SI2 Clarity Diamonds – the Bottom Line on Whether They Are Good

James Allen True Hearts Diamond SI2 Clarity.

James Allen True Hearts SI-2 Clarity Diamond.

SI2 clarity diamonds are "slightly included to the second degree." Consequently, we've also seen people describe the SI-2 abbreviation as semi-included or having slight inclusions.

However, on GIA's diamond clarity scale, the SI-2 designation is an abbreviation for slightly included 2nd degree. In contrast, the AGS Laboratory (AGSL) refers to this clarity grade as a six on their numerical grading scale.

The inclusions within this 1.04 carat, G-color, SI-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond look very slight. Under the circumstances, you may or may not be able to see the inclusions without magnification.

In that case, it might seem like an eye-clean SI2 clarity diamond from your perspective. Although that may be true, the ability to see inclusions varies from person to person.

Conversely, one person might deem a diamond to be eye-clean while another can see the inclusions without magnification. In my case, I have always been able to find the inclusions within SI-1 and SI2 clarity diamonds with just my eyes. Please take advantage of our free Diamond Concierge Service if you would like diamond buying advice.

Are SI2 Clarity Diamonds Good?

HPDiamonds Optical Symmetry Image for Crafted by Infinity Diamond.

Optical Symmetry of Crafted by Infinity Diamond.

The difference between something good and something great is attention to the details. In that case, whether or not you think that SI2 clarity diamonds are a good choice is primarily a matter of preference.

Although that may be true, some SI-2 clarity diamonds are better than others. Consequently, each diamond clarity grade represents a range or spectrum of inclusion.

There are nicer-looking SI-2 clarity diamonds under those circumstances, like this one from High-Performance Diamonds. However, other specimens of the diamond SI2 clarity grade might look better or worse, as shown below.

Another key point to remember is that optical precision is an essential factor of light performance. This multi-colored optical symmetry scope image from GCAL shows how evenly this diamond is reflecting light.

Is an SI-2 Clarity Diamond Bad?

Blue Nile GIA Excellent Cut Diamond.

GIA Excellent SI-2 Clarity Diamond from Blue Nile.

Given the broad range of possibilities within the spectrum, some SI2 clarity diamonds are more desirable than others. For example, I think you'll agree that this GIA Excellent cut diamond from Blue Nile looks pretty bad.

In other words, the footprint of the inclusions is extensive, and it looks like a shotgun blast ripped through the stone. Under those circumstances, you are likely to see the inclusions without magnification.

In that case, this is not likely to be an eye-clean SI-2 clarity diamond. The GIA also indicates that this diamond contains a cavity. Down below, you'll see that we recommend avoiding diamonds with holes in them.

A Brief Overview of the Diamond Clarity Grades:

Here is the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale in order from best to worst. It is essential to understand that the overall grade depends on the absence of inclusions rather than their presence. Read our tutorial on diamond clarity grading for more information on that topic.

  • Flawless (FL).
  • Internally Flawless (IF).
  • VVS-1 is Very Very Slightly Included to the 1st degree.
  • VVS-2 is Very Very Slightly Included to the 2nd degree.
  • VS-1 is Very Slightly Included to the 1st degree.
  • VS-2 is Very Slightly Included to the 2nd degree.
  • SI-1 is Slightly Included to the 1st degree.
  • SI-2 is Slightly Included to the 2nd degree.
  • I-1 is Included to the 1st degree.
  • I-2 is Included to the 2nd degree.
  • I-3 is Included to the 3rd degree.

Are SI2 Clarity Diamonds Eye-Clean?

Pick Your Favorite Style of Blue Nile Engagement Rings.

Popular Ring Styles from Blue Nile Diamonds.

In most cases, the vendor indicates whether the diamond is eye-clean in the description. However, that does not stop people from wanting to verify that claim. It's almost like they have a sixth sense that some things are too good to be true.

Conversely, it's possible for one person to consider an SI-2 clarity diamond eye-clean and another to see the inclusions without magnification. To begin with, the ability to identify clarity characteristics within diamonds depends on your eyesight.

It is also essential to understand the procedure by which the industry determines whether a diamond is eye-clean. Specifically, the person grading the diamond glances at it from a distance of 9-12 inches. If they cannot see the inclusions "readily and immediately" from that distance, then the diamond is deemed to be eye-clean.

Consequently, this is not the same way that most people scrutinize the diamond in their engagement ring. Needless to say, that differences in our understanding of the definition of eye-clean can lead to disappointment.

To avoid confusion, we recommend asking the vendor about the inclusions in a more precise manner. Specifically, you should ask the degree to which the inclusions are visible without magnification. In our experience, phrasing the question in this manner will result in a more accurate assessment.

SI-2 Diamond Prices:

Black by Brian Gavin Diamond in Pavé Halo Setting.

Black by Brian Gavin Diamonds Sparkle Like the Sun.

Suffice to say that there is more to diamond prices than meet the eye. It stands to reason that characteristics such as carat weight, color, and clarity factor into the equation.

However, most people don't realize that diamond cut quality can influence the price by sixty percent. Consequently, the reason is that the sparkle factor depends on the proportions and degree of optical precision.

In that case, you're going to find a broad range of prices for SI-2 clarity ideal cut diamonds. Conversely, about 85% of round diamonds meet the GIA Excellent rating criteria, yet only a fraction of those meet our standards.

It's a well-known fact that Hearts and Arrows super ideal cut diamonds produce a higher volume of light return and more intense sparkle. Be sure to search the following places if you're looking for the best performance.

The Best Places to Buy H&A Diamonds Online:

Where to Buy GIA 3X SI-2 Clarity Diamonds:

Here is a list of our favorite places to search for standard ideal cut diamonds:

Is SI-1 Better than SI2 or Vice Versa?

Blue Nile Diamond I1 Clarity 1-carat East West Engagement Ring.

1-carat East West Solitaire from Blue Nile.

It's easy to confuse the 1st and 2nd-degree designations that the GIA incorporates as part of their clarity scale. Perhaps the easiest way to remember which is better is that one represents the higher position.

With that in mind, an SI-1 clarity diamond will contain inclusions that are less significant than those within an SI2 clarity diamond. Conversely, the higher clarity grade does not necessarily mean the diamond will be eye-clean.

The overall clarity grade depends on several factors, including the inclusion type and the extent, location, and visibility. In that case, a diamond with specific inclusions might warrant a lower clarity grade and face-up eye-clean.

For example, diamonds with twinning wisp inclusions tend to look eye-clean. However, the same inclusions can make the diamond look cloudy if the twisted crystal planes contain dark diamond crystals. Be sure to read our full tutorial on diamond clarity grading for more information.

Is It Okay to Buy an SI2 Clarity Diamond Engagement Ring?

Diamond Buying Tutorial 5 Minutes to Success.

Corey Gray's Black by Brian Gavin Diamond Ring.

It stands to reason that deciding whether to buy an SI-2 clarity diamond is a matter of personal preference. Consequently, the diamond Brian Gavin cut for my wedding ring was 2.25 carats, I-color, SI-2 clarity.

I must have handed that ring to 10,000 people throughout the years, and nobody could see the inclusion. Although that may be true, it's only because most people don't know how to grade diamond clarity.

The offset for choosing a lower clarity diamond is that it's easier to afford a higher carat weight. However, I have to admit that it can be disconcerting to see the inclusions without magnification.

For that reason, we chose an F-color, VS-1 clarity Black by Brian Gavin diamond when it was time for my son to propose. As you can see, the diamond is gorgeous, and so is the custom 3-stone setting.

7 Tips to Help You Buy the Best SI2 Clarity Diamond Rings:

Review the Key to Symbols and Plotting Diagram:

Carefully review the plotting diagram because no two SI2 clarity diamonds are alike. Be sure that the key to symbols does not contain inclusions that present a potential durability risk. You can find a list of inclusions to avoid further down this page.

Beware of Inclusions Along the Edge:

Not all inclusions along the edge of a diamond should be of concern. However, some inclusions like extensive feathers can be a problem.

Interestingly, some experts recommend that you look for an SI2 clarity diamond with inclusions along the edge. Supposedly that is because it might be possible to cover those inclusions with a prong.

However, nobody seems to think about the possibility of a feather extending when the jeweler crimps the prongs. Given the wide variety of SI2 clarity diamonds, we invite you to ask us to review the details.

Avoid the Following Types of Inclusions:

It's important to realize that gemological laboratories report the characteristics of the diamond present at the time of grading. It is not their job or responsibility to determine whether inclusions are good or bad.

The odds are that most people do not give much thought to the different types of inclusions. However, we prefer to avoid the following kinds of inclusions because they present a potential durability risk:

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

Look for Inclusions Lighter in Color:

Clarity characteristics that are lighter in color are more difficult to see than dark inclusions. In that case, we prefer to avoid black pique crystals in lower clarity diamonds.

Although that may be true, we don't worry too much about tiny dark crystals in VS-2 or higher clarity diamonds. After all, AGS and GIA-graded diamonds with VS2 clarity should look the same as flawless to the naked eye.

Pick Diamond Shapes that Hide Inclusions:

It stands to reason that some diamond shapes make it harder to see inclusions than others. In our experience, round and brilliant-cut diamonds do the best job of hiding inclusions.

That's because the brilliant facet pattern produces sparkle that makes it more challenging to see the inclusions. In contrast, it's easy to see inclusions in step-cut diamonds like the Asscher and Emerald-cut.

Insist on AGS, GIA, or GCAL-graded diamonds:

Crafted by Infinity Hearts and Arrows Super Ideal Cut HPDiamonds.

Crafted by Infinity Solitaires from HP Diamonds.

There are many diamond grading laboratories, but most people don't realize that there are differences. The GIA is the most widely recognized gemological laboratory in the world.

However, the AGS Laboratory has the advantage when it comes to grading diamond light performance. We think that their Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool provides the most accurate insight available.

We can also tell a lot from the images that GCAL provides on their 8X diamond grading certificate. Consequently, we're okay with GCAL's use of the term "diamond grading certificate" because they guarantee the grade. By the way, the Crafted by Infinity diamonds from HP Diamonds come with reports from all three labs.

Focus on Sparkle Factor and Performance:

Black by Brian Gavin Diamond Custom Engagement Ring.

1.76 carat, G-color, IF, Black by Brian Gavin Diamond.

If you're buying a diamond engagement ring, you probably want it to sparkle like crazy. In that case, we recommend focusing on diamond cut quality more than clarity.

The superior sparkle factor of a Hearts and Arrows diamond will show up from across the room. In contrast, most people cannot see a difference in clarity beyond a few inches.

Although that may be true, we recommend a minimum clarity of VS-2 if you want the diamond to face-up eye-clean. Conversely, that doesn't mean you can't choose an SI2 clarity diamond if you prefer.

Please use our Diamond Concierge Service if you want us to look over the details. We can also help you search for diamonds that meet our strict selection criteria regardless of clarity, color, or carat weight.

Nice Ice Blueprint™

The Nice Ice® Blueprint™.

Super Charge Your Diamond Buying Skills:

Follow the Steps in The Nice Ice® Diamond Buying Blueprint™ and Unlock the Secret for Maximizing Sparkle Factor and Light Performance. These are the Tips & Tricks from the back office of Nice Ice Diamonds.