What diamond clarity grade should I buy?

We analyzed the 70000+ engagement rings in James Allen’s diamond inspiration gallery to determine what diamond clarity people buy in practice. Clarity choice is influenced by two main factors: 1) natural or lab-created diamond and 2) shape.

Natural Diamonds

The most popular clarity grade for each diamond shape is shown in the table below. VS1 clarity was most popular for round, cushion, radiant, and princess diamonds. VS2 clarity was most popular for oval, pear, and marquise diamonds. VVS2 clarity was most popular for emerald and Asscher diamonds (people bought higher clarity for step cut vs. brilliant cut).

VS1 clarity is typically a safe choice, but may be unnecessary. Remember that you’re viewing highly magnified videos when buying online – an SI1 or VS2 that’s clean to the naked eye can provide more value.

Most Popular Diamond Clarity Grade by Shape
Shape Clarity
Round VS1
Cushion VS1
Radiant VS1
Princess VS1
Oval VS2
Pear VS2
Marquise VS2
Heart SI1
Emerald VVS2
Asscher VVS2

The full distribution of clarity grades for each shape is shown in the figure below.

Lab-Created Diamonds

James Allen only started selling lab-created diamonds in the second half of 2019, so there isn’t a large enough sample size to analyze lab diamond clarity stratified by shape. The overall distribution of lab diamond clarity grades is shown in the figure below. VS1 is the most popular lab diamond clarity grade.

Lab diamond inclusions are different from natural diamonds. Black graphitic inclusions in CVD diamonds and black flux inclusions in HPHT diamonds are easier to see due to their higher contrast. Finding eye-clean inclusions in the lower clarity grade lab diamonds may take more effort.