The Color and Clarity of Diamonds

Diamond color vs. Diamond clarity

lady wearing a diamond ringWhen it comes to buying the right diamond, there are basically four important criteria. These are called the 4C’s and were established by the GIA in the middle of the 20th century. Since then the GIA is also the number 1 authority when it comes to certificates for diamonds. The following four criteria are relevant: color, clarity, cut and carat. In the following article we will take a closer look at the first two of them and highlight which of the two factors should be paid more attention when buying diamonds. More about that on Your Diamond Teacher’s homepage.

Diamond color

The color of a diamond determines how white or how colorless it is. More colorless diamonds are more valuable, while diamonds with a yellow shade are less valuable. Exceptions exist in the form of colored diamonds, which have their own style through a strong hue and where it applies that the stronger the color is, the more valuable the diamond is. However, when looking for a matching diamond for an engagement ring, the most popular and classic variation is to take a colorless diamond. These diamonds are rated and certified on a scale from D to Z. To determine the color of a diamond, experts examine them under a magnifying glass in front of a white paper and hold them next to sample stones. D means that the diamond is virtually colorless, while Z describes a diamond with a clear yellow tinge.

Diamond clarity

The clarity of a diamond describes how many inclusions a diamond has, how large they are, and how visible they are. Inclusions – small imperfections – are present in every diamond, as they are formed under great pressure and heat in deep layers of the earth. Most of these inclusions are too small to be seen by the naked eye. Nevertheless, clarity is considered by experts to be extremely important and is a key factor in determining the value and quality of a diamond. The most important categories into which diamonds are divided in terms of clarity are FL (flawless), VVS (very, very slightly included), VS (very slightly included), and SL (slightly included) – more details here. The categories ever again have subcategories. While SI diamonds may have partial inclusions that are visible to the naked eye, the difference between a VS and VVS diamond can only be seen by an expert under at least 10x magnification.

What is more important now?

As is often the case when buying diamonds, there is no simple answer to this question, but it depends on what the diamond will be used for. When used for an engagement ring, the material of the ring determines which of the two criteria is more important. If a gold ring is to be decorated with a diamond, then definitely more attention should be paid to clarity. On a gold ring, a diamond will automatically take on a yellow tinge as it will reflect the gold of the ring, so the difference between a G and an L diamond will not be noticeable. In terms of clarity, VVS or VS can be used for a gold ring, depending on your budget. However, if silver or platinum is chosen as the material for the engagement ring, one should pay attention to the color, as the light color of the ring will be absorbed and reflected by the diamond. If an L or M diamond is chosen here, the yellow tinge in the diamond will be visible and will ruin the cool look of the platinum. Therefore I would choose a D-H color diamond for platinum rings and put less emphasis on clarity. An SI diamond should do the job.


Apart from the color and clarity, the other 2C’s must not be neglected. Especially the right cut can change the appearance of a diamond significantly and should therefore always be considered in the purchase decision. It should also be noted that the price of a diamond increases exponentially in each category, meaning that the middle class and upper sub-class will tend to be the most suitable for most engagement rings, while the upper class like D, E, and F diamonds will be too expensive. Nevertheless, it can be said that clarity plays a greater role for a gold ring, whereas with light materials such as platinum or silver, more importance should be attached to the color.