Diamonds come in a wide-range of colors (e.g. pink, blue, black, yellow) but in white diamonds color actually refers to the absence of color in the diamond. White diamonds are valued higher; the more colorless they appear to the naked eye.
Color is a very important characteristic in a white diamond. Part of the 4Cs of diamond grading, it is one of the most important factors that consumers consider when purchasing a stone. The GIA uses a scale of D to Z when grading diamond color, with D being the most colorless and Z showing the most color. While diamonds on the lower end of the scale can show some color, they are still categorized as white diamonds. Fancy yellow diamonds are graded differently and are valued higher the more color they show.
Diamond Color Guide for White Diamonds
D, E, F
D to F diamonds are all graded as colorless diamonds. Despite belonging to the same colorless grade, there are slight differences in color among the three but it’s difficult to spot with an untrained eye. Only gemologists and trained valuation experts are able to notice these differences in color.
Near Colorless Diamonds
G and H Diamonds are near colorless. While they show some color, it is barely visible to the naked eye. As such, diamonds in the G to H range are still considered very valuable and are priced very high.
Near Colorless – Slightly Tinted
Still categorized as near colorless, I to J diamonds are abundant in jewelry stores and other retail establishments. Such diamonds offer great value to consumers, as they sell for much lower than diamonds in the D to F range and diamonds in the G to H range white still maintaining a near colorless appearance especially when set in a platinum or white gold band. Diamonds in these color grades typically retail for 50% less than those in the D to F range.
K, L, M
Diamonds in this color range often carry some noticeable color that can be seen by the naked, untrained eye. They usually sell for half the price of diamonds in the G to H range. Setting a diamond in this color range on a platinum or white gold setting may lessen the visible yellow tinge but color is still visible when viewed up-close.
Very Light Yellow
N to R
N to R diamonds show more color than those in the K to M range and are usually avoided by many, as the yellow color may sometimes appear brown and murky. Due to the presence of color, there isn’t a very high demand for diamonds in this color range. As such, most jewelers don’t carry diamonds in the N to R color range.
S to Z
Diamonds in the S to Z range show a lot of color. Like diamonds in the N to R range, there is a low demand for diamonds in this color range, which is why few jewelers stock such diamonds.
Yellow and Brown Diamonds
Diamonds that show an intense yellow or brown color are graded as fancy color diamonds. The color in these diamonds are much more intense than Z-color diamonds and are valued not for the absence of color but rather for the presence of color. The Tiffany Diamond is one of the most valuable fancy yellow diamonds discovered. It is also one of the largest, weighing 287.42 carats. Fancy yellow diamonds have gained popularity in recent years due to jewelry chains like Tiffany and Co. and some celebrity engagements.
Other Fancy Color Diamonds
Unlike colorless diamonds, which are graded for the absence of color on the stone, fancy color diamonds like blue, pink, and black are graded for the presence of color in the stone. The more intense and saturated the color in fancy color diamonds, the higher the value.
Since diamonds are priced and valued for their rarity, fancy color diamonds typically sell for much higher than colorless diamonds (sometimes, even higher than colorless diamonds in the D to F color range).
Some of the most expensive diamonds in the world are green diamonds, blue diamonds, and pink diamonds that are high in saturation. Natural black diamonds can also be very expensive especially since most black diamonds in the market are lab treated low-grade colorless diamonds.
Like white diamonds, slight differences in color on fancy color diamonds can significantly affect its value and price.
Since not all diamonds of the same color show the same amount of intensity and saturation, they are graded based on the intensity of the color they show when in the face-up position. They are classified using the following color grades: Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Dark, Fancy Deep, and Fancy Vivid.
Basically, the more intense and saturated the color is in a fancy color diamond, the more valuable and expensive it is.
Diamond colors come in a very large variety and gem laboratories use 27 different color hues to describe a diamond (e.g. orange, red, green, blue, violet, purple, orangish red, bluish-green, bluish-violet, reddish-purple, etc.)
Diamond colors can come in red, pink, purple, yellow, blue, steel gray, black, milky white, and brown. Of all the fancy color diamonds, brown diamonds are the most common. Despite being the earliest diamonds used in jewelry, they are not very popular with consumers. Consumers usually prefer brown diamonds that are very dark in color compared to lighter varieties.
Aside from rarity, fancy color diamonds typically increase in popularity when they are featured in celebrity engagements and other high-profile engagements.