When diamonds are appraised, professional appraisers rely on the “four Cs” which are color, cut, clarity, and carat weight to provide a value estimate. Color and clarity are perhaps the most important aspects of selecting a quality diamond and they also directly impact the actual value of the gemstone.
Unlike cut and carat, these two concepts are fairly easy to grasp. Due to their visual appeal and nature, clarity and cut are seemingly straightforward and even novice shoppers can see them in action.
Before anyone chooses to invest in a diamond, it is important to understand the color and clarity of the piece; below are some facts about the overall process.
The Basics Of Diamond Color
The color of a diamond is graded based on the visibility of coloration present within the gemstone. An expensive and highly graded diamond is clear and free of any other coloration, however, lower grade diamonds may contain a yellowish hue visible under certain lighting conditions. Certain diamonds are actually sought after due to their unique coloration such as pink, black, and yellow, and in these instances, their value is graded differently.
Diamond Color Grades
The highest quality colorless diamonds are given the best grade possible, which is a D. The letters H and I are reserved for diamonds containing minute coloration that are hardly visible to the naked eye. Lastly, grades N to Z are reserved for diamonds that have flawed coloration and their appearance is marred by the presence of added colors.
Basics Of Diamond Clarity
Clarity grades are assigned for the purpose of understanding whether a diamond has naturally occurring flaws or inclusions, and if so, how they impact clarity levels. Blemishes are external flaws while inclusions are internal flaws present in diamonds. Virtually no diamonds exist without inclusions or flaws, but ones that have limited issues will carry a hefty price tag.
Assigned Diamond Clarity Grades
Diamonds that are graded F will contain no inclusions or flaws, while IF is more commonly assigned to gemstones that have very small blemishes without inclusions. VVS and VS graded diamonds do contain blemishes, but they are virtually unseen by the naked eye and high power magnification is necessary to see these flaws. Lastly, I1-3 is reserved for the lowest quality diamonds that have visible inclusions and a murky coloring in comparison to their more expensive counterparts.
How To Get The Best Value
Clarity significantly impacts the price of a diamond, while color has actually very little to do with the final price tag. If comparing two diamonds that are virtually alike in every aspect except one is graded VVS1 and the other SI1, the prices will significantly vary and many shoppers will feel surprised. The best value diamonds are often those with grades of SI1 or SI2, although emerald cut shapes, for example, require a higher clarity grade as their internal flaws are exposed.
When selecting from a budget friendly color grade, G-I offers fantastic value and though some coloration is present within these gemstones, they are once again very limited to the untrained eye.
It is always important to deal with a reputable diamond seller and ensure that the gemstones were responsibly sourced. There are many jewelry stores, online and offline, that sell diamonds in varying grades, settings, and designs, but doing comparison shopping ensures optimum value.
Though secondhand sources will offer great deals, they are not often reputable and some dealers are unscrupulous about their grading methods. When choosing to invest in diamonds, it is important to select a piece that satisfies a higher color and clarity grade versus a celebrity design.