Diamond Color - Why it's Important
The term "color" in diamond buying is really the opposite of what you may think. When making your selection, you're not actually looking for the presence of a particular color. Instead, your ideal diamond will have as little color as possible. Most diamonds appear icy white, but many have tiny hints of color, usually yellow.
The closer to white or "colorless" the stone appears, the more valuable it is. Colorless diamonds are extremely rare, and therefore very valuable. The reason - the absence of color allows more light to pass through the stone. As more light enters, more light also exits the diamond, thereby emitting a higher level of sparkle or "fire". However, there are no hard and fast rules for what color makes a diamond beautiful. Color characteristics in diamonds are a result of composition and will not change over time.
Diamonds were formed under intense heat and pressure. Colorless diamonds are composed of pure carbon. Traces of other elements incorporated into their atomic structure account for the variances in color. A single change in diamond color grade can significantly affect a diamond's value.
For grading a diamond's color we use the alphabet scale developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The top end of this scale starts at "D," which represents the most colorless and highest quality stone available. The ratings continue all the way through the alphabet to "Z," with each letter indicating a slight increase in the amount of color (usually light yellow or brown) present in the stone.
Darker colored diamonds (K - Z) are particularly desirable when set in yellow gold. Higher colored whites (D - J) look stunning set in white gold or platinum.
Only 3 of the 23 grades are truly colorless. Gems of this level are rare and comprise 2% of the total number of gem-quality diamonds. Depending on size, a single grade in color can affect a diamond's value by thousands of dollars.
The color of the setting is also very important. A white diamond looks best in a white setting. This is why our diamond engagement rings are offered in white gold or two tone, a yellow ring with a white gold setting.
When purchasing your diamond, consider this:
Going one-step further, diamonds rated K through M will begin to show a hint of faint yellow in the stone, N - Z ratings contain visible yellow. To ensure that your diamond purchase is of the highest possible quality, Danforth Diamond does not offer any loose diamonds with a color rating below "J". Lower color grades can be used for diamonds set in yellow gold earrings and pendant type jewelry.
Fluorescence in a diamond is the effect that is seen in some gem-quality diamonds when they are exposed to long wave ultraviolet light (such as the lighting frequently seen in dance clubs). Under most lighting conditions, this fluorescence is not detectable to the eye. However, if a diamond is naturally fluorescent, it will emit a soft colored glow when held under an ultraviolet lamp. Fluorescence is not dangerous to the diamond or to the wearer; it is a unique and fascinating quality that occurs naturally in a number of gems and minerals.
Fancy Colored Diamonds
A very rare and expensive type of diamond, called "fancy color diamonds," may come in blue, green, yellow or other colors. These are the only diamonds actually made more valuable because their color exceeds the GIA color scale.
Fancy colored diamonds can be special ordered. Call one of our diamond and jewelry consultants. They will help you select the perfect fancy colored diamond and engagement ring to fit your budget.
Fancy color diamonds look exceptionally great in three stone engagement rings with a fancy color center stone and two white diamond side stones; or a white center diamond with two fancy colored diamonds as side stones.
Use the links below to learn more about diamonds and the 4 C's:
Now that you’ve learned all about diamonds; use your knowledge to shop for your perfect diamond engagement ring.