After diamond cut, diamond color is the second most important characteristic to consider when choosing a diamond. The highest quality diamonds are colorless, while those of lower quality have noticeable color, which manifests as pale yellow in diamonds.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades diamond color on a scale of D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). D-Z diamonds are also known as white diamonds, even though most diamonds, including H color diamonds and G color diamonds, have varying amounts of color.
Diamond Colors According To The Diamond Color Chart
The GIA diamond color scale is the leading industry standard of diamond color grading. Before this was the standard, other color grading scales used A, B and C, so GIA started their scale at D to avoid confusion.
There are six categories on the GIA diamond chart, with color grades that range from absolutely colorless to light in color. Diamonds rated D are the most devoid of color and very rare, whereas G color diamonds and H color diamonds are near colorless, and since they’re priced lower they are excellent value diamonds. The more you move down the color chart, the lower the color grade is, and the more noticeable the light yellow hue becomes.
D Color Diamonds (Absolutely Colorless)
D color diamond is the highest grade and is extremely rare—the highest color grade that money can buy. Eight percent of customers choose a D color diamond.
Diamond Color Buying Tips
If you're looking to buy fine diamond jewelry such as an engagement ring, it's important to understand how diamond color affects price. Here are a few buying tips and things to know about diamond color.
DIAMOND COLOR IS THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR
When it comes to diamonds, less color means higher quality. While brilliance is the first thing you notice about a diamond, color is the second. The higher the color grade, the less color there is, and the more expensive it will be.
NEAR COLORLESS DIAMONDS ARE THE BEST VALUE
For the best value, choose G-J diamond color grades in the Near Colorless category. With these diamonds, the naked eye can’t discern any color. The visible difference between diamonds of one color grade (G-H or I-J) is so minor it's difficult to detect with the unaided eye, but the cost savings can be significant. Keep this in mind when choosing your diamond color grade.
In general, to avoid a pale yellow color, choose a diamond grade H or higher. For the purist, look for a D to F grade colorless diamond, which will have no discernible color under magnification.
DIAMOND SHAPE, SIZE AND RING METALS MATTER
Diamond shape, size and your ring’s metal setting can visually impact diamond color.
Ring Setting — Pairing diamonds with similar toned metals can neutralize color in the diamond. Consider setting higher color grade diamonds like Near Colorless diamonds (G-J) in yellow gold and Colorless diamonds (D-F) in white gold or platinum. A gold setting may show through a colorless diamond.
Diamond Shape — Some diamond shapes may show or mask color to varying degrees. For example, brilliant-cut shapes such as round and princess reflect more light, which means more color is masked. Step-cut diamonds (emerald and Asscher cuts) may show more color because they are cut with fewer facets, resulting in bigger "windows" through which to see the color.
Fancy shaped diamonds, like pear and marquise may also show slightly more concentrated color at their points.
Diamond Size — Color is easier to see in larger diamonds. If you want a diamond above 1 carat, choose a G or H colored diamond. I-J color diamonds are best when just under a carat.
White Diamonds Vs. Colored Diamonds
When is color a good thing? When it refers to the rainbow spectrum of colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink, purple, and more – that diamonds come in. These are known as Colored Diamonds. Only one in every 10,000 diamonds possess natural color, and the more intense the color, the more rare and valuable the diamond. Colored Diamonds are graded on a separate diamond color scale and can be even more valuable than white diamonds.
Next: Diamond Clarity
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