Although diamonds are traditionally meant to be completely clear, the reality is that very few stones ever approach transparency. Generally, diamonds range in color from clear (colorless) through to yellow, or a variety of related shades. The color of the diamond has a significant implication on its cost – clear diamonds are pricier than the tinted or colored ones. Diamonds are graded from D to Z when it comes to color. Those nearest the earlier part of the alphabet are clearer. As stones become more tinted, they are graded further on in the alphabet. The main categories are given below:
Diamond color categories
D-F: These are diamonds which appear colorless and that represent the purest on the market.
G-J: Defined as “near-colorless”, G and H grade diamonds are said to be white, whereas I and J diamonds are said to be slightly tinted white.
K-M: Defined as “faint yellow”, K and L grades fall into the slightly tinted white category.
N-R: These are “very light yellow” diamonds.
S-Z: Said to be “light yellow” diamonds, these have the least value regarding their color credentials.
Which grade is going to be right for me?
Although the higher grades are the most costly (subject to other variables such as cut and weight), the reality is that the color differences between an E or an F graded diamond and a G or an H graded diamond are very, very small and not distinguishable by the naked eye. For this reason, most people will opt for a diamond with a color between G and J if they want a clear color. A good cut can showcase a diamond with a less clear color wonderfully well, ensuring it looks as good as a much clearer gemstone in most circumstances. It is also worth remembering that the larger a diamond is, the more visible its color. This means that a smaller diamond (say a carat or half-a-carat) will look clearer even when its grade is lower. Larger diamonds need to be of a better color to appear clear. Ultimately it is the appearance of a jewelry piece which determines whether it is right for the buyer, rather than the color grade.
Can cut and setting affect diamond color?
Although the color of the diamond does not alter depending on cut or setting, it is well-known that the right setting or a skillful cut can showcase a tinted diamond wonderfully well, enabling it to appear a better color than it is. Grades G-J, for example, often look best in platinum or white-gold setting. Lower grades are better showcased in a rose-gold or gold setting. This is because the setting mirrors the tint, making it stand out less. The cut is also important: in most cases, the most flattering cut for a diamond to have is a traditional round shape. The more unconventional the shape, the more potential there is for a facet of the diamond to reflect its innate color.
Fancy colored diamonds
If you want a diamond that stands out from the rest for its color, you may wish to consider a fancy colored diamond. Because diamond is a natural material, it can be found some different forms besides conventional clear through to yellow tones. Diamonds have been found which are brown, green, red, orange, purple, pink and even black. Colored diamonds are rare and therefore expensive. The grade of these colored diamonds (Z category diamonds) is rated by comparisons with “master stones” – stones which possess what is considered to be the best example of each color. The stronger the color, the better an example of a fancy colored diamond is considered to be.