The Four C's: Color


The absence of color allows the most natural light to pass through the diamond. Therefore, for most preferences, the best color is no color at all, or “colorless”. Most diamonds have a lesser or greater degree of yellow or brown color, sometimes so slight that it is virtually imperceptible, while many others on the market display more readily visible tints. Diamonds from D to F in color are considered to be Colorless, while diamonds graded G to J are considered Near Colorless. As colors descend from K to Z, they start to show faint to very noticeable tints. Some rare diamonds have very intense or exotic colors (canary yellow, pink, blue, green, purple, or even red) and can be extraordinarily valuable.

D-Z Color Chart, GIA

If all other factors are equal, the less color in a diamond, the more valuable a diamond becomes. Likewise, as the amount of color increases, the price of a diamond decreases. However, a slight downgrade in color does not necessarily reduce the beauty of a diamond.

Fluorescence in Diamonds

Fluorescence, is a property in some diamonds that makes them glow a certain color (usually blue) when placed in an ultraviolet rich environment. Strong, very strong and sometimes medium blue fluorescence will tend to neutralize any yellowish tint in diamonds H in color or below (I,J,K etc) giving them a whiter appearance. Such fluorescence in some of the ‘lower’ color grades may even enhance the value of these stones. Strong blue fluorescence in diamonds will generally not improve the look of a stone with fine color, and may even detract a few percent from the value of those diamonds. On rare occasions, some diamonds with very strong blue fluorescence can have a hazy or ‘milky’ appearance that significantly reduces their value. We avoid offering such stones for sale; you should avoid them as well.

Color Impact on Beauty and Price of Jewelry

  • Impact on Beauty: Diamond color grades D through J are considered colorless or nearly colorless, and as such will make exquisite jewelry. D, E, and F colors, however are the most highly prized as they are considered “colorless.” Please keep in mind that earrings and pendants do not generally receive the same scrutiny as the feature diamond in a ring. For that reason, you might consider sacrificing a little in color in exchange for greater size.

  • Impact on Price: Subtle differences in color may account for dramatic differences in price. When you are certain of the color grade of the diamond (per its certificate and/or its actual appearance), selecting a diamond that is a grade or two lower than another will reduce the cost per carat and may allow for the selection of a larger diamond – often with little if any visible difference when the stone is mounted.

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