Clarity is a little more complicated. I chose a VS1 because I was fairly nervous of buying online. Here in the UK the diamonds in high street jewellers are often poor quality. Living in Scotland I didn’t have access to London jewellers or the Birmingham Diamond Quarter and no one I knew had bought online. In addition I had also had a bad experience with Blue Nile. Blue Nile sell diamonds at reasonable prices but are ‘ship drop’ diamond merchants. This means that they grade diamonds depending on certification and cut angles (depth, table percentage etc.) but they don’t actually see the diamonds. The diamonds are in vaults around the world but are on the Blue Nile database. Certification and cut angles etc are a really good guide and increase the likelyhood of obtaining a great diamond but are not a guarantee of a great diamond. Unfortunately the diamond I received was really sparkly around the edges but dull and dark in the middle due to lack of internal symmetry.
So I tried Whiteflash instead because the company also had gemologists who would examine the stones. I would have been okay with an H VS2 but at the time they didn’t have any in stock so I went for G VS1 instead. I have to say that although the received wisdom is that you should be able to see flaws under x10 magnification I have tried and I can’t see any flaws at all.
If I had to advise someone knowing what I now know I would suggest that people go for ‘eyeclean’ which means that you simply cannot see the flaws under normal viewing. This might be VS1, VS2, S1 or S2 depending on type of flaw, position of flaw and cut of stone.
I believe that white flaws (feathers, crystal misalignment) don’t show up as much as black dots (specks of carbon).
A flaw near the edge (providing it isn’t actually at the edge and likely to cause structural problems in the stone) is going to be less obtrusive than one right in the middle of the table. In addition such a flaw, even if visible, could be covered by a prong so that it isn’t visible.
In general, cuts with lots of facets such as a round brilliant cut don’t show flaws as easily as ones with fewer facets such as an emerald cut.
So, have you and I wasted money in choosing a diamond with a higher clarity. Well the answer is possibly yes and possibly no.
With an astute gemologist on board we could have chosen a cheaper stone, an S2 and maybe even an I1, where the flaws were of a particular type and position in a cut with lots of facets so that they were not visible under the naked eye. The diamond would look just as clear as a IF diamond.
In addition, who says that flaws are a bad thing? The answer is the diamond industry. I have to say that perfection is over-rated. Maybe a pretty stone with a feather pattern at the edge is prettier than a pretty stone without it?
However, maybe you have got the right stone for you. I’ve heard on this site and others of people upgrading their stone in terms of size, colour, clarity and even cut, and then quickly realising that they preferred their original stone. Why does this happen?
While high street jewellers try to bamboozle their customers into thinking that colour and clarity are all important, online jewellers try to bamboozle their customers into thinking that all excellent cut diamonds (and even all excellent cut H&A diamonds) look the same. Well the truth is that they don’t. Tiny changes in cut angle (hundredths of a degree) change the facet and sparkle pattern, just like a small change can dramatically alter a kaleidoscope pattern.
So if you like, or even love, your diamond you haven’t wasted your money. Diamonds are a poor financial investment and are only crystallised carbon. But their worth is in the amount of pleasure that they give you. You may well have hit lucky and have the most beautiful diamond in the world on your finger. So don’t worry about cost or value for money or whether or not you have got a good deal. Just thoroughly enjoy your diamond.