If you’ve read Diamonds.pro article, Eye-Clean Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know, then you may already agree that they leave a LOT out.
But in this article of mine here, you really DO get everything you need to know.
- You’ll have a complete understanding of eye-clean diamonds.
- Even better, you’ll know exactly how to find them — fast.
- AND you’ll know exactly how to save the maximum amount of money in shopping for eye-clean diamonds — while you get a diamond that looks to have perfect clarity when worn on your beloved’s finger.
What Are Eye Clean Diamonds?
A eye-clean diamond is one that looks perfectly clear of any flaws when it is:
- Mounted on a ring.
- And the ring is worn on a finger.
- And the finger is an arm’s length away from your eyes.
Meaning: not held up close to your eyes. Not looked at through a magnifying glass. Or certainly not looked at through a jeweler’s loupe.
In other words, you can’t see any flaws in the diamond from that far away (arm’s length) when mounted on a ring and worn on a finger.
How Do Eye Clean Diamonds Save You Money?
A few people really like to look at their diamonds close up. They use jeweler’s loupes to see completely and deeply into their diamonds. And when you do that with virtually any diamond, you will see many flaws.
People who enjoy that will pay much more money to buy a diamond which has fewer flaws.
But most people don’t look at diamonds through jeweler’s loupes, except when shopping for them. Many don’t, even when shopping.
Most people look at a clarity score of a diamond and hardly know what it means. They look at the labels and think, “I should get her something not too flawed. I’ll do my best, with my budget.”
A few people with plenty of money (or credit) will even shell out a ton of money to get a diamond graded as FL (Flawless).
It makes them feel good. And why not, if that’s what they like. Knowing you have a flawless diamond is awesome for those people, even if no one (not even themselves) can actually see the difference when the diamond is worn on a ring, on a finger, at arm’s length.
Which brings us to me, and you most likely
I — and you? — and most people for sure, are satisfied with a diamond that looks flawless as it’s seen in the real, everyday social world — at arm’s length, worn on a finger.
We know this truth: “Who cares about flaws that you can’t see in normal circumstances?”
The Goal When Shopping for an Eye Clean Diamond
Why do people shop for eye clean diamonds? Simple: because those invisible flaws bring the price down. That means you can afford a better cut quality. Or a larger diamond. Or a better color grade.
The goal is to find a diamond that satisfies these two criteria:
- It should have as many flaws as possible (because that lowers the price)
- But those flaws should be invisible when mounted on a ring, worn on a finger, and viewed from arm’s length away
That sounds complicated. Or tricky. Mysterious.
In practice, it’s very simple. But only if you know the dead simple system I’m about to explain clearly.
The Best Info-Graphic on Eye Clean Diamonds: Your Key to Saving Tons of Money
This info graphic explains it all, even though it’s not terribly sophisticated as info graphics go:
Those in the red box on the LEFT are ALL eye clean! The flaws are ALL invisible at arm’s length in ALL the diamonds in that group.
The diamonds in the red box on the RIGHT are so full of ugly flaws, there’s virtually NONE that are eye-clean. At arm’s length, mounted on a ring and worn on a finger, they still show flaws. So, forget about finding eye clean diamonds there.
The savings are found in the middle group, the green-boxed group. There are enough flaws there to lower the price. Some diamonds in this group are eye clean, and some aren’t. Those that ARE eye clean are good bargains.
The flaws of some SI1 and SI2 result in a clarity grade of well, SI1 or SI2. This lowers their prices.
Gemologist diamond-graders don’t care WHERE the flaws are or HOW VISIBLE they are. Any flaw counts against the clarity grade (and thus lowers the price). That’s true even if it’s unobtrusive and / or located in a hidden part of the diamond (under where a prong will go, for example).
1 – Start with the clarity score
If you want an eye-clean diamond without any searching, then your solution is easy. Just choose a VS2 clarity diamond. The GIA and AGS say that VS2-and-higher clarity grades are always eye clean. (See the third short paragraph on that short article.)
VS2 is the lowest clarity score that is still considered automatically eye clean. Because VS2 diamonds have the lowest such clarity score, they also have the lowest prices of diamonds that are considered automatically eye clean. Boom, you could be DONE.
On the other hand, if you want to save even more money, look in SI1 and SI2. When you find an eye clean SI2 or SI1 diamond, you’ll get a diamond that looks flawless in the real world, but at a reduced price. (See the clarity chart on this page to grasp this quickly.)
But please note: just because a diamond seller calls a diamond VS2 doesn’t mean it meets the GIA or AGS standards for VS2. Always insist on seeing the diamond certificate (specifically a GIA or IGI or AGS diamond certificate) of any VS2 diamond you’re buying. Otherwise, you could get something far worse than you expect for VS2.
2 – Reject ANY diamonds with these flaws:
Examine the diamond in real photos / images / animated video at James Allen, Blue Nile, or other places that have such technology. If a flaw is dark, close to the top, and centered near the top, reject it. Keep looking until you find a diamond whose flaws aren’t easily visible unless you really look hard, turning it this way and that.
You’ll have to use your judgment. And you could be wrong. Anyone could. (The only way to know for 100% sure is to observe the diamond mounted on a ring, worn on a finger, at arm’s length. But with a little experience you can be almost 100% sure, even just observing the diamonds using the imaging technology at James Allen or Blue Nile, etc.
3 – Look for diamonds with these kinds of flaws:
Flaws that are light, or small, or scattered, and wispy … and that are quite deep, and / or quite far from the center, are the ones that should be ok. (Check out my live, ready-to-purchase examples, some of which are linked here and here. Even though you won’t purchase most of them, you’ll see clear examples of what I consider to be SI1 eye clean and rarely SI2 eye clean diamonds.)
4 – Choose the lowest clarity score / clarity grade eye-clean diamond you can
For one thing (already discussed), never go higher than VS2. All VS2 diamonds are considered to be eye clean by the GIA and the AGS.
So, if you’re shopping for eye clean diamonds in order to maximize carat size or cut quality with your available budget, there’s no need EVER to spend more money for a clarity score higher than VS2.
Next, to supersize your savings, find an SI2 eye clean diamonds. That’s HARD. I won’t lie. It’s doable but not easy. And may not be worth it, depending on the savings. (You can see how I calculate those savings with each example of eye clean diamonds on this page.
(Note that you can’t trust just any lab’s grade of VS2 to be eye clean. You have to trust a GIA-graded clarity score or an AGS graded clarity score. Diamonds with VS2 grades from other labs might be eye-clean. But they might not. They might have looser standards than the GIA or AGS.)
5 – You may want to focus on this specific clarity score, to most efficiently find eye clean diamonds
The sweet spot for savings, and finding eye-clean diamonds without spending days, is SI1 clarity score / clarity grade. (GIA or AGS are the most trustworthy. But IGI is also trustworthy.)
6 – Finally, examine the diamond in person to be sure it’s eye clean
You can be mostly sure examining it online. But the only way to 100% sure you don’t see flaws on a diamond which is: mounted on a ring, worn on a finger, and viewed at arm’s length, is to do all those three things.
You can’t really do that without purchasing it, unless you go to a local jeweler. (And you’ll terribly overpay no matter what you buy, at a brick and mortar store. Sorry locals, but it’s just true, you can see, comparing the selection and prices at James Allen, Blue Nile, etc., with local stores.)
So you’ll need to purchase it, and receive it shipped to you, and then examine it while wearing it on a finger at arm’s length.
That’s not scary. At all. As long as you buy from a reputable retailer who lets you return it if you don’t want it. Always buy from a diamond retailer which offers a solid return policy, such as James Allen. See the iron-clad James Allen return policy for yourself.
What are some current, ready-to-buy examples of eye clean diamonds?
Very few people maintain public lists of eye clean diamonds, ready-to-buy. Here’s the best ones I know of:
- The best eye-clean diamond examples I found at James Allen and sometimes other stores
- Examples of eye clean diamonds and what to avoid
(Even if I do say so myself.)
The truth is, most diamond bloggers just want to put up evergreen content. They settle for giving you generic examples of eye clean diamonds. That’s lame. I like to cover the market as it exists day by day.
Note that seldom you’ll find that a link of mine goes to an already-sold diamond. It does happen. But I clear those links out as soon as I notice the next day. And if I can find an equivalent eye clean diamond to replace them with, I do.