Where does si1 stand on the diamond quality scale

Slightly Included diamonds with a clarity grade of 5, 6, or 7 (SI1 or SI2) have noticeable inclusions that are fairly easy to see under 10x magnification. Sometimes, these inclusions can be visible to the unaided eye.

Because diamonds formed deep within the earth, under extreme heat and pressure, they often contain unique birthmarks, either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes).

Diamond clarity refers to the absence of these inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds without these birthmarks are rare, and rarity affects a diamond’s value. Using the GIA International Diamond Grading System™, diamonds are assigned a clarity grade that ranges from flawless (FL) to diamonds with obvious inclusions (I3).

Every diamond is unique. None is absolutely perfect under 10× magnification, though some come close. Known as Flawless diamonds, these are exceptionally rare. Most jewelers have never even seen one.

The GIA Clarity Scale contains 11 grades, with most diamonds falling into the VS (very slightly included) or SI (slightly included) categories. In determining a clarity grade, the GIA system considers the size, nature, position, color or relief, and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10× magnification.

Flawless (FL) - No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
Internally Flawless (IF) - No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) - Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) - Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification
Included (I1, I2, and I3) - Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance

Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but with the dizzying array of natural diamond types, synthetic diamonds and convincing costume-jewelry fakes on the market today, how does a smart shopper choose?

Natural versus lab-grown, crystal-clear or colored -- even cubic zirconia is getting some respect. The choices are vast, and there's likely a stone for nearly any buyer with any budget. The one thing you can do wrong is head down to the jewelry store with no plan.

So, whether you have your sights set on a wedding or just some bling, get started on your hunt with this special diamond-buyer’s guide shared by Bankrate.com.

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