carat
  • You want a diamond that isn’t as vulnerable to chipping because of inclusions

Explore both I1 and SI2 diamonds at online and in-person vendors.

Once you’ve chosen your diamond, you can pair it with a setting to create the right ring or piece of jewelry for you.

(Video) VS2 vs SI1 Diamond Clarity – Real Life Comparison of Diamond Rings


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.

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.

Should I buy an I1 Clarity 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.

Will 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.

How good is SI2 clarity? ›

SI2 clarity diamonds have noticeable inclusions that are very easy for a diamond grader to see using 10x magnification. We think if your diamond is bigger than a half-carat in size you'll have no trouble seeing them either. The more inclusions there are in a diamond, the more they affect its overall appearance.

Will a SI2 diamond sparkle? ›

It will sparkle more because the inclusions are on the edge of the diamond and not interfering with the light as it travels through the centre of the stone. This gives the diamond more brilliance and sparkle.

What is the difference between a SI2 and I1 diamond? ›

SI2 diamonds have more noticeable inclusions than SI1 diamonds. An SI2's imperfections also tend to be darker or more obvious. That's why more SI1 diamonds are eye-clean. In general, SI1 diamonds will be the best value for an eye-clean stone in most diamond shapes.

Which diamond clarity shines 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.

Which diamond is better SI or VS? ›

VS (very slightly included) and SI (slightly included). VS diamonds are of the highest quality, as they have very few inclusions or blemishes and are usually only visible under 10x magnification. SI diamonds have slightly more inclusions or blemishes, but they are still considered to be high quality.

Is diamond clarity SI1 SI2 good? ›

"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. This doesn't mean that SI clarity diamonds are a poor choice. In fact, most SI1 clarity diamonds will look just as good as a higher clarity diamond.

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.

What clarity grade is best for diamonds? ›

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.

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.


1. INTENSE DIAMOND CLARITY COMPARISON! Guide with Magnified vs Real Life Inclusions & Flaws EXPLAINED
(Rick Buck)
2. Comparisons of Diamond Clarity Grades
(Samara James)
3. Diamond Clarity Explained | side by side comparison 40x magnification of REAL DIAMONDS + FAIR PRICES
(Faithful Platform)
(Rick Buck)
5. Comparing 2 1/4ct - 2.44ct I/J colors, SI1-SI2 clarities
(Good Old Gold)
6. How to Choose a Diamond: Four-Minute GIA Diamond Grading Guide by GIA
(Gemological Institute of America)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Errol Quitzon

Last Updated: 04/16/2023

Views: 5623

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Errol Quitzon

Birthday: 1993-04-02

Address: 70604 Haley Lane, Port Weldonside, TN 99233-0942

Phone: +9665282866296

Job: Product Retail Agent

Hobby: Computer programming, Horseback riding, Hooping, Dance, Ice skating, Backpacking, Rafting

Introduction: My name is Errol Quitzon, I am a fair, cute, fancy, clean, attractive, sparkling, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.