What Are Diamond Colors?
Color is a naturally occurring element in diamonds and they come in many tints and shades. It is one of the features that make diamonds unique – in fact it is one of the 4Cs of diamond grading! There’s totally no doubt that fancy color diamonds are extremely valuable, but still most people generally go for white diamonds – especially when buying rings like engagement rings. Fancy colored diamonds that have more vivid shades like green or pink, have a different scale on which they’re graded, while white diamonds are also graded on a different scale.
How Are They Graded?
GIA is the most commonly accepted scale to grade a diamond color. Before GIA, many terms like light yellow, cape, very light yellow, jager, numeric scales, and Wesselton were used in different color scales. But today, GIA has standardized the diamond color grade on a D-Z scale.
Try as much as possible to buy a GIA diamond scale so you can get the value of your purchase. All diamonds on the GIA D-Z scale are taken to be white however, on the lower end they can have a touch of yellow (they aren’t absolutely colorless). Color shading varies in tone, hue & saturation.
Most people appreciate white diamonds because it has no color. The closer it is to being colorless, the greater the market value. Color graduations in diamonds can be highly subtle and are usually not noticeable to the naked eye.
Color Intensity is very important when it comes to diamonds coloring as opposed to lack of it. Popular diamond colors are brown, yellow, blue, pink & green. Diamonds sold for their color are tagged “fancy” diamonds and some can be a lot more expensive than white diamonds.
Diamond color is generally difficult to identify but it subtly distracts the eye from seeing the diamonds sparkle.
D is the highest in the color grading scale and Z is the lowest. A diamond color chart displays how a diamond color changes on the scale.
Colorless – D – F: – diamonds here have little to no color traces and can only be noticed by professional gemologists. They have to be placed side by side with lower or higher colored diamonds on the scale for their color to be correctly identified.
G – J: Almost Colorless – these diamonds have very little traces of color that can only be seen by professionals. The G/H color diamonds are very common because they balance value with lack of color. Very little sparkle distractions can be seen in I/J colors but have in mind that these diamonds still sparkle smartly and have great value.
K – M: Faint – diamonds having K, L and M colors tend to have a faded brown or yellow tinge. Through tests and analysis, the color may be seen in jewelries.
D Colorless: D-color diamonds contain the highest color purity and they also represent perfection. It is almost totally rare and has no visible shades of color. When viewing diamond with the naked eye, E & F colors are similar to the D color diamond. The perfect view of a D color diamond is when it’s being placed with white, gold & platinum as the white color of the metal displays the colorless D grade. Also have in mind that D color diamonds also look good in rose and yellow gold.
E Colorless: E-color diamonds are awesome, and they have high color purity. It is very rare and doesn’t really have a visible color shading. To the naked eye, an E color diamond will not display any tinges of yellow color.
F Colorless: these are very beautiful and have very little shade of color that isn’t easily noticeable by untrained eyes. They are rare have high color purity. When searching for a diamond that will easily display shades of yellow to the human eye, the F color obviously fits the bill and is a lot cheaper than a D or E color diamond.
G Near Colorless: These are exquisite and have very little traces of color that can only be seen by professionals. It is also very popular and offers a great mixture of beauty and value. A white or platinum gold setting can help hide traces of yellow coloring in the ring. A G color diamond blends well with yellow and rose gold.
H Near Colorless: These are very attractive and have mildly identifiable shade of color. It is very popular because of its attractiveness and worth. It offers great balance and can be an excellent choice for you.
I Near Colorless: This brings so much brilliance to the table even as some shading of color has been identified by some gemologists. The color is still not noticeable to an untrained eye and provides excellent value. Depending on the diamond, an I diamond can be a good choice as the yellow color is not too perceptible. Its is however, a good idea to enquire from a gemologist before making your purchase.
J Near Colorless: This has exquisite sparkle and worth. It has a shade of color that is only noticeable by trained professionals and allows for a broader size or higher clarity that may be more favorable to your budget. Be skeptical with a J color if purchasing a step cut diamond as the color can show more easily.
K Faint Yellow: Here, some shading of color may reflect in light, but it is still strenuous for the non- professionals to recognize its color grade. It is seen as a white diamond that doesn’t affect the diamond’s sparkle. A K faint yellow diamond may come across as yellow to the naked eye, particularly in bigger sized diamonds e.g. those from 1.50carats and above.
L Faint Yellow: The diamond is brilliant and is considered a white diamond that removes nothing from the stone’s sparkle even though the untrained eye may notice a little color. It looks best in yellow gold conditions. Consult gemologist before purchasing a L color diamond to ensure that it is the adequate color for you.
Pricing Effect & Selecting Diamond Color
While changes in diamond color are very subtle, pricing changes are not. The price discrepancy between each color grade (all else being equal) ranges from about 8% to more than 25% in the higher colors. For a more worth driven choice, go for an I – K color. Diamonds of all colors depicts fire and excellence.
Within a ring, think of other elements like the full budget for the ring and your preferred metal. Keeping these factors in mind, you can determine your diamond budget. Factors like metal color can play a part in ascertaining which diamond color you should go for. For example, a lower color diamond can actually look gorgeous and more white within a yellow gold setting. In addition, the number of metal and the variety of setting can show off more or less of the diamond.
Relying on this, it may be best to choose a higher or lower colored stone on the scale. Color is quite visible in the stones at the lower range of the scale (even without enlargement), but with stones that are higher on the color grading scale, you’ll have to be a professional using the right equipment before you can see the color deficiencies.
Acquiring a diamond that’s lower on the color scale yields very little visible differences, but the savings can be very significant. The most significant cost discrepancy is often from G to F color grades. The most rampant color grade is a G color with H color behind it.
Diamonds in shapes other than the round cut (AKA Fancy shaped) usually display more color. For example, Marquise cut, Oval cut, Pear cut, show more color near their points and edges. Cushion cut, Radiant cut, Emerald cut, Princess cut and Asscher cut diamonds give off more color in the body.
For example, if you’re going for a round cut G color diamond then I imagine you would need a diamond in another diamond shape but in color F. generally, no matter the shape of the stone, its color becomes more noticeable as the carat weight increases. Thus, the best option is to go for higher colors, when buying larger sized diamonds. You can also learn about the other factors that influence diamond pricing.
Fluorescence: Impact on Color
One last factor that influences a diamond’s color is fluorescence. This refers to the way a diamond reacts to black light (UV light). Fluorescence is caused by trace elements that occur naturally in the diamonds during its formation. In very uncommon instances, it alters the look of the stone.
It is suggested that in colors D – G (higher colors), fluorescence should be None or slight/faint. Fluorescence has been known to whiten diamonds at the lower end of the color spectrum (yellower stones). it can give an already colorless diamond a unwanted grayish, whitish tint. This is commonly the case in less than 1% of all diamonds with fluorescence. The impact of florescence is felt more colors at the lower end of the color spectrum.
In diamonds that fall on the I – L color on the color scale, we suggest you go for strong or Medium fluorescence. It can better the look of a stone’s yellow imperfections, and make it look whiter that it actually is. Ill advice that you go for fluorescent diamonds particularly in colors L, K, & J.
Buying a diamond can without doubt be extremely confusing, especially when you consider the fact that there’s a considerable amount of color grades out there. A few things to take into consideration when choosing color grades include;
For the best balance of look and value, it is always advisable to stay within the G-J color range. This rule is also used in various carat ranges. But, if you’re interested in getting something higher than 1 carat, you can try the G-H range (have in mind that color shows more easily as the diamond carat size increases).
If you want a bigger diamond, try as much as possible not to compromise the color.
One more thing to note is that it becomes a lot more difficult to detect colors once placed in a ring and in an setting that has color. For instance, a diamond on H scale of diamond colors may appear colorless as that of a D on the color scale when it is set in a ring in normal, everyday lighting. People may not be able to tell them apart unless they are placed side by side.
The one thing that affects a diamond’s color is mount on which it is set. Mountings that metal white make the imperfections in diamonds more apparent, while yellow gold makes little amounts of yellow in a diamond a little less obvious.
An outrageous population of untrained observers can’t really differentiate a color grade unless they are put side by side in a controlled environment.