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SI Diamonds

Choosing the right stone for your engagement ring is all about prioritization and finding the right combination of the four C’s: cut, color, carat, and as we’ll discuss today, clarity.

What Are SI Diamonds?

SI diamonds are a category of diamond that contain inclusions within their internal structure. To the unaided eye, these stones may be what jewelers refer to as ‘eye-clean,’ which means that any present inclusions are unable to be seen with the naked eye. However, the inclusions are certainly present and can affect the brilliance of the stone, so it’s important to consider the other grades that will improve a diamonds sparkle: cut and color.

What Does Diamond Clarity SI Mean?

Clarity grades range from Very Included to Flawless and reflect whether a diamond has visible flaws.

In nature, diamonds form as the result of carbon deposits subjected to high temperatures and pressure. As the atoms rearrange themselves to form the crystal structure that is characteristic of the diamond lattice, small impurities can cause flaws in this structure.

These impurities can form different types of flaws:

To determine where a diamond falls on the clarity scale, a professional will inspect it with a loupe or another piece of magnifying equipment. The standard is to use a 10x magnification level, which means things appear ten times larger than they do to the naked eye.

After looking for noticeable inclusions and blemishes at the 10x magnification level, experts will decide which of the six clarity categories the diamond belongs to:

While SI diamonds rank lower than other clarity ratings, you have to remember that experts use a 10x magnification level to rate precious stones. Included diamonds are the only ones with flaws that are easy to see with the naked eye.

SI diamonds are less valuable than stones with a better clarity rating, but their inclusions, blemishes, and other flaws remain difficult to detect unless you look at a stone closely or use magnification.

This makes SI diamonds an excellent choice for jewelry consumers who are on a budget. While they may have blemishes, they’ll shine just as brightly to the naked eye.

Is SI a good quality diamond?

An SI diamond is a good quality diamond. As a clarity grade, SI, which stands for ‘slightly included,’ is considered an excellent value stone with minimal inclusions. All diamonds, including higher clarity diamonds categorized as flawless, have minor imperfections. Choosing an SI clarity diamond with a good combination of carat, cut, and color is an excellent choice.

What’s the difference between SI1 and SI2?

The difference between SI1 diamonds and SI2 diamonds is minimal. While both have inclusions, SI1 diamonds contain blemishes that aren’t visible to the unaided eye. When examining an SI2 diamond, it is much more likely that you will be able to see the inclusions with a naked eye. Under magnification, inclusions will be blatant in both SI1 and SI2 diamonds.

What’s Better: SI or VVS?

It depends on what you expect from a diamond. In terms of purity, a VVS diamond ranks higher on the clarity scale. The inclusions are not visible to the naked eye and remain hard to notice with a 10x magnification level.

SI diamonds, especially SI2 diamonds, have more noticeable inclusions. These diamonds can potentially have numerous inclusions as well. The inclusions can look larger or darker in color compared to the slight blemishes you might see on a VVS diamond.

However, for those shopping on a budget, SI diamonds, and even SI2 clarity diamonds, can be a better choice.

Clarity is one of the indicators of quality and affects the price of a diamond, but it’s not the only factor to consider. Cut quality, carat weight, and color are also important.

Prioritizing clarity over these other factors isn’t the best way to get the best-looking diamond in your price range. For instance, a VVS diamond will cost more than an SI1 diamond due to its clarity, which means you might have to compromise and get a smaller carat weight or a slightly flawed cut.

Opting for an SI diamond can leave more room in your budget for a larger diamond, a quality cut, or a diamond that is closer to a colorless stone on the color scale. The inclusions will be present but visible if you inspect the stone closely. Choose SI diamonds to optimize a densely set piece, so it dazzles the naked eye.

An SI diamond can seem less desirable than a VVS stone, but you should keep in mind that the inclusions found in an SI stone typically don’t affect transparency and brilliance like with an included diamond. Transparency and brilliance can look even better if you opt for an SI diamond that is near colorless or has a quality cut.

What Do SI Diamonds Cost?

An SI diamond will cost less than stones with a higher clarity rating, but the carat weight remains the top factor in determining the price of a diamond. As a rule of thumb, larger diamonds cost more.

The cut quality and shape are also important. A round cut tends to cost more because it’s more challenging to execute. You should also expect to spend more if you’re after a popular cut. Trends can change, which means prices will fluctuate based on offer and demand for different cuts.

In most cases, a diamond with a larger top surface area will cost more because it can look more imposing in a setting. A diamond with a deeper cut can cost less, even though the carat weight is comparable.

If you look at comparable carat weights, cuts, and colors, an SI diamond will cost less than a VS or VVS diamond. It will also be significantly more affordable than an IF or F diamond.

However, an SI diamond with a higher carat weight, a high-quality cut, and a colorless or near-colorless rating might have a similar price range or even cost more than a VS diamond with a smaller carat weight, a poor cut, or a light color rating.

Shopping around will give you a better idea of what you should expect to pay for an SI diamond based on its carat weight and other factors.

Tips for Buying SI1 Diamonds

GIA and IGI are well-known institutions that grade both natural diamonds and lab diamonds. When buying an SI diamond, ensure that it comes with a certificate despite its origin.

Some diamond shapes conceal inclusions better than others. Cushion cut, oval cut, marquise shape, or pear-shaped diamonds are the best at hiding any imperfections.

Evaluate the diamond yourself and ensure a reputable jeweler does the same.

If you don’t have a loupe to check where the inclusions are yourself, all diamonds over 1 carat should have a clarity plot on their certifications that will inform you of where the inclusions are and what type they are. Often times inclusions can be concealed by prongs or other parts of a setting so it’s a good idea to know where they’re located.

For further information on buying diamonds, check out our complete guide to find all the information you need.

Is an SI Diamond Right for Me?

You have to consider what your budget is and what you expect from the diamond. Jewelers often recommend SI diamonds as the best value since the SI rating is enough to bring the price down without taking away from the appearance of the diamond.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all SI diamonds are the same. You should shop around and compare the different options available to you.

An important distinction is to choose an SI1 or SI2 stone. An SI2 diamond will cost less, but the flaws might be more noticeable.

You should also consider where the inclusions appear. Experts will look for flaws and issue a clarity rating regardless of where the black spots or cracks are. Depending on the cut of the diamond, these flaws might be hard to notice.

For instance, you can get an SI diamond with excellent transparency and brilliance by avoiding stones where inclusions are visible from the top. If you can see black spots and blemishes when looking at the stone from the side, it’s sometimes possible to hide these flaws with a ring setting.

The cut of the diamond can also help make inclusions less noticeable. Typically, a cushion cut, oval cut, marquise shape, or pear-shaped diamond will have better radiance despite a few inclusions being present. The round cut is a popular shape, but it’s less forgiving for stones with a few inclusions.

It’s also important to consider what kind of inclusions the diamond has. Two diamonds with the same SI rating can vary in quality. For instance, vertical lines can cause weakness in a diamond’s structure and result in a low-quality stone. You’ll likely get a great deal on this type of SI diamond, but it won’t be as durable as an SI diamond with a few black spots.

Final Thoughts

SI diamonds are an option worth considering for budget-conscious shoppers. These diamonds have a few flaws, but it’s easy to find SI1 or SI2 diamonds with inclusions that remain difficult to detect to the naked eye. Opting for an SI diamond often means you’ll be able to get a larger stone or a higher-quality cut for your money. At Brilliant Earth, all of our diamonds meet Beyond Conflict Free standards that go beyond the normal conflict free commitments to further improve the jewelry industry.

To more about SI clarity diamonds, check out our diamond clarity guide and start shopping our SI clarity diamonds today.

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