Although diamonds are traditionally though of as white or having no color, diamonds in fact do have color and the price of the diamond can be affected by the color as well as other characteristics.
The color of a diamond ranges from pure white, the most expensive 'color of all' to a deep yellow tinted color. This is not to be confused with colored diamonds which are in a class all of their own
Diamond Color Grades
The most common grading scale for judging the color of a diamond is the alphanumeric scale which runs from D, at the top of the range through to Z at the bottom. (A,B.C are not used in this scale)
The Grading "D" is the best diamond, is the pure white diamond and the most expensive of all. It is considered the best quality and, provided the clarity, cut and other factors all being the best, will command the best price for a diamond.
The grading goes from pure white through to a yellow tint or color which of course is the cheapest.
Here is the scale of the color grades a diamond will fall in:
D Pure White - the most prized colour
Diamond Color Grading
E Exceptional white - colourless group
F Excellent white - colourless group
G Good white - colourless group
H White - colourless group
I Slightly tinted white/ white when viewed from top
J Slightly tinted white/ commercial white
K Tinted white/ still acceptable white when mounted
L Tinted white/ needs yellow setting to look its best
M Slightly yellowish/Tinted colour-champagne
N Slightly yellowish/Tinted colour-champagne
O-R Yellowish/Tinted colour
S-Z Yellow/Tinted colour
All diamond color grading is accomplished using a comparison technique. A number of Masterstones are used in which the color is known and a sample is compared to them to see which matches closest. The grader then assesses if the sample has more or less color than the closest Masterstone. All grading laboratories have a complete set of Masterstones representing every color grade. Then is used to compare a sample stone to.
A grading laboratory will usually possess a complete set of Masterstones representing every color grade but an independent grader working in a retail will only possess a range of Masterstones that covers the typical grade range of color they expect to meet while grading. A typical grading set of Masterstones consist of five diamonds in two grade increments, such as an E, G, I, K, and M. It is not very common for a grader to possess a D Masterstone, as the E Masterstone is more useful in dividing the D and E color grades. The intermediate grades are assessed by the graders judgment.
All diamonds in the normal color range are graded loose, with the table facet facing downward and pavilion side upwards. When color grading is done in the mounting, other techniques would need to be applied and less accuracy is available as the full stone cannot be checked and its color can be influenced by the setting. The grade therefore will usually be expressed as a range (for example F-G)
Two thirds of all diamonds fluoresce to some degree but how they do so depends very much on the type of ultra violet light they are subjected to. In the jewelers shop there are many bright lights specifically designed to show of "any" diamond to perfection. This is a light that is very different to sunlight or natural daylight and explains why it is always important, when purchasing diamonds, to look at them in the light to which they will be exposed when being worn. Otherwise you might buy a diamond that presents quite a different, and to you, unsatisfactory appearance after you have walked out of the shop with it.
Strongly fluorescent diamonds tend to take on a bluish tint in sunlight and this can affect the color grading also. The price of diamonds is dependent on their visual appearance so fluorescence is a very important factor here.
Sometimes a lower colored stone, as diamonds are commonly called in the diamond business, at the bottom of the scale can attract a higher price if it is strongly fluorescent.
The price of diamonds is affected by the color. When you decide to buy a diamond this should be taken into account. It should also be written on the diamond appraisal certificate so you can see what you are paying for.
Buying a diamond that is at the top of the range in terms of diamond color is a fantastic thing and, if you can afford it, the best diamond to buy!