Color refers to the presence or absence of color in white diamonds. Diamonds in the normal color range are graded by their relative lack of color; the less color, the higher the value. The exception to which are fancy colored diamonds. The G.I.A color scale grades from D (totally colorless) to Z (yellow). If a diamond is graded lower than Z on the color scale it is considered "fancy yellow." Of all the diamond colors available, most consumers select stones that fall within the GIA color grades D to J. Pricing can change as much as 10-15% between color grades, despite the visible difference between grades being sometimes difficult to distinguish to the untrained unaided eye. The differences in color grades are sometimes so slight, that to the untrained eye, when mounted, even G and H color diamonds might look colorless. Only an experienced eye can see the faint differences.
Colors are graded under controlled lighting conditions in comparison to master test stones for accuracy. Such testing is necessary as color differences are very subtle. The difference, for example, between an E and F color grading will not be easily detectible. When viewed top-down, the average person will only begin to see color in a diamond at about the I-J range. When determining the color of a diamond, it is important to see the diamond un-mounted. All of our diamonds are pre-appraised and examined un-mounted.
Trick of the trade If you plan on mounting your diamond in a Platinum or White gold setting you want to consider staying in the D-I range. If you prefer a yellow gold setting, the yellow gold will be more forgiving of stones with some hint of color. Anything less than a J will appear yellow regardless of setting.
What Color Grade is Right for Me?
- For the expert, perfectionist or diamond connoisseur look for a colorless diamond (grades D-F).
- For the best value - go with a diamond that has no noticeable or obvious color to the naked eye. Look for a near-colorless diamond, grades of G-I.
- For a tight budget, consider stones graded J-L (faint hint of yellow) mounted in yellow gold mountings. This helps give the stone a warmer glow.
- For someone who does not want to compromise the color of their diamond but is working within a certain budget, choose a diamond with a good cut, good clarity (SI1); a clarity enhanced diamond is also a good option for the budget-conscious.
- Color ultimately comes down to personal taste.