Color or Clarity- Which Is More Critical in a Diamond

As a buyer, you might already be sufficiently informed about the 4Cs of diamonds. The 4Cs, as the four major parameters of evaluation of a diamond, namely cut, color, clarity and carat, is essentially a quality analyzer. There are tons of articles on the Internet on that, and even the salespersons too verbally take the buyers through them. But, what they don’t say is which is more important than the other. Ideally, all four Cs need to be considered before arriving to a purchase decision, but there is a staple contention between color and clarity, in the minds of the buyers with no solid resolution.

So, let’s solve the conundrum of color or clarity in diamonds, today.

Frankly, it’s not too wise to choose between the 4Cs, or even try to rate them in terms of importance. But, for the sake of argument, let’s focus on the first two Cs today- color and clarity. Which one should you prioritize over the other to make a golden purchase decision?
To get the basics out of the way, color is the tone and color temperature of a diamond and clarity is its absence of blemishes. To answer the age long question of which of these two affect the quality of a diamond more, that depends on the very shape of the stone, and by that, I do not mean the cut, but the natural shape of the stone.

In some shapes, the inclusions show more prominently while in others, the flaws hide well in the dimensions. In some shapes, the colors look naturally enhanced, while in others, even the deepest colors appear mild and dispersed. So, neither of these two parameters are very reliable for all shapes of diamonds.

For instance, all round shaped diamonds look apparently clear, regardless of their actual level of inclusions and flaws. So that’s an advantage. That’s because the shape has a very high reflectivity. That means, colors in round diamonds don’t show very prominently either. So, you can save some money by picking something from the SI category and J color range and still get a diamond that looks pretty flawless.
However, for an emerald shaped diamond, these advantages are scarce. Inclusions are fairly visible in emerald diamonds, and so is that color. The latter is an advantage though if you pick a colored diamond. The color will look naturally enhanced because of the shape, without any treatments.

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