Color refers to the natural body color of a diamond. The color scale ranges from absolutely colorless to light yellow. The color grade, a measure of a stone’s colorlessness determines how much tint of yellow it has. In general, the less color a diamond has the more valuable it is – all other factors being equal.
Color acts as a filter diminishing the light that passes through the diamond. In colorless or “white” diamonds, just like a clear window, all the light is allowed to pass through allowing the diamond's fiery brilliance to sparkle. Most diamonds have slight tints of yellow in them, while truly colorless diamonds are rare and can therefore command a higher premium.
Most people refer to the Gemological Institute of America's (GIA) color scale to grade a diamond's color – the scale ranges from D (colorless) through the alphabet to Z getting progressively more tinted.
(Note that fancy color diamonds do not follow this scale. The fancy color diamonds have a very rare natural presence of colors such as pink, blue, red, green, and bright yellow. Depending on the intensity of the color, these diamonds are actually more valuable for there colors and can go from very expensive to priceless).
Color differences from one grade to the next are very subtle and difficult to detect even for trained professionals. It becomes even more difficult to grade color if the diamond is mounted in a setting, since settings introduce their own tints of color into the diamond. This is more evident in yellow gold settings and less so with white gold or platinum settings. For this reason, gemological laboratories such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) will only grade diamonds that are un-mounted.
D: Completely Colorless – The highest and rarest classification on the scale. Considered the most desirable and price is set accordingly.
E: Colorless – Almost indistinguishable from D, except for a trained expert gemologist. This color is considered exceptionally fine and very rare.
F: Colorless – Virtually no color is visible to the untrained eye, and therefore still part of the “colorless” family. This color is considered exceptionally fine and rare.
G - H: Near-colorless – Only a minute trace of color detectable when compared to diamonds of better color grades. These colors can be grouped as very fine color grades and offer great value.
I - J: Near-colorless – A very subtle hint of color is slightly detectable with careful attention, but still considered “near-colorless.” These colors can be grouped as fine color grades and offer excellent value.
K - M: Faint Tint – A faint tint of color is noticeable, but these colors can often be minimized by carefully selecting the right jewelry in which to mount your diamond.
N - Z: Very Light Yellow to Light Yellow – DreamStone does not carry stones with these color grades to ensure the highest quality of diamonds and fine jewelry for our customers.
What is Fluorescence?
Fluorescence is not directly related to a diamond's color. This separate characteristic refers to whether or not a stone will produce a color reaction when exposed to long-wave ultraviolet (UV) light (such as the light that comes from black light). A stone that has fluorescence will give off a distinctive glowing blue coloration when exposed to UV light. Under most other lighting conditions, this fluorescence is not detectable to the eye. The fluorescence of a diamond is defined by its intensity as either None, Faint, Medium, Strong, or Very Strong. While some say a fluorescence grade of strong or very strong will cause a diamond to appear oily or murky, others claim with great conviction that it actually enhances the diamond's overall appearance. A study put forth by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) concluded that fluorescence in diamonds is just a matter of aesthetics and should not be a major concern when selecting a diamond. Below we provide you with our recommendation of colors along with their preferred fluorescent rating.
Which color grade is right for me?
For those who want to know they have a diamond that is as pure as crystal-clear spring water, look for a colorless diamond with a grade D-F. (For these color grades, we recommend a fluorescent rating of none or faint).
For those who want an excellent value in a diamond that has no noticeable color to the untrained eye, look for a near-colorless diamond with a grade G-J. (For these color grades we recommend a fluorescent rating of none, faint, medium or strong).
While some people prefer the most colorless diamond they can afford, there are people who actually prefer the warmer glow of diamonds with a very light touch of color found in grade K. (For this color grade we recommend a fluorescent rating of none, faint, medium, strong, or very strong).