SI1 Clarity Diamonds | Are They Really Eye-Clean?

Example SI1 Diamond Clarity Grade Brian Gavin Signature Diamond.

Example of SI1 Clarity Diamond from Brian Gavin.

Many people think that SI1 clarity diamonds represent a good value. For one reason, they're supposed to face-up eye-clean. While that might be true for some people, we've always been able to find the inclusions with just our eyes.

Under those circumstances, we're not able to say that SI1 clarity diamonds are eye-clean. Although, we understand why most of the industry believes that claim to be valid.

Consequently, the generally agreed-upon procedure to determine whether a diamond is eye-clean is as follows:

"Glance at the diamond from a distance of 9-12 inches. If the inclusions are not 'readily and immediately visible' without magnification, then the diamond is eye-clean."

Conversely, the odds of an SI-1 clarity diamond being eye-clean are slim to none if you're going to scrutinize it. Of course, some specimens look better than others, and sparkle factors into the equation because it distracts from the inclusions. Under those circumstances, you can see why we recommend Brian Gavin Signature diamonds so highly.

What Are SI1 Clarity Diamonds?

Example of an SI1 Clarity Diamond from Blue Nile.

Example of an SI-1 Clarity Diamond from Blue Nile.

The abbreviation SI-1 stands for Slightly Included in the 1st degree. In that case, the clarity characteristics are likely to be readily and immediately visible under magnification.

However, you might not see the inclusions without magnification unless you scrutinize the diamond. You might consider this 1.01 carat, E-color, SI-1 clarity, diamond from Blue Nile eye-clean under those circumstances.

In other words, you may be able to see the inclusions with just your eyes once you know where to look. Therein lies the rub with the diamond SI1 clarity rating because it's similar to an illusion.

One minute you're looking at the diamond, and it appears to be eye-clean. Then, once you locate the inclusions and know what to look for, you're able to see them every time.

That is why we recommend VS-2 clarity diamonds if you want the diamond to face-up eye-clean under most conditions. Consequently, that statement applies explicitly to round brilliant cut diamonds. You might need a higher clarity for other diamond shapes.

Are SI-1 Clarity Diamonds Good?

Pavé Set Diamond Engagement Ring by Brian Gavin.

Pavé Set Engagement Ring by Brian Gavin.

Whether you think SI1 clarity diamonds are good or bad is mostly a matter of perception. For example, you might not consider SI-1 clarity diamonds a good choice if you don't want to see any inclusions.

However, it might be a good option if you don't mind seeing a few inclusions with the naked eye. After all, you can save a lot of money buying a lower clarity diamond.

In that case, you can spend the difference on other characteristics like carat weight or cut quality. Consequently, those factors are more likely to be apparent to people admiring your diamond.

In other words, the casual observer is not likely to see your diamonds' inclusions from across the dinner table. However, the difference in sparkle factor from a higher cut quality may be apparent from across the room.

Some Specimens Look Better Than Others:

Example of James Allen True Hearts Diamond SI1 Clarity Grade.

James Allen True Hearts Diamond SI1 Clarity.

Take this 1.01 carat, D-color, SI-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond, for example. There are a few inclusions under the table facet and along the stone's edge. Here is a copy of the GIA diamond grading report for your reference.

However, none of them are blatantly obvious, and you're not likely to see them without scrutinizing the diamond. As that may be, those feathers along the girdle edge of the diamond are worthy of note.

After all, a feather is the polite industry term they use to describe a fracture or a crack. In that case, those types of inclusions pose a potential durability risk.

Of course, that doesn't mean they will be a problem, only that the possibility exists. On the one hand, the polishing process is complete, and the feather was not an issue. Conversely, the diamond is not yet in a ring, and the feather could spread upon impact.

Is the Diamond SI1 Clarity Rating Bad?

James Allen True Hearts Diamond SI1 Clarity Inclusions Reflect.

SI1 Clarity James Allen True Hearts Diamond.

As stated previously, SI1 clarity diamonds are not good or bad, per se. However, it might not be a good choice for an engagement ring if you don't want to see any inclusions.

Each clarity grade represents a range of inclusions, so some SI-1 clarity diamonds look better than others. For example, the inclusions within this James Allen True Hearts diamond reflect multiple times throughout the stone.

We use the color red in this photograph to indicate the primary inclusions. The green color points to the translucent crystals' mirror image, while pink points to the large dark crystal's reflections.

In that case, you might say that SI-1 clarity diamonds are imperfect because you can see the flaws. However, the judgment criteria for good and bad in this case is clearly a matter of preference.

It is also important to realize that we're using this diamond as an example because it suits our purposes. There are cleaner-looking SI-1 clarity James Allen True Hearts diamonds available.

Types of Inclusions to Avoid:

Suffice to say that some clarity characteristics are more desirable than others. We automatically reject the following types of inclusions because of the potential durability risk:

  • Bruise.
  • Cavity.
  • Chip.
  • Cleavage.
  • Crystal On Surface.
  • Etch Channel.
  • Flux Remnant.
  • Knot.
  • Laser Drill Holes.

You might notice that feathers like those in the James Allen True Hearts diamond above are not on that list. Conversely, those tiny fractures can be of no consequence or present a potential durability risk.

In that case, you need to consider the impact of specific inclusions on a case-by-case basis. After all, every diamond is unique, and the clarity characteristics within every SI-1 clarity diamond will be different.

SI-1 Clarity Diamond Prices:

Brian Gavin Select Cushion Cut Diamonds.

Brian Gavin Select Cushion Cut Diamonds.

You might be wondering how much do SI1 clarity diamonds cost? Unfortunately, there is not a clear-cut answer to that question for several reasons.

In the first place, the nature of the inclusions factors into diamond prices. Under those circumstances, the size, extent, location, type, and overall appearance of the inclusions come into play.

Secondly, the combination of proportions and the degree of optical precision can affect the price up to sixty percent. That means that a GIA Excellent cut diamond with proportions on the low-end costs less.

In contrast, a Brian Gavin Signature Hearts and Arrows diamond will cost more because of the higher cut quality. It will also exhibit a higher volume of light return and sparkle factor that is more vivid and intense.

Examples of SI-1 Clarity Diamonds We Recommend:

Example SI-1 Clarity Diamond from Blue Nile.

SI1 Clarity Diamond from Blue Nile.

The clarity grade of this 1.07 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round diamond from Blue Nile is based on clouds not shown on the plotting diagram. It is currently selling for $5,344/per carat.

Example of SI1 Clarity, Brian Gavin Signature diamond.

Brian Gavin Signature Diamond SI1 Clarity.

This 1.07 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature diamond is currently selling for $7,281/per carat. The primary inclusion responsible for the clarity grade is the feather in the eleven o'clock region.

Example of James Allen True Hearts Diamond SI1 Clarity.

James Allen True Hearts Diamond SI-1 Clarity.

The clarity grade of this 1.06 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond is also based on clouds not shown on the plotting diagram. It is currently selling for $5,519/per carat.

How Much Is An SI-1 Clarity Diamond Worth?

Petite Hidden Halo Blue Nile Engagement Ring.

Petite Hidden Halo Setting from Blue Nile.

Determining the value of an SI1 clarity diamond is not as easy as it seems at first glance. In the first place, the range of possibilities within the SI-1 clarity grade is the broadest of the GIA clarity scale.

It is also challenging to find SI1 clarity diamonds that look nice and don't contain problematic inclusions. Nor is it easy to find diamonds within the scope of our One Minute Diamond Buying Guide.

In that case, we thought it would be helpful to see examples of the types of SI1 clarity diamonds we recommend. The three diamonds above have proportions in the range we recommend.

In that case, they should exhibit a high volume of light return. Those diamonds should also display a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.

You will also notice that the inclusions are not that easy to see without the reference points. Under those circumstances, the SI1 clarity diamond prices are likely to be higher than average. However, the intrinsic value of a sparklier diamond might well be worth it.

SI1 Clarity Diamond Plotting Diagrams:

Example of Plotting Diagram SI1 Clarity Diamonds Blue Nile.

Blue Nile SI1 Clarity Diamond Plotting Diagram.

The plotting diagram on the diamond grading report shows the location of the clarity characteristics. There should also be a key to symbols that indicates the types of inclusions responsible for the overall grade.

In this case, the inclusions within this Blue Nile diamond consist of clouds, crystals, and feathers. That means that there are small clusters of pinpoint size crystals. There are also a few more significant crystals and one or more fractures.

It is essential to remember that plotting diagrams only show the diamond from one dimension. Under those circumstances, the inclusions may appear at different depths within the body of the stone.

It is also important to realize that the plot's inclusions might not be apparent in the diamond clarity photograph. Consequently, that is because the plotting diagram shows the inclusions in their relative position.

The location of the inclusions and light reflecting off the facets will affect your ability to see them within the diamond. Conversely, the grader can inspect the diamond from multiple vantage points, while our view is limited to what we can see online.

The Best Places to Buy SI1 Clarity Diamonds:

In our experience, the best places to buy SI-1 clarity diamonds online are the following:

Let Us Help You Search for SI-1 Clarity Diamonds:

Nadia Setting from Brilliant Earth Diamonds.

The Nadia Setting by Brilliant Earth Diamonds.

As shown above, there is more to SI1 clarity diamonds than meets the eye. In the first place, it can be challenging to find ideal cut diamonds with the proportions we recommend.

It's also not easy to determine which SI1 clarity diamonds are suitable for an engagement ring. Nor is it always easy to know whether a particular inclusion is acceptable.

In that case, we invite you to take advantage of our free Diamond Concierge Service. The trade resources available to us make it easier for us to search for SI-1 clarity diamonds.

Needless to say that we'll put our 35+ years of experience to work to find you the best options. We're also happy to look over the details for any diamonds you might be considering.

Nice Ice Blueprint™

The Nice Ice® Blueprint™.

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