How important is diamond clarity?
Should you worry about clarity?
Well, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best), I would give clarity a rating of 4.
Only a 4?
The reason I give clarity a 4 is based upon some strong key points:
- Anything SI1 or higher in clarity basically looks the same to the bare eye
- Out of the 4C’s, clarity affects the beauty of the diamond the least
Let me explain…
Most clarities look the same:
Any diamond in the SI1 clarity range or higher; FL, IF, VVS, and VS, all have one thing in common; the inclusions are microscopic only.
You will not see any inclusions, dark spots, lines, clouds, or pinpoints with the unaided eye. You’ll need to view the diamond under 10x magnification (with a microscope or a 10x jeweler’s loupe) in order to see any flaws.
Which means, it will be difficult to tell the difference between these diamonds just by looking at them.
You can place an SI1 clarity diamond next to a flawless diamond and I would wager that you could not tell the difference. I know, I’ve tested this out with customers before, and I’ve even wrote a whole post about it: SI1 versus flawless clarity). You can’t tell.
Now, under a microscope or jeweler’s loupe, sure, you’ll see a difference. But how many times are you really going to microscope your diamond?
As long as you purchase an SI1 clarity or higher, no one will know. You could tell them your diamond was flawless and they would believe you (unless they scoped it).
And this is a big but, you must make sure the diamond is certified. Anything SI1 or higher must be certified to guarantee quality. I recommend GIA certification, like these diamonds here. GIA is the best in the industry. They wrote the book on diamonds and diamond grading.
Clarity affects diamond beauty the least:
Most people feel clarity is of utmost importance. A lot of jeweler’s tend to push clarity more than anything (I believe it’s because it’s an easy C to explain. People get it). But, like I just pointed out, unless you microscope the diamond, you won’t see any difference.
The beauty of a diamond is usually only affected by clarity if the clarity is low (like I clarity diamonds).
If you buy an I clarity diamond (I1, I2, or I3) that has a lot of black spots (that look like pepper) in the stone, or if the stone is cracked, fractured, or cloudy, then sure, clarity will overpower beauty.
But if you read my posts enough, you’ll know that I do not recommend buying any diamond lower than an SI1 in clarity (SI2 clarity is questionable – SI3’s don’t exist).
If you stick with SI1, beauty will not be an issue.
Beauty is determined more by:
- How much fire and brilliance is in the stone
- How white the stone is
These two areas are ruled by cut and color. They help give a diamond its stunning beauty and sparkle.
If a diamond is cut well, like an ideal cuts or close to it, it will maximize the diamond with both brilliance and fire (flashes of white light and flashes of colored light). If the stone is cut poorly, the diamond will leak light and look dull, dark and lifeless.
Color affects the beauty of a diamond because a white color always looks brighter.
If a diamond has a yellow cast to it, or even a brown cast (J color or lower), then a diamond will give the appearance that it’s stained, dark, dirty, or old.
That’s why I recommend buying a diamond with a color no less than G or H (I color is Iffy, some look white, some look slightly off white, or even yellow.)
Buying a diamond with a G-H color or higher can really add a brightness and whiteness to your stone. A white stone will make it stand out and ‘POP’ in the mounting. You’d be surprised how much color can change the look and feel of a diamond.
On a scale of 1-10:
Cut = 9/10
Color = 7/10
Find a cut that’s close to ideal cut (stones that get an “excellent” grade by GIA), and it will have great shine.
Choose a color that’s fine white (G or H) or pure white (D, E, or F) and your diamond will look stunning (my favorite is E-F color). Read more: E-F colorless diamonds.
Lastly, pick a clarity that’s SI1 or higher.
These pointers will give your diamond tons of sparkle, brilliance, and fire. Not to mention beauty.
All the things that give a diamond life.
What more could you ask for?