Diamond Color Grading
Contrary to how it sounds, diamond color is determined by the absence of color. The less color present in the diamond the more color is returned. Perhaps the easiest way to imagine this is to envision the triangular prism we looked at in science class. When the prism was put in sunlight, a rainbow of color was displayed. Likewise, a colorless diamond will flash a dazzling spectrum of color.
The highest color grade for a diamond is “D”. “D” color diamonds are very rare and not commonly found in traditional jewelry. Most diamonds used in jewelry have a slight presence of color.
It is possible for diamonds to have a very high concentration of desirable color. These diamonds are known as Fancy and can be found in a wide variety of colors including yellow, green, pink, blue and the rarest of all, red.
Diamond color rating is the one aspect of diamond grading that is done exclusively with the naked eye. Using a sterile colorless light box, gemologists grade the color of a diamond by comparing the stone to other stones in a master set of diamonds of known qualities. For example: if a stone is to be graded G, it is compared to an F, a G and an H color diamond to find the stone it most closely resembles.
Since diamond colors are graded by the unaided eye, it stands to reason that color is one of the primary concerns you should have when buying a diamond. It is a lot easier to forgive a diamond clarity grade with inclusion that is only visible under magnification than it is to forgive a brown or yellow stone.
Diamond Color D
D color diamonds are the benchmark for quality. They are very rare and collectible. When cut well, they are clearly the most beautiful diamond you can own. The larger the D colored diamond, the more expensive it is, making it a bit prohibitive for them to be used in all but the most exclusive jewelry.
Diamond Color E
If you are able to afford a stone with the diamond color E, you will never regret it. So close in appearance to absolutely colorless, most people would love to own one. If you want the best but diamond pricing makes a D just out of reach, E color diamonds can trade at significantly lower prices than their “D” counterparts.
Diamond Color F
All F color diamonds will appear colorless unless they are viewed as loose diamonds alongside of a D or E. There is no question that any fine jewelry set with F color diamonds is exceptional and well above average.
Diamond Color G
For most people seeking a high gem color diamond, G is the benchmark for quality. The stones are pleasing and white, and generally exceed the standards of most diamonds used in the traditional fine jewelry marketplace.
H-I Color Diamonds
Diamonds in the H-I color range are highly sought-after in fine jewelry. When the diamond cut grade is high, H-I diamonds perform like colorless stones. H-I color diamonds mark the breaking point for near colorless performance in diamonds and are highly respected in the fine jewelry world.
J-K Color Diamonds
J-K colors mark the top end of commercial jewelry. They are affordable and provide a ‘big look’ with in the slight yellow and top light brown categories. They afford a significant reduction in price from the gem colors of D through I and are used extensively in the mid-range jewelry market place.
L and Lower Diamond Colors
Stones that are colors L and lower cannot be disguised. Yellow and brown are obvious in this material especially when compared to fine jewelry. Used for commercial and low end jewelry they account for the majority of diamonds used in today’s jewelry.