Diamond Colour

What Is Diamond Colour?

Diamond colour is an important factor of the 4Cs used to evaluate the colour of a diamond, and is graded based on a standardized diamond colour chart. Higher-rated diamonds are closer to being colourless, while lower-rated diamonds have a noticeable colour tint. Colourless diamonds are transparent gemstones, while diamonds with a lower rating may have a warm hue.

It is rare to find a diamond without any colour, as many gem-sized diamonds have slight hues or colouration due to their natural formation. Diamonds can come in almost any natural colour, including grey, white, yellow, green, brown, and pink. With the discovery of more diamond deposits, certain colourful stones have become more popular. These fancy coloured diamonds, such as canary diamonds, are prized for their unique colours.

Diamond colour is a key factor that can greatly impact a diamond's overall beauty and value.

Along with the other 4Cs, colour is an important consideration when selecting a diamond. While diamond colour can affect price, there are many factors to consider when deciding which colour grade is right for you.

GIA is the industry leader in diamond grading.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the industry leader in diamond grading, and their diamond colour scale is the standard used by professionals worldwide. The GIA colour scale ranges from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow or brown). You may wonder why the scale starts at D. The reason is that the GIA wanted to create a new grading system so that everyone could use the same standards to evaluate the quality of diamonds. Therefore, they started with D so that more grades could be added to the grading system.

L-Z grade: Diamonds in the L-Z grade have noticeable yellow or brown hues that affect their overall appearance, and are generally not recommended for engagement rings.

K grade: Diamonds in the K range have slight yellow or brown hues, but may still appear colorless in some settings.

J grade: Diamonds in the J range have slight yellow or brown hues, but may still appear colorless in some settings.

I grade: Diamonds in the I range have some yellow hues, but may still appear colorless in certain settings.

H grade: Diamonds in the H range have slight yellow hues, but often appear colorless in most situations.

G grade: Diamonds in the G range have very slight yellow hues, but often appear colorless to the naked eye.

F grade: Diamonds in the F range have extremely faint hues and appear almost entirely colorless.

E grade: Diamonds in the E range have extremely faint hues and often appear completely colorless.

D grade: Diamonds in the D grade are the highest quality diamonds, completely colorless, and are considered one of the most valuable grades.

What is the best diamond colour?

The best color for a diamond depends on your budget and personal preference. Colorless diamonds are the rarest and most expensive. Many customers choose colors in the D or E range, while others opt for near-colorless shades to maximize their budget and allocate more resources to a better cut, which enhances the diamond's sparkle.

The larger the diamond, the more likely it is to show color.

If you are planning to purchase a diamond smaller than 1 carat, you may consider choosing a color grade of I, J, or K. If the diamond is larger than 1 carat, it is recommended to choose a color grade of H or higher.

Setting of a diamond affect its colour appearance

The diamond setting can also affect its color appearance. Yellow gold is suitable for pairing with diamonds with lighter tones, while white gold or platinum alloys can enhance the icy appearance of near-colorless diamonds. Certain special diamond shapes (such as cushion, princess, and diamond) may hide color better than round-cut diamonds, which can result in a 25% lower price compared to round-cut diamonds.

Can diamonds come in natural colours other than white?

In addition to white, diamonds can occur in natural colors such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink, and purple. These are known as fancy-colored diamonds. Only one in 10,000 diamonds has a natural color, and the more intense the color, the rarer and more valuable the diamond.

How are fancy-coloured diamonds graded and valued?

Fancy-colored diamonds are evaluated using a separate color grading standard and are more valuable than colorless diamonds. The value of fancy-colored diamonds depends on the intensity and rarity of their color. The rarest and most valuable fancy-colored diamonds are red and green, while blue and pink diamonds are also rare and valuable. The color grading scale for fancy-colored diamonds ranges from Fancy Light to Fancy Deep, with deeper colors being more valuable.

Diamond Colour Scale FAQs

What is the diamond colour scale and how does it range from D to Z?

The diamond colour scale refers to a grading system used to classify a diamond's colour. It ranges from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow or brown).

What causes colour in diamonds and how do trace elements like nitrogen impact colour grade?

Colour in diamonds is caused by the presence of trace elements like nitrogen that absorb blue light. This results in a yellow or brown tint. The less colour, the more chemically pure the diamond.

What are the best colour grades for a diamond and how do they impact the diamond's brightness?

The best colour grade for a diamond is D, E or F, which are colourless or near-colourless. These diamonds allow the most light to pass through, resulting in a bright white appearance.

Between a G and I colour diamond, which one is better and why?

Between a G and I colour diamond, a G colour would be better as it is closer to colourless. However, colour grade is just one factor to consider and depends on your budget and preferences.

Is an H colour diamond considered high-quality and how noticeable is its slight tint?

An H colour diamond can still be a good, high-quality diamond with a slight tint that is hard to see with the naked eye. It may appear colourless in some settings.

Which diamond shapes are best at hiding colour and which ones tend to show colour more?

Diamond shapes that have more surfaces and facets to reflect light, like rounds and princesses, tend to hide colour the best. Shapes with large surface areas, like ovals and pears, show colour more.

How does the setting impact a diamond's colour appearance and which settings tend to make colour more apparent?

Yes, the setting can impact a diamond's colour appearance. White gold or platinum settings will make slight colour more apparent than yellow gold settings. Pavé bands also draw more attention to the diamond so colour may be more noticeable.

Do the other Cs like clarity and cut impact a diamond's colour appearance and how do they interact with colour grade?

The other Cs like clarity and cut can affect colour appearance. Higher clarity means less colour, and a well-cut diamond reflects light best to mask colour. Carat weight alone does not impact colour, but larger diamonds show more of any colour.


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