This is a subjective question, so it’s a bit difficult to answer. Many of our clients think that the “perfect” diamond is as close to flawless as they can afford. What’s important to consider, though, is that clarity characteristics (also called inclusions, imperfections, or flaws) are almost always invisible to the unaided eye at SI1 clarity or better. When you are inspecting a diamond for clarity, be sure to look at it carefully under a diamond light or at a sunlit window, and then ask for a jeweler’s loupe to take another look. Quite often the diamond will be “eye-clean” with the naked eye, but the inclusions will be visible under magnification. And remember—the larger the stone, the more prominent any imperfections will appear.
Detection of color in diamonds, however, requires no special tools or equipment, only a discerning eye. It also depends on the type of mounting and color of metal in which the diamond is placed. For instance, if we surround a diamond graded K for color with F-G color diamonds in a popular platinum or white gold halo-style setting, the difference in color will be obvious and the center stone will appear noticeably yellower by comparison. However, if we place the same diamond in a yellow gold or rose gold solitaire setting, it will take on an attractively warm, almost candlelit appearance.
So it’s a very personal decision. When you are budgeting and shopping for a diamond, you need to weigh these two value factors and decide whether the absence of color or the absence of imperfections is of greatest importance to you, and to the woman who will wear her ring for a lifetime.