What is diamond colour-
Diamond "colour", simply describes how much or how little colour is noticeable in a diamond. In relation to white diamonds, colour describes how white the diamond is or the lack of colour it has.
The highest diamond colour grade is "D" and the lowest is "Z". Diamonds with colour that is more intense than a "Z" colour grade are categorised as "fancy coloured diamonds". After cut quality, colour is commonly viewed as the second most important of the "4 C's" when considering any diamond, as the difference between diamonds that are 2 – 3 colour grades apart can be seen with the naked eye by most people.
When diamonds are graded for colour at any one of the 5 most reputable and respected diamond grading laboratories in the world (GIA, AGS, IGI, HRD and EGL USA), the colour grade for a diamond will usually be determined by taking the opinion of more than one (usually three to five) qualified gemologists, and the colour grade for the diamond will be given a consensus grade, based on the average of their evaluations.
||Perfectly colourless. The highest colour grade achievable for a white diamond. The rarest
and most valuable white diamond colour.
|E - F
||Still very rare and colourless to the naked eye. A trained diamond expert or gemmologist
would need diamond colour grading tools and the correct lighting conditions to distinguish
D, E and F colours.
|G - H
||Classified as "near-colourless". However, colour is still difficult to see, even to the most
discerning eye. When set in an 18kt white gold or platinum engagement ring, the diamond
will appear colourless, unless compared side-by-side to diamonds of better colour grades.
G and H colour diamonds offer a great balance of "quality vs. cost".
|I - J
||Near-colourless diamonds. Colour can be seen with a discerning naked eye, however these
diamonds are very affordable per carat and some people like the warm tone of an I or J
|K - Z
||Noticeable colour can be easily seen with the untrained naked eye. Diamond Exchange does
not advertise diamonds graded lower than K colour, however we can source one for you
upon request. Please phone toll free: 1 (866) 339-9988
What diamond colour should I buy-
D colour diamonds are for the perfectionist. If you want the best and price is no object.
E – F colour diamonds are for the discerning eye. If you don't want to spend the premium price for a D colour, but want a diamond that looks just as beautiful.
G colour diamonds are for the practical person. If you want a diamond that looks colourless, is great value for money and don't mind the "near-colourless" classification.
H colour diamonds are perfect for people who don't mind that very minute traces of colour may be detected (only with a discerning eye and when compared directly with diamonds of better colour grades), as the price is very economical per carat for a diamond that's still exceptionally high quality.
I - J colour diamonds are for people who want the biggest diamond within their budget. Diamond Exchange recommends considering diamonds with "strong blue" and "very strong blue" fluorescence. Blue fluorescence makes I and J colour diamonds look whiter when the diamond is fluorescing under the UV light of the sun and some fluorescent lighting conditions, as the contrasting blue colour helps to cancel out or "hide" any yellowish colour that's visible to the naked eye.
What diamond colour is the best value for money-
"Near colourless" diamonds in the range G to H are widely considered the best value for money. G – H "near colourless" diamonds are significantly less expensive than colourless diamonds (D to F), yet the difference in colour is not easily discernible to the untrained naked eye. When mounted in a ring the colour grade of a diamond is extremely difficult to distinguish accurately. Professional, qualified diamond graders rely on comparison stones, usually calibrated to GIA master stones, to determine the colour of the diamond being graded.
How to buy a diamond on a budget:
I - J "near colourless" diamonds are significantly less expensive than diamonds graded D to G colour.
I and J colour diamonds with "strong blue – very strong blue" fluorescence are great value on a budget, as they are inexpensive per carat, yet they look whiter than I – J colour diamonds with no fluorescence under some types of fluorescent lighting and in the natural UV light of the sun, because the blue colour when the diamond fluoresces under these lighting conditions cancels out or "hides" the contrasting yellowish colour of the diamond.
J colour diamonds, in borderline cases, may display a warmish tone and therefore are to be avoided if you are wishing to purchase a "white" diamond, with absolutely no hint colour. If you are concerned about this possibility, I colour diamonds are a better option for you, as the colour is less noticeable.
J colour diamonds offer the best "bang for your buck" if colour is not the most important diamond grading criteria for you, because it is the least expensive diamond per carat in the "near colourless" range. Some people like the warmish tone or hue of a J colour diamond.
K - Z colour diamonds will range from "slightly yellow" or "brownish", to "light yellow" or "tinted brown", and are considerably less expensive per carat than J colour diamonds.
Colours more intense than Z are graded as "fancy yellow" or "champagne / cognac" diamonds. "Fancy coloured" diamonds are more expensive than white diamonds, and the price of a "fancy coloured" diamond increases with the degree of intensity, tone and saturation of its colour.
Please click HERE if you would like to learn more about diamond colour.
Click HERE to take the GIA Interactive Tutorial: How To Buy A Diamond.
GIA (The Gemological Institute of America) introduced the colour grading system that is used today. The GIA grading system replaced grades such as Top Wesselton and Capes and is internationally accepted. In most cases, unlike all other gems, it is the absence of colour that makes a diamond more valuable. With the exception of "fancies" or "fancy coloured diamonds" which are rare, all diamonds are graded on the D – Z scale. Most diamonds are either a light yellow, light brown or light grey. The separation between grades is almost undetectable to the untrained eye. An analogy would be five pieces of white paper of differing qualities. Looked at individually they all look white, but when placed side by side the distinction can be made.
Trained gemologists will grade diamonds in a loose table down position using comparison stones and properly controlled lighting to make their judgments. The same specialists will be able to grade a set diamond within two colour grades, although to the inexperienced grader the colour in a diamond will be virtually indiscernible until it reaches "J" colour. Even a "J" colour diamond will appear white when mounted and face up. The value of a diamond changes dramatically with each colour grade.