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Everything You Need to Know About Diamond Color

Most diamond engagement ring shoppers have a firm grasp of two diamond color categories: colorless diamonds and colored diamonds. You may already know that colorless diamonds are transparent stones with plenty of sparkles while colored diamonds come in yellow and black most notably. 


But, did you know that diamond color can refer to varying shades of colorless and near-colorless diamonds? In this blog post, we will discuss the most important details of diamond color providing you with a steady foundation from which to start your diamond engagement ring shopping journey. 

 

Of the 4 “C’s” of diamonds, color is the most straightforward diamond feature with fewer curveballs than color, cut, and clarity. As with any diamond engagement ring feature, diamond setting, and band style, the perfect diamond color is a matter of personal preference; what is right for you may not be right for anyone else. 

 

So sit back, relax, and let’s talk about diamond color. Or, if you prefer visual learning, you can watch our YouTube video, below.


A Brief Introduction to Diamond Color

In the 1950s the highly esteemed diamond educators and experts at Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created a diamond color grading system that was unlike competitive grading systems. The GIA diamond color scale ranges from “D” (colorless) to “Z” (light color) while “Fancy Diamonds” are graded on a separate scale from “Fancy Light” to “Fancy Vivid.”

diamond color chart

Why Are Some Diamonds Colored? 

When diamonds are formed deep in the Earth’s crust from extreme levels of heat and pressure that cause carbon atoms to crystalize, sometimes foreign particles are trapped during the crystallization process causing a diamond to have a slight or noticeable hue. 

 

Yellow diamonds acquire their tint from traces of nitrogen in the diamond, which causes blue light to be absorbed and yellow to orange hues to be reflected. Pink diamonds are created as a result of a distorted crystal lattice that causes the diamond to absorb a specific band of green rays. Blue tinted diamonds absorb boron, which bonds with carbon to absorb green, red, and yellow light rays.  

 

Colorless Diamonds

Colorless diamonds are diamonds within the “D” to “F” range of the GIA diamond color scale. Diamonds within this color grade do not show any color hue when compared to a master diamond. 

 

Diamonds with a “D” color grade reveal absolutely no hue in the stone and are the highest color grade diamond you can buy. The lack of color in the “D” colored diamond increases the value of the diamond and is reflected in the price.

 

1.55 ct Round Diamond Two-Tone Signature Wrap Engagement Ring, E Color

1.55 ct Round Diamond Two-Tone Signature Wrap Engagement Ring, E Color

 

2.16 Carat Round Diamond Signature Wrap Engagement Ring, F Color

2.16 Carat Round Diamond Signature Wrap Engagement Ring, F Color

Diamonds with an “E” and “F” color grade are also colorless, though the difference between “D”, “E”, and “F” diamonds are virtually unnoticeable when viewed face-up. While colorless diamonds are priced higher than near colorless and diamonds graded further down the scale, the price difference between diamonds within the “D” to “F” range is slight. 

Near-Colorless Diamonds

Near colorless diamonds range from “G” to “J” on the GIA diamond color scale. The visual difference between a “G” graded diamond and an “H” graded diamond is virtually unnoticeable as you will see with the diamond examples, below. 

 

1.81 Carat Round Diamond Invisible Gallery™ Solitaire Ring, G Color

1.81 Carat Round Diamond Invisible Gallery™ Solitaire Ring, G Color

 

4.52 Carat Round Diamond Three-Stone Engagement Ring, H Color

4.52 Carat Round Diamond Three-Stone Engagement Ring, H Color

 

You will, however, notice a visual distinction between a “G” and a “J” grade diamond, and a “J” color grade is the lowest grade we recommend for clients who desire a near-colorless diamond for their diamond engagement ring. Depending on the setting, band color, and secondary stones, a “J” graded diamond can appear very white face up. 

 

4.30 Carat Round Diamond Six-Prong Engagement Ring

4.30 Carat Round Diamond Six-Prong Engagement Ring, J Color

 

It is important to note that the GIA diamond color scale is not an exact science; there is always room for human error when grading a diamond. In addition, diamond color grade is not an exact value. Some “G” diamonds can look like “F” diamonds or like “H” diamonds depending on the stone. 

 

How Do You Choose Between Colorless vs. Near Colorless?

 

First and foremost, diamond color is a matter of personal preference and how you prefer to maximize your diamond engagement ring budget. You may prefer a larger carat weight or a higher clarity diamond over a colorless diamond, or maybe you prefer the warm, inviting hue of a slightly tinted solitaire diamond paired with a yellow gold setting and band. The choice is truly yours. 

 

We do feel the need to emphasize to our clients that you should never opt for a poorly cut diamond to maximize carat, color, or clarity. 

 

 

When choosing between colorless diamonds and near-colorless diamonds, there are two factors to consider. First, diamonds are graded face down rather than face up; experts grade diamonds this way to prevent sparkle and brilliance from interfering with the visual color, or lack thereof, of the diamond. As a result, the face-up appearance of a diamond can be virtually colorless to the naked eye despite a lower color grade. Diamonds are generally set face up rather than face down, so color is not as noticeable. 

 

Secondly, when presenting your diamond engagement ring to a curious observer, you will rarely (if ever) compare your diamond to another diamond side by side. While you can see the slight tint of a “G” grade diamond when compared to an “E” grade diamond, you are unlikely to notice a color tint on your “G” grade diamond as it stands alone in your engagement ring setting and style. 

 

Lastly, diamond shape reveals color in varying degrees. The round brilliant cut, the emerald cut, the asscher cut, and the cushion cut diamonds hide diamond color very well for different reasons. In most cases, you can choose a diamond within the “H” to “J” color range with no noticeable color tint. Oval cut, pear shape, and radiant cut diamonds tend to reveal color more noticeably as a result of their elongated brilliant-cut and larger surface area. Our clients that prefer oval, pear, or radiant shapes tend to gravitate towards diamonds with an “I” grade or higher while letting clarity or carat take a back seat. 

 

You can see the difference in color tint between the following two diamond engagement rings. The emerald cut diamond with an “I” color grade appears virtually colorless while the oval cut diamond with the same color grade reveals slight color. 

 

3.02 Carat Emerald Cut Diamond Three-Stone Engagement Ring

3.02 Carat Emerald Cut Diamond Three-Stone Engagement Ring, I Color

 

1.21 ct Oval Diamond Classic Halo Engagement Ring

1.21 ct Oval Diamond Classic Halo Engagement Ring, I Color


The Perfect Diamond Color

At Lauren B, we inspect every single diamond in our inventory for cut, clarity, carat, and color to ensure the highest quality diamonds for our clients. Whether you prefer a colorless diamond with a white gold setting and pave diamond band paired with a dazzling eternity wedding band, or you prefer a near-colorless solitaire diamond with a yellow gold setting and a pave diamond wedding band stack, your diamond color choice is completely and totally personal. 

Our sales associates are prepared to guide you through every step of the engagement ring and wedding band shopping experience. In addition, if you choose to pursue a custom-designed engagement ring and wedding band stack, our skilled craftsmen and design consultants will work with you to design and bring to fruition your dream ring.

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