It is imperative that you buy your diamonds from a reputable dealer that offers high-quality photos and GIA certification. We recommend James Allen for their large selection and excellent customer service.
Diamonds are the most precious and eternal of all gemstones. Humankind, for centuries, has been allured by its exquisite beauty, inner fire, and unique physical qualities. Every stone is endowed with a character exclusively its own, and therefore, no two diamonds are alike.
One of the 4C’s of diamonds, diamond color, has a significant impact on the value of a diamond, which makes it an important consideration when buying a diamond. But what is diamond color?
Diamonds occur in two colors naturally :
Clear Diamonds: The clearer a diamond is, the greater its value is because it reflects more light. So, the most expensive diamonds are colorless, whereas stones with a yellowish tint have lesser worth. What is to be noted is that it’s very rare to find a diamond that doesn’t have any color at all.
Natural or Fancy Colored Diamonds: Natural or fancy colored diamonds are scarce to find, making them more precious and expensive. It is estimated that only one in every 10,000 diamonds possesses natural color and is referred to as ‘colored diamonds’. Diamonds are found in almost any naturally occurring color, including yellow, green, purple, blue, orange, and pink.
Diamonds Color Grade Scale
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) color scale is the industry standard for diamond grading. The GIA diamond color grades range from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown).
- D – F: Colorless diamonds - These are the rarest and highest quality diamonds and the most expensive ones. They display virtually no color and are icy white.
- G – J: Near-colorless diamonds - These diamonds have no noticeable color and provide excellent value.
- K – M: Faint Color - These diamonds have a slight hint of color and are great for setting in yellow gold.
- N – R: Very Light Yellow; S – Z: Light Yellow - These diamonds have strong yellow or brown tinting and are not recommended unless one prefers these deeper shades.
It is important to note that natural fancy color diamonds are highly prized and graded differently.
The Following video shows different diamond color grades:
Which Diamond Color is the Best?
Now with the details above, the confusing question arises that which diamond color grade should I buy?
Let's go over some considerations in choosing a diamond color grade:
- First, the most crucial consideration is the budget. Most buyers choose a D or E color grade, whereas many go with a near-colorless grade and allocate more on the best cut they can afford (which gives them more sparkle). Deciding whether or not you want to spend more on diamond color grade is partly related to the size and shape of the diamond you are considering and your setting preference.
- Second, the difference between one color grade and the next grade (for example, G grade diamond and H grade diamond) is so tiny that it is almost impossible to perceive the difference with the naked eye.
- Third, the shape of the diamond and the chosen metal for setting the diamond both affect deciding which color grade is the best.
- Fourth, color is more visible in large diamonds. You may consider buying I, J, or K grade diamonds if you buy a diamond under 1 carat. But it is recommended to buy H or higher grade diamonds for diamonds higher than 1 carat.
- Fifth, a well-cut diamond creates a radiant shine and sparkle. Without a quality cut, even a colorless diamond will look dull, and with a quality cut, even a low graded diamond with have a brilliant shine.
Recommendations for Diamond Color based on Shapes and Settings
Particular fancy-shaped diamonds hide color better than others and cost substantially less than a round-cut diamond.
It is wise to consider the color of the setting metal, which best compliments the color grade of the diamond. For example, diamonds of faint color look best in a yellow gold setting, whereas platinum or white gold makes a near-colorless diamond look icier.
Here are some examples of metal/setting types and corresponding diamond cuts. Also included is information on what color grades work best in those configurations.
- White Gold / Platinum Solitaire Ring
- Round: H – J (It is extremely difficult to notice the color element in grade quality higher than H)
- Princess, Emerald, Asscher: G– I grades
- All other diamond shapes: F – H grades
- Yellow Gold Ring
- Round: K – M grades (As the diamond color absorbs the yellow color of the gold, any grade higher than a K will look slightly yellowish.)
- Princess, Emerald, Asscher: J – K grades
- All other diamond shapes: I – J grades
- Pave/Side-stone or Halo settings
- Round, Princess, Emerald, and Asscher: G – I grades
- All other diamond shapes: F – H grades
- All other diamond shapes for Halo: F – H grades
Getting the Best Deal for the Diamond You Wish to Buy
The 4Cs (Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat) in totality determine the beauty and brilliance of the diamond. Therefore, it is difficult to differentiate between just one element, such as the color or the clarity, through untrained eyes and even with expert eyes. Thus, it is a wise idea to judge a diamond's beauty as a whole instead of focusing only on one characteristic.
Here are a few factors which will help you to invest smartly in your dream stone.
- Carat Weight – Carat weight affects the price and look of the diamond too. Higher the carat, the higher is the price.
- Cut Quality – Cut has the highest impact on the diamond's appearance. It is the 'cut' that finally creates the sparkling shine of the diamond. Hence, it is an intelligent idea to buy excellent and ideal cut diamonds.
- Color Grade – It is not necessary to buy only D-F grade range diamonds. Generally, diamonds in color grade G-I range also look white and cost lesser than those in a higher grade. Also, remember to take the setting metal into account.
- Clarity Grade – It is not required to stick only to diamonds in IF/FL range, but the key is to look for an eye-clean diamond. Most of the diamonds in the VS1-VS2 range are eye-clean and do not burn a hole in the pocket.
- Diamond Shape – Choosing the shape of the diamond (such as round, oval, cushion cut, etc.) should be a personal preference as no shape is better than the other. However, round-cut diamonds are the ones that give the most brilliance.
- Certificate – You should strongly consider buying diamonds that are certified by verified agencies such as GIA or AGS.
Diamonds are cherished possession and form an emotional connection with their possessor. With our recommendations above, we are sure that you will end up buying the diamonds of your dreams. However, also know that choosing a trusted jeweler is of utmost importance.
We strongly recommend buying diamonds from James Allen. They are the most reputed seller online, and they provide GIA certificates with their diamonds. In addition, they have the highest tech diamond imagery in the industry, making it easy to search and preview diamonds accurately.
Click here to visit James Allen, and have a seamless and stress-free experience buying your dream stone!
Happy Diamond Hunting!