Diamond Color Chart & Buying Guide
One of the first questions you may ask the moment you enter a jewelry store is about the best color of a diamond. Everyone has their own unique styles and tastes, though, so “the best” will be all about your personal tastes. So, today’s blog will be there to show you how to judge whether or not a specific diamond color is the “best” for you.
What is the best color for a diamond? There are many factors involved in “the best” color of a diamond for you including your taste, the setting, the shank, the shape, and the 3 Cs of the diamond. Your budget is the first factor that determines the listed criteria above. However, if the best for you means the rarest and most expensive, then a D colorless diamond is your answer.
Although choosing the color of your diamond engagement ring seems mostly a matter of taste and budget, several factors will affect the color of the diamond. If you are choosing a diamond for its sparkle, the information about how color and clarity affects the appearance of the diamond is necessary for choosing what color you think is best. Below, we have a few frequently asked questions about diamonds and answers so you can make a more informed decision.
What is the Color of a Diamond?
Diamond color is a reference to one of the 4 C’s of diamonds. In gemology, there are what is known as the 4 C’s of a diamond, Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat. American Gem Society (AGS) and Gemological Institute of America (GIA) appraise the color grade within the framework of a spectrum. The color of diamonds falls into two main categories: fancy colored diamonds and colorless diamonds, each possessing their own color spectrum for appraisal.
To evaluate color, GIA, AGS, and other diamond laboratories put the diamond upside down against a flat surface. By looking at the sides of a diamond, rather than its top view, the color is more noticeable. You may have even noticed that most diamond engagement rings in the market fall under the colorless category, the most accessible and common color set for diamonds to have falls into the colorless spectrum. Laboratories appraise the color based on a ranged color scale, starting from D – which is colorless, and ending in the letter Z, which is known as the light color scale. Each of the labels is associated with a particular amount of yellow tint in the diamond’s color.
Fancy colors include red, pink, gray, orange, violet, blue, yellow, white, black, green, and brown, just like different colors in a rainbow spectrum. Fancy colors are extremely rare in their natural form. Only one out of ten thousand diamonds have one of the natural fancy colors. If you intend to buy an engagement ring with a natural fancy color diamond, you must count on a high budget. You will probably encounter some inexpensive diamonds in the market with fancy colors. They are irradiated, and they do not possess the value of a naturally colored diamond coming from the earth.
Diamond Color Chart
GIA uses the diamond color chart below as its standard grading for appraisal:
|Grade||Category||Description||Price Value||Appropriate Metal|
|D - F||Colorless||
||Most Expensive||Platinum and White Gold|
|G - J||Near Colorless||
||Expensive||Platinum and White Gold|
|K - M||Faint||
|N - R||Very Light||
||Much Less Expensive||Yellow Gold|
|S - Z||Light||
||Almost Half the Price||Yellow Gold|
As you can see, the GIA diamond color grade begins with the letter D and ends with the letter Z. The reason for this choice of grading is that GIA came up with a brand new grading system and wanted it to be set apart from the others, which have their scales start with the letter A, or use numbers. Since the GIA scale was such a unique innovation, it’s now accepted as the de facto color grading scale.
The grades in the diamond color chart starting from D is considered “Absolutely Colorless” and to the last alphabetic letter, which is Z, has an obvious yellow tint. Looking at the chart, you will notice that the design of the diamond follows how much it’s worth. When you get your diamond appraised at the GIA laboratory, the experts appraise it by comparing its color with an assembled set of diamonds, each one representing a specific color grade. If you wish to see the process in which GIA assesses the diamond color grade, please watch this video below:
What Color Grade is Best for Diamonds?
The truth is, there’s no specific answer to that question. It all depends on you and your preferences. If you have an unlimited budget, then the best two categories for you would be in the colorless group, D, E, and F, or the fancy intense colored diamonds, which are both incredibly rare. On a limited budget, however, you are better off choosing one of the lower grade color diamonds, but that doesn’t mean that you’re choosing a ‘lesser’ diamond. A good choice of ring and shape of diamond can always make any diamond look amazing.
There is a large price difference between two colors of different grades of diamonds and more importantly, a price difference in different categories. This is the reason that we cannot declare one color as “the best” for everyone. It is true that a diamond with a D color grade does reflect light better, and has some of the highest radiance, so there will be more demand for a higher color grade. The radiance of your gem is not only dependent on its color and clarity, but also by the metal band and the setting as well. The blog here will help you define diamond color and clarity grades, as well as prices for customers:
The colorless group, especially the D color, has an icier look, especially if you choose white gold or platinum for the metal band. Another key factor is the size of the diamond, which indicates the amount of yellow or brown color involved. The bigger a diamond, the more it shows that yellow or brown tint color in the diamond. The shape of the diamond is also important, for a round diamond hides the yellow color while an emerald or pear magnifies it. However, many people are into warm colors, and they choose K-M grades, which belong to the category of “faint”. Another especially important factor is the engagement ring you intend to buy, and whether it is a solitaire or something with more than one diamond. The importance lies in the fact that every person seeing your diamond engagement ring will notice the color difference, so you have to choose the same color for both the center diamond and the paves, or the diamonds that are along the shank. The matter of taste that determines “the best” for different people.
Which Color Diamond is the Most Valuable?
The D color diamond possesses the highest price value. The D color, which is the first diamond color grade we encounter in the Diamond Dolor Scale Chart, is absolutely colorless, so it is the most expensive color grade for a diamond. The E and F grades fall into the category of “colorless”, which is the most valuable group color in the scale of GIA diamonds.
If by “the most valuable” you mean the most luxurious, glamorous, and expensive, the first color group is what you are looking for. Among the first category, the first color grade, which is the D color, is the most expensive and valuable one. In the GIA color diamond scale, the more colorless a diamond looks, the more it is sought after. The slight yellow or brown color involved in near-colorless diamonds causes the natural color light to reflect less. The faint yellow or brown tint in the colorless diamond represents the involvement of nitrogen in the chemical mixture of the diamond that happened hundreds of miles under the crust of the Earth. Therefore, it is a vastly different color compared to a fancy yellow or brown diamond, which is even more expensive than a colorless diamond. Natural fancy colors, of which we can refer to pink, blue, yellow, green, orange, white, gray, brown, red, yellow, and violet, have separate scales for appraisal. Their price is high due to their rarity, for one in every ten thousand diamonds possess a natural fancy color. Therefore, when you speak about the most valuable color for a diamond, your word is interpreted as the most expensive color grade among the colorless diamonds.
Does the Diamond Color Affect Diamond Sparkle?
To this, the answer is no. Color grade has a different significance in the beauty of a natural diamond. In fact, the main factor that affects the sparkle of the diamond is the quality of the cut. A diamond ring with a D color is going to be worth more, since it’s the rarest and has the least amount of color.
The reason why so many people are after a higher color grade is due to its price value and rarity. It is a universal rule that the less common an object is, the more valuable it is. Since colorless diamonds are harder to get, they are highly demanded and more expensive. However, the rarest does not mean the most beautiful and sparkly. For example, a D color diamond with a good cut is by no means more sparkly and reflective than an H color diamond with an ideal cut. Especially in the case of round brilliant shapes, the doesn’t affect the appearance as much, because this particular shape hides the yellowish color of the diamond from the top. To get the truest sparkle out of this diamond shape is the cut. In addition to that, if you clean your diamond ring as many times as you are supposed to, you will maintain its sparkle. If you want a beautiful and sparkly diamond, save a portion of your budget by choosing a lower color grade, but be cautious about the cut quality. If you want a bit more information about cut and cut quality, please check out this blog post here:
Can you Change the Color of a Diamond?
Yes, the color of a diamond can be changed artificially. There are several ways to treat or enhance the color of a diamond. These methods are not permanent, though. So if you are enchanted by a fancy color diamond, but also have a limited budget, color treatment or color enhancement is one of your possible options.
You might be one of those ladies who adore fancy color diamonds. Fancy color diamonds are tremendously beautiful, yet they are very much rare. That is the reason even a D color diamond is less expensive than its counterpart is in a fancy color. For that reason, technology tried to find a solution for so many ladies in want of a fancy color diamond engagement ring with color treatment and color enhancement methods. These methods include:
- Dyeing: Ink staining is one of the most popular and oldest methods. It temporarily changes the diamond.
- Coating: you can choose the color you wish your diamond to be with this method. It is also temporary and changes with washing and wearing.
- HPHT: High pressure-high temperature helps you correct the color diamond by increasing or decreasing its faint brown or yellow. In other words, you can take away the yellow tint and change an M color to a G color or just accentuate the yellow or brown to make it a fancy color.
- Irradiation: Using high energy rays, irradiation changes the color diamond into your desirable fancy color.
- Setting: You can affect the color diamond by your choice of metal color. If you choose platinum or white gold, your near-colorless diamond looks colorless. If you choose yellow gold, your faint color diamond looks yellowish.
How Do I Make my Diamond Ring Sparkle?
The below tips will help you maintain the premier sparkle of your diamond engagement ring:
- Have a separate box for your diamond ring
- Do not touch the diamond while taking off and putting on the engagement ring
- Take the ring for checking two times a year
- Do not have it on while busy with harsh chemicals
- Clean it four times a year
Which Clarity is the Best for Diamonds?
Although the answer to this question is complex, the rarest clarity grade is a Flawless (FL). A diamond with an FL clarity grade represents a diamond with almost no inclusions (internal flaws) and blemishes (external flaws). Since only 1% of all diamonds have flawless clarity, they are far more expensive than other diamonds.
Where Can I Buy a Diamond in Chicago?
The Chicago Diamond District is the most appropriate place where you can buy diamonds in the Chicagoland area. Jewelers Row offers you a variety of engagement ring specialized stores with professional and experienced jewelry designers. You can compare and contrast with different stores, prices, and designers, and decide what is best for you before buying a diamond in Chicago.
By: Koorosh Daneshgar CEO/Design Chief