Diamonds aren’t just meant for engagement rings. People often forget that they can also be set in other types of jewelry, such as earrings.
When buying diamonds for your earrings, some people are restricted by their budget and search for less expensive stones. Since I1 diamonds are less costly stones, some people may wonder: Are I1 diamonds good for earrings?
While they showcase internal flaws, I1 diamonds are budget-friendly options that many people find value in – but what are I1 diamonds, though?
We’ve covered everything you need to know about I1 diamonds in this article. So, be sure to read it until the end before you decide to buy I1 diamonds for your earrings!
What Are I1 Diamonds?
If you aren’t familiar with diamond clarity grades, the clarity dictates how many internal flaws are within the stone – and how big they are. And the fewer inclusions, the clearer the stone; it’s that simple.
The primary grades used by most gemological labs are as follows:
- IF and Fl (Internally Flawless and Flawless) – These stones have virtually no internal flaws, even when observed under x10 magnification.
- VVS1 and VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included) – These diamonds have some minor internal flaws that can only be detected with magnification but are undetectable by the naked eye.
- VS1 and VS2 (Very Slightly Included) – Diamonds with this grade also have minor inclusions. While these are usually invisible to the naked eye, they’re easier to detect with magnification.
- SI1 and SI2 (Slightly Included) – These stones have more internal flaws, which are also larger. Whether they’re noticeable to the naked eye is based on their position within the diamond and their color.
- I1, I2, and I3 (Included) – Diamonds with these grades have numerous, larger inclusions that are usually visible to the naked eye.
Related Read: Diamond Inclusions: What Are Inclusions In Diamonds?
So, as you can see, diamonds with I1 clarity grade are at the bottom of the scale. The question is: Should you avoid these?
Well, the color of internal flaws – or their location within the diamonds – isn’t part of the grading method.
That is a significant aspect to bear in mind: There is a big difference between a colorless internal flaw positioned more towards the edge of the stone and a dark inclusion located in the center of the diamond.
The latter will be visible, while the former may remain invisible – even to a trained professional.
Since each following clarity upgrade on the scale generally comes with a notable price increase, looking for eye-clean diamonds among lower clarity grades is a great way to save some money – and maybe use it to increase one of the remaining diamond C’s.
Can I1 Diamonds Be Eye-Clean?
Now, this is a common question that a lot of people ask when considering I1 clarity diamonds. VS2, SI1, and S2 clarity diamonds are considered the best option for budget-friendly, eye-clean stones. Why?
Well, it’s somewhat easy to find an affordable SI2 diamond that is almost eye-clean.
However, does this include I1 diamonds, as well?
One of the main qualities of I1 diamonds is that their internal flaws are so high in number and so prominent that they impact the diamond’s brilliance and overall appearance.
But it’s still possible to find I1 diamonds that have colorless inclusions that match the diamond’s shape and color so well that they remain nearly invisible to the naked eye.
So, would we recommend you go for I1 clarity diamonds instead of VS2, SI1, or SI2 diamonds? After all, they are less expensive, right?
Well, admittedly, finding an I1 clarity diamond that’s completely eye-clean would be such a huge jackpot that a lot of people would purchase it based on that alone. On the other hand, that’s kind of the problem.
You see, eye-clean I1 diamonds are so rare that searching for them could be a time-consuming endeavor. After all, why spend several hours looking for a slightly less expensive stone?
Time is money, too.
Due to the sheer rarity of I1 eye-clean diamonds, we would recommend you to stick to VS2, SI1, or SI2 diamonds when looking for budget-friendly stones that are eye-clean.
Nevertheless, if you’re searching for a cheaper gem that’s close to being eye-clean, an I1 clarity diamond is an excellent option to consider.
I1 Diamonds And Shapes
Are there specific diamond shapes that are able to cover inclusions of an I1 diamond better than others? Well, this is, for the most part, a case-by-case question.
The shape, color, and cut of a diamond can undoubtedly make its internal flaws more noticeable or harder to notice. However, there isn’t one shape that’s best for achieving that.
Whatever shape of a diamond you’re looking for, finding an eye-clean I1 diamond in that shape will be a challenge.
With that being said, round brilliant cut and princess cut diamonds may be a better choice when it comes to I1 stones, simply because there’s more of them on the market.
The Value Of An I1 Diamond
In terms of value that the diamond industry assigns to I1 diamonds, it isn’t very high. Ultimately, they’re positioned at the lower end of the clarity scale of diamonds.
Interestingly enough, you could say that I1 diamonds that are eye-clean are “highly valued” by many buyers just because they’re so rare – and due to their price being so affordable, of course.
Still, they are diamonds – it’s not like they lack any actual value. When placed in the right jewelry setting and with the right ornamentation around it, the I1 diamond’s internal flaws can be hidden for the most part.
That makes I1 diamonds ideal for jewelry designs and types that won’t emphasize the stone’s clarity too much. I1 diamonds are also perfect as side stones or with tiny melee diamonds.
Any bracelet, necklace, earring, or even ring with a heavily decorated design that doesn’t put its stones front and center is an excellent option for an I1 diamond.
Otherwise, we’d suggest a higher clarity grade – especially for ring settings meant to exhibit the diamond’s clarity.
Related Read: Diamond Earring Setting Types: Options To Consider
The Importance Of Seeing The Diamond Clearly
Diamonds with inclusions are a perfect example of why it’s essential to see the stone in person before buying it.
There are several online stores that have excellent HD pictures and video representations of their diamonds – in those cases, you can be sure that what you see is what you’re going to get.
Whether you’re buying the stone online or in person, it’s crucial to know how to purchase an I1 diamond. Yes, in both options, you can – and you should – view the diamond’s certification and any graphics that feature its cut, dimensions, and even those that accent its flaws.
It’s also imperative to take a good look at the whole stone under magnification. That is one thing that many people skip when purchasing a diamond in person – most likely because they don’t want to bother the seller.
They’re selling a diamond to you, though. You’re free to ask questions!
However, the opposite is even more vital – to view the diamond with the naked eye in its actual size. That’s something that many people forget to do when they shop for diamonds online; they just look at the diamond’s magnified images.
Seeing how the diamond looks in real life and its actual size is critical when determining its visual quality and appearance.
Purchasing An I1 Diamond
If you’re determined to purchase an I1 clarity stone, follow these tips and consult with a diamond expert before making a purchase!
For a lower clarity diamond such as I1, pay special attention to who grades it as some grading labs have different grading standards than others.
Be sure to select the grading labs with the strictest standards, such as GIA or AGS.
Reports from other laboratories may lead you to buy even riskier stones, graded as I1 but less likely to be eye-clean and more vulnerable to damage on top of that. These stones would most likely get a grade of I2 or I3 from the GIA.
Types Of Clarity Features
Your diamond might have numerous different kinds of clarity features.
Most are mineral inclusions that grow within the stone, but there are also growth features such as twining planes, surface imperfections, or internal cracks.
Clarity features that are visible the most are mineral inclusions. Often black, they can be pretty big in an I1 diamond. Of course, a large dark spot in a colorless diamond will stand out.
If you want to find an close to eye-clean I1 diamond, be sure to avoid any stone that has large mineral inclusions.
Location Of Clarity Features
The location of these clarity features also impacts their visibility – and, thus, diamond’s clarity. An extensive internal flaw at the center of the stone will be far more visible than a few more minor flaws near the diamond’s edges.
In addition, the exact position of an internal flaw in the diamond can make a massive difference to its structural durability. For example, a surface-reaching fracture drastically increases the risk of damage because the diamond is weaker at that point.
If you knock the stone against a hard surface at the right angle, it could potentially break.
If you want to purchase a diamond shape with corners, be sure to avoid any internal flaws in these areas. Corners in pear, princess, marquise, and heart shapes are already vulnerable to damage – defects in these locations increase the risk.
Reading A Clarity Chart
To understand the different types and positions of the flaws within a diamond, you’ll have to look at the clarity chart on the diamond grading report.
That will showcase a diagram of the diamond’s bottom and top views with marks indicating the flaws. A legend shows you what each mark means.
This clarity chart will help determine if any of these internal flaws are particularly big or reach the diamond’s surface. Pay extra attention to the inclusions near the diamond’s girdle; these pose a serious durability issue.
Sometimes, you might notice inclusions when you look at a diamond that doesn’t appear to be on the clarity chart. Chances are, these aren’t inclusions – but, in fact, reflections of inclusions.
Since diamond’s facets act as a set of mirrors, they’ll reflect internal flaws in some cases. That can make one dark spot appear like a dozen.
When you hold the stone, turn it so that you can see reflections appear and disappear at certain angles. But if you’re shopping online, be sure to use video or other viewing tools that the seller provides so that you can examine the stone.
Since reflections of inclusions make the entire diamond look darker, we recommend you avoid any stones that showcase these reflections of inclusions.
When shopping for anything, sometimes, you should take a step back to gain perspective. That applies to shopping for diamonds, as well.
The magnified images provided by online shops are essential for determining the stone’s clarity.
However, zooming out of these magnified images will aid you in judging if the clarity features are noticeable from an average viewing distance – around 5 to 6 inches at least.
To do this in an online shop, first look at the magnified image and identify any flaws. Then, make a note of the biggest and most visible ones as well as when they’re most noticeable.
Then zoom out until the stone is about the size it would be on your hand. Can you still see the most prominent inclusions?
Zoom in and out several times to confirm it. If the internal flaws remain noticeable, the gem isn’t eye-clean.
Conversely, the diamond may actually be eye-clean if you lose track of the inclusion. Be sure to check with the in-house diamond experts to verify this – after all, they’re trained to detect these flaws.
So to wrap things up – are I1 diamonds good for earrings?
While diamonds with fewer internal flaws are rarer, thus, more expensive, I1 diamonds provide a budget-friendly aspect – and that’s their most significant advantage.
Generally, any diamond with a grade above SI2 will feature eye-clean inclusions, while I1 gems, in most cases, have visible inclusions. However, I1 diamonds are a great option if you’re looking for a less expensive diamond.
Ultimately, when shopping for diamond earrings, clarity doesn’t matter that much since people hardly ever get close to the earrings – meaning they won’t get a good look at them.
Plus, with diamond studs, the diamonds are under 0.5 carats each in most cases. That means, even if someone does get close enough, the diamonds are so small that there won’t be much to notice.
So, if you’re looking to buy diamond earrings, I1 diamonds are a great value choice.
Related Read: How to Tell if Diamond Earrings Are Real or Fake?