I1 diamonds come on the low end of the Clarity scale. Clarity refers to the blemishes and inclusions present within the stone. Third-party labs, just like the GIA, give out clarity grades once they issue a report for a diamond. For I1 diamonds, you’ll easily see imperfections with 10X magnification and with the naked eye.
In general, we recommend 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 because it travels through the diamond, making it dull. Obvious imperfections also detract from the wonder of the diamond, because your eye is drawn to the blemish.
Instead, we recommend going for a clarity grade like VS2 or SI1, because you’ll get an eye-clean diamond but pay far but you’d for a VVS or an FL diamond. You’ll still save your budget and may spend more on the aspect that almost all greatly impacts a diamond’s beauty: Cut quality.
Learn more about I1 diamonds, why you must avoid them, and which Clarity grades you must choose instead.
What is an I1 Clarity Diamond?
An I1 diamond is included to the first degree—meaning it’s noticeable inclusions under a typical jeweler’s loupe at 10X magnification. I1 inclusions also are nearly always visible to the naked eye, making them not eye-clean diamonds.
For step cut diamonds in particular—Asscher, Emerald Cuts, and Baguettes—the imperfections in I1 diamonds are so obvious that they’re rarely produced. Diamond shapes just like the Oval-Cut and Cushion Cut hide inclusions well, so occasionally, you’ll find an honest I1 diamond, but it’s still probably not eye-clean.
You’d need to look around many diamonds to seek out an eye-clean I1. If the inclusions are opened up across the diamond, they will be less noticeable, or the ring setting may cover them.
Besides impacting the diamond’s beauty, larger inclusions can cause a but durable diamond. It runs the danger of chipping easier because the stone’s composition isn’t as sturdy.
To review I1 diamonds—or any diamond for that matter—you need magnified photos offered by a high-quality vendor like James Allen. Still, it is often difficult to determine if a diamond is eye-clean. You’ll ask an expert to assist you in reviewing the diamond.
3 Tricks To Look At For With I1 Diamonds
Even though I1 diamonds have visible inclusions, some jewelers might attempt to get you to shop for one. Here are three selling tricks to observe for.
They tell you an I1 diamond is eye-clean.
From our decades of experience, we all know that an I1 diamond won’t be eye-clean unless it’s under 0.5 Carat. Any larger diamond won’t be eye-clean at an I1 grade, because the larger the stone, the better it’s to see imperfections. There could be a couple of exceptions to the present, but they’re hard to search out.
They Show You A Clean Clarity Plot.
A clarity plot maybe a map of all the blemishes and inclusions during a diamond. Because an I1 grade means the diamond is included, it’s a red flag if the clarity plot doesn’t show any imperfections. You can’t trust the certificate or the jeweler or search for the reason (e.g., comments like “Clarity supported clouds that aren’t shown”).
They Tell You That A Clear Inclusion Doesn’t Matter.
While we all know Clarity isn’t the foremost important aspect of a diamond—Cut quality is—it still impacts a diamond’s beauty somewhat. A glaring blemish is an eyesore. It takes faraway from the wonder of the diamond. Large defects also impede light from traveling through the diamond, making it a duller stone. If a jeweler tries to convince you to shop for a diamond with a clear inclusion, it’s time to seem for a special jeweler.
You’ll also want to observe for jewelers that provide an SI3 clarity grade. This is often a red flag because the SI3 grade is employed by lab entities that aren’t reliable. You’ll find yourself with a diamond that lacks beauty and value.
To get the foremost out of your budget, choose an eye-clean diamond, but don’t pay quite you would like to. Typically, that’s a VS2 or SI1 diamond.
The Gia Diamond Clarity Scale
Before buying a diamond, make sure that it comes with a lab certificate. We only recommend an AGS or GIA certificate because they’re the foremost consistent and reliable.
The GIA grades diamond clarity from best to most critical:
Internally Flawless (IF)
Very Very Small Inclusions 1 (VVS1)
Very Very Small Inclusions 2 (VVS2)
Small Inclusions 1 (SI1)
Small Inclusions 2 (SI2)
Very Small Inclusions 1 (VS1)
Very Small Inclusions 2 (VS2)
Inclusions 1 (I1)
Inclusions 2 (I2)
As a diamond forms over billions of years, its structure pulls up small imperfections along the way. A diamond’s clarity grade depends on the size, type, and location of its formations and blemishes. Diamonds with bigger inclusions, more inclusions, and darker inclusions will have a lower grade. Professional gemologists check out each diamond under magnification to work out the grading.
Are I1 Diamonds Good Quality?
I1 diamonds aren’t an honest quality for the center stones of engagement rings. You’ll be ready to see imperfections that impact both the sweetness and brilliance of the stone.
As an example, this I1 round diamond halo ring shows a large inclusion within the upper right corner of the diamond’s table. Although the stone is well-cut and is graded with an H color, it’s not a smart buy, because the massive imperfection is so noticeable.
For smaller stones, just like the ones that line a pave band, or are featured as side stones, I1 diamonds are acceptable. In fact, there’s no reason to urge a better clarity grade for diamonds under 0.5 carat, because you won’t be ready to see the imperfections anyway.
Choosing I1 or maybe I2 diamonds for the little stones during a pave ring or a tennis bracelet may be a wise choice and can save your allow other qualities.
Should You Buy An I1 Diamond?
You shouldn’t buy an I1 diamond for the middle stone in an engagement ring. Instead, search for an eye-clean VS2, SI1, or SI2 diamond. In most cases, you’ll get an eye-clean diamond in these grades and won’t pay as much as you’d for higher grades, like VVS1 and VVS2.
The most excellent clarity grade depends on your diamond shape and carat weight. Follow our expert recommendations to urge the foremost value.
Round Cut and Princess Cut: choose a VS2 or SI1 clarity grade for an eye-clean stone. Sometimes an SI2 won’t have visible inclusions either. For big diamonds, a VS1 or VS2 gives you an eye-clean stone at a very low price.
Oval-Cut, Cushion Cut, Radiant Cut, Marquise, and Pear-Shaped: Inclusions are harder to ascertain in these shapes, so an SI1 or SI2 is typically still eye-clean.
Emerald-Cut, Asscher Cut, and Baguette: It’s easier to visualize imperfections in step-cut diamonds. Generally, a VS2 in these shapes gives you the simplest value.
Heart-Shaped Diamonds: A VS2 or SI1 is typically eye-clean because heart-shaped diamonds hide inclusions better than Round Cuts. But not also as shapes just like the Cushion-Cut and Marquise.
How Much Maybe a 1 Carat I1 Diamond Worth?
A 1 carat well-cut round diamond with G-I color and I1 Clarity can cost everywhere from approximately $2,100 to $3,500. Not every diamond vendor sells I1 diamonds, though, because the standard is so low.
Even though the worth of I1 diamonds is less than diamonds with a better clarity grade, we don’t suggest buying them. It’s better to pay a touch more to urge an eye-clean stone.
I1 Diamonds: an Unwise Choice
While certain jewelers and other diamond educators might attempt to convince you that an I1 diamond gives you the simplest value, the reality is: you ought to find an eye-clean stone.
It’s not worth paying slightly less for a diamond which will be dull and not-so-beautiful. Instead, choose a rather higher clarity grade to urge an eye-clean stone. You’ll still protect hundreds or thousands over a high clarity diamond.
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