There are many things to consider when purchasing diamonds. Experts use the four C’s – Color, Clarity, Carat and Cut, to evaluate each stone and determine its overall value. Diamond color normally refers to the absence of any color in a white diamond as opposed to a colored stone. The color of a diamond is the result of its composition and will remain the same no matter how long you have the stone. Colorless diamonds allow more light to pass through the stone and therefore emit more sparkle and shine when the light hits them. The overall formation process of each diamond ensures that there are only very few true colorless stones. Therefore if you do find a diamond that is completely colorless, expect to pay a hefty price for it.
Diamond color is only one of the things that jewelers look for when evaluating a stone. The color along with the diamond’s clarity, cut and carat weight will be evaluated to determine the true value of each stone. Understanding how a diamond is evaluated will help you to ensure that you get your money’s worth when buying stones.
There are a number of differences in diamond color that you should understand when purchasing a stone. All diamonds are not colorless. Those that are considered colorless are called white diamonds and these are used to judge other hues of color. The Gemological Institute of America offers a strict set of guidelines that help to determine the overall color grade of each diamond. In order to be graded, diamonds must be loose. Once the diamond is set in a metal setting, the metal itself can affect the overall color of the stone.
In order for a diamond to be graded and the diamond color to be determined, the stones must be viewed with a magnifier. A lettering system is in place to grade each diamond based on its true color. The lettering system consists of stones that range from a D grade to a Z grade. D grade is considered to be the most valuable and includes those very rare colorless diamonds. Very few diamonds in the world are considered to be ‘D’ grade based on color.
When determining diamond colors, keep in mind that diamonds that are colorless and those that are yellow in color are grouped into the lettering grade system. Those diamonds that have specific colors such as black and pink diamonds have their own color grading system and standards. Stones that are placed in a D, E or F grade are colorless. Those that are nearly colorless receive a grade of G, H, I or J. Stones that are only faintly tinted and appear yellowish in color are given a grade of K, L or M. Grades of N, O, P, Q and R are reserved for stones that are lightly tinted and can be seen without the use of a magnifier. Finally, stones classed in categories S through Z are typically tinted yellow to brown. Any consumer can easily see this tint and it may show even when the stone is mounted in a setting.
Diamond color is affected by additional factors as well. Fluorescence or how the diamond’s color changes when exposed to ultraviolet radiation is considered when grading color. Diamonds with fluorescence tend to change in color when introduced to UV rays. There are also diamond color treatments that can affect how a diamond’s color changes and what the color appears to be. High pressure and high temperature can substantially change the color of a diamond. These treatments have been used for years and special coatings are often applied that can temporarily alter the appearance of a stone.
Overall, diamond color will affect its value and its price. Color, however, is not the most important thing to consider when purchasing diamonds. While you should consider the color of the stone, you should also think about the other C’s. If your budget is not going to support a stone with a good grade, this does not necessarily mean that you will not receive a beautiful diamond. You simply have to choose the best grade that your budget supports. Diamonds that are graded from G through J are typically very beautiful stones and can be used to create fascinating jewelry. Find an experienced jeweler to help you determine which stone is best for your budget and which one offers the most value based on the four C’s.