Diamond Buying Guide: What’s More Important Diamond Color or Clarity?

by Nicole in , Comment — Updated November 14, 2023

When shopping for a diamond, color and clarity are the two characteristics you will need to pay the most attention to. But is it possible that one of them could hold more importance compared to the other during the selection process? The following is a deeper look at when to focus on color, and when to shift the focus to clarity.

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How Does Color Affect the Appearance of a Diamond?

According to the Pricescope Diamond forum, an independent source of information for diamonds and jewelry, the GIA and AGS certification grades diamond based on charts. For GIA certification, diamond color grading occurs according to a letter scale. Here, D is the top grade and is used to signify that a diamond is indeed colorless.

The lower a diamond is graded on this chart, the more tinted it will appear.

Stones that have been graded K or even lower on the GIA grading chart are those containing a slight yellow coloring. The yellow tint will continue to become more noticeable as you continue to proceed down the grading chart.

In What Way Does Clarity Affect Diamond’s Look?

The clarity in the diamond world refers to the number of inclusions (internal flaws) as well as the overall number of imperfections contained in a diamond. It’s also worth noting that clarity in this case also refers to the surface imperfections on the diamond, as well as how visible they become once placed under a magnification lens.

In the clarity grade, FL (Flawless) is the highest grade and is given to stones that don’t contain any internal flaws, even when observed using a 10X loupe. If looking at a stone with a low clarity grade, you can expect to see imperfections such as lines or black spots inside the diamond.

What Affects Diamond Brilliance the Most: Color or Clarity?

For a diamond, its brilliance is perhaps its most significant attribute. The intensity of a diamond’s brilliance is often influenced by the diamond cut. While color and clarity don’t have a direct effect on brilliance, they are known to greatly contribute to its overall visual appeal.

Even though the color will by itself not diminish or increase brilliance, a colorless diamond tends to appear livelier, brighter, and whiter.

For clarity, the lack of or absence of flaws does help to add to its impression. This is what makes it appear sparkling clean, even when observed using the naked eye.

When Is Color More Important?

There are instances when it makes more sense to opt for a high-grade color at the expense of top clarity. A good example is when one intends to place the stone in a white setting. In such a scenario, it will be vital to ensure the diamond doesn’t contain any noticeable tints.

When Clarity Matters More

Clarity will typically begin to matter more when it’s deemed to be too low. When using the naked eye, you won’t notice much difference between the diamonds in the FL and IF grades as well as those in the VS1 and VS2 clarity grades.

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The 4Cs are of the utmost importance when buying a diamond. However, you shouldn’t choose to place too much concentration on carat (size) at the expense of clarity. Clarity is important during the selection process as it will also have a direct impact on the price tag and light performance.

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