The Many Diamond Colors
“Color” is defined as an “absence of color” because the best diamond color is no color at all. “Color” means something different yet the term is interactive with “fire”, which is a diamond’s unique ability to bend light like a prism, producing bright inner flashes of reds, blues, and greens. Fire is a contributing characteristic for why diamonds are so visually appealing.
What are the different Color grades?
The highest grade is “D color” and the lowest is “Z.” The Geological Institute of America’s color scale originated with D instead of A to avoid confusion with the many competing color grading scales that were in existence years ago. Body-tones – or “color” – are usually yellow but also can be brown or gray.
D Completely colorless. This is very rare and is the highest grade. Floyd & Green strongly recommends this color.
E Colorless. Minute traces of body-tone detectable only by an experienced gemologist. There is no perceptible difference in body-tone from D once the diamond is set into jewelry. This grade is rare and a very high grade. Floyd & Green strongly recommends this color grade.
F Colorless. There are slight traces of body-tone detectable by an experienced gemologist. There are barely perceptible differences in body-tone from D once the diamond is set into jewelry. This is a high grade. Floyd & Green strongly recommends this color grade.
G Near-colorless. There is body-tone that is readily detectable to an experienced gemologist. There are slightly noticeable differences from colorless diamonds when compared side-by-side in a setting. This is still a high-grade color that Floyd & Green recommends.
H Near-colorless. Body-tone is readily detectable to a novice when compared side-by-side with colorless diamonds. There is significant difference from colorless diamonds when compared side-by-side in a setting. This is a higher-than-average grade color that is still recommended by Floyd & Green.
I Near-colorless. There is body-tone easily detectable to a novice when compared side-by-side with colorless diamonds. There is a significant difference from colorless diamonds when compared side-by-side in a setting. This is a respectable color grade, especially if used in yellow gold.
J Near-colorless. The body-tone is obvious to a novice when looking for it. Near colorless is its technical term but it is not near-colorless in reality. The body-tone is less noticeable if set in yellow gold and may appear one to two color grades higher if medium to strong fluorescence is present. This grade is recommended only in some circumstances.
K→W Faint to Light Color. The body-tone in these grades is so obvious that it detracts from the diamond’s beauty. These grades are not recommended unless you require a particular size for your diamond but have a limited budget.
X, Y & Z If the body tone is yellow, then, in certain cases, it can be set it into to jewelry so that it appears as if it’s “Fancy Yellow.” This would be desirable because its price will be much lower than that of a Fancy Yellow.
How important is color?
Some online education represents color as a personal preference, saying you may prefer the “warmth” of a diamond with a touch of color. These statements are old wives’ tales – also known as bad advice. Find a diamond expert you find trustworthy who will show you many diamonds side by side in varied lighting environments. Almost no one will prefer a lower-color diamond when presented in this professional manner. Floyd & Green helps you chose the highest color within your budget balanced among the other characteristics that determine a diamond’s beauty.
It’s difficult to distinguish between, for example, an E and an F color diamond once set into a ring. Even gemologists cannot determine an exact color grade when the diamond is set in a ring, so it’s best to consider a range of two colors. You will easily notice color differences when viewing a series of upside-down diamonds set on a white background. Setting them upside-down eliminates the shards-of-rainbow-colors that can “confuse” your brain’s color perception.
Floyd & Green will show you diamonds using this procedure so that you’ll see color just as gemologists do. You’ll even see the difference between two diamonds of the same color since each color grade has a range from low to high.
How do gemologists grade color?
Gemologists line up a set of pre-graded diamonds, placed upside-down on a white background in grade sequence. The diamond being graded is “jumped” along the line, like checkers, until its color matches. The room’s lighting and environment must be matched to the GIA’s specifications and the pre-graded “comparison diamonds” must be certified by the GIA because ones from lesser gemological labs’ are different.