There are four major factors that determine the quality of diamonds. These are known as 4Cs – cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. Out of those, people sometimes confuse color and clarity. Many shop without the right knowledge, and end up committing blunders. Therefore, it is essential to have a fair idea about such factors. Below are some of the basic tidbits regarding color and clarity in diamonds.
Colors in diamonds are a difficult thing to observe and determine for the untrained eye. Common people with a meager knowledge in diamonds find it difficult to tell apart a color grade that is a step above or below what they are looking for, unless they two stones held side-by-side. Sometimes even that is not enough to enable spotting the subtleties.
Furthermore, when you set a diamond within a ring and place it in a common lighting environment with a colored background, it only adds to the confusion. For example, a D graded diamond may appear colorless when compared to an H colored diamond when the two are compared in normal lighting conditions. This is especially true if they are compared side by side.
If you want to get the best quality diamond of the colorless type, choose one in the range of G to J. This is because colors are easier to detect in diamonds. It is advised to choose G to H diamonds for stones larger than 1 carat, and I to J for those lower than a carat. Once these diamonds are placed in a good diamond setting, they will appear very attractive. Besides, remember you need to remember to invest in clarity instead of color. It is the cut that counts as the most important factor in diamond brilliance. Cut determines the amount of light which gets reflected, and hence the level of brilliance that is imparted to any diamond.
The higher the number of facets, the larger the amount of light being reflected back. Besides, these also hide the color of the diamond. Therefore, it is best to choose among princess, round brilliant, emerald, and asscher cut diamond engagement rings if you are worried about the color.
If you want to get a budget-friendly diamond, it is better to prefer a yellow gold metal option, and a brilliant cut that falls within the K-L range. The yellow gold would match the color of the diamond plenty well.
Diamonds with fluorescence, and those falling in the D-F color range, are sold at 5-15% lower than those with no fluorescence. This is mainly because fluorescence is considered a defect. Furthermore, gemologists are able to detect this property only when the stone is exposed to a special kind of UV light, meaning it cannot be seen in most normal lighting settings.
Fluorescence is mainly found in a blue shade, which complements the blue color. Note that this can make the diamonds in the I-M color range appear one grade brighter. Due to this, I-M diamonds are available at higher prices if they have very strong or medium fluorescence.
All said, fluorescence should not influence the value of the diamond beyond a certain degree, as it has very little effect on the diamond’s overall appearance.
If you are completely against the presence of imperfections, even if you cannot detect them, then it is advisable to select VVS2 grade of clarity for diamond engagement ring styles. In fact, over 10% of all diamonds sold fall in this category. Note that the most commonly bought diamonds are of the VS1/VS2 clarity. These have the advantage of appearing completely flawless, and they cost much lower than actually flawless stones. More than half the diamonds in the market are in this range.
After these, the most popular diamonds fall under the SI1 range, in this, the inclusions are not relevant enough to alter the looks of the diamond. It is better for a normal observer to opt for this diamond range if they expect to be delivered the minimum standards of color and cut grade. Diamonds in this combination are usually beautiful and attractive. These display their imperfections only if you inspect them very closely. This is the case with the diamonds of SI2 grade. Among diamonds weighing more than 1 carat, choosing an SI2 will cost you half the price of a VS1 diamond. More than a third of all diamonds are included in the SI1-SI2 category.
If your top priority is price and size, you should choose I1. Though the inclusions might be visible to the untrained eye, they are more than compensated for in the size area. As observed with diamonds, it is easier to detect inclusions if they are larger. This is why clarity is crucial. For diamonds larger than 2 carats, the best option of clarity would be VS2 or higher. For diamonds of carat 1-2, grades of SI1 or higher will be devoid of inclusions detectable by casual eyes. Meanwhile, for diamonds under 1 carat, clarity deserves the least amount of importance among the 4Cs.