Wondering what color? Aren’t Diamonds supposed to be entirely colorless?
We know how this answer might break a long term notion of yours. But yes, Diamonds can also show off a color or in most cases, some hints of color! And that color, unlike in the case of any other stone (or fancy colored diamonds), decreases the value of the Diamond.
So, Colorless Diamonds are unquestionably the most desirable ones in the market today but are equally rare. In complete justice to that, Certified laboratories also place great value to them while grading Diamond color.
There is much more to Diamond color and we’re here to discuss it all. Right from what makes a Diamond exude some hints of color to how to figure out the best one, here is everything you need to know:
What does the term Diamond Color mean and how does a Diamond exude color?
The name itself gives it away that Diamond color simply means the body hue that a Diamond shows off. Those that possess no color are prized for their beauty and brilliance (since colorless diamonds sparkle better).
The color is nothing but a result of impurities (trace elements) or structural distortions present in a Natural Diamond. The type and amount of impurities determine the hue, saturation, and tone of the color seen in a diamond. For example, nitrogen impurities can result in a yellow or brown hue, while boron impurities can cause a blue hue.
Diamond Color Grade Scale
Wondering “How do I pick the right colorless diamond for myself?” The good news is that each certified Diamond color is assigned a grade by gemological laboratories. That implies that it goes through legitimate inspection and assessment to fetch a grade on the basis of its hue, saturation, and tone.
The simple mantra of this standardized system is- the more absent the color, more valuable and higher in grade is the diamond. Diamonds that display no color top the grading list. So, you can simply judge the quality of its color by looking at the grade assigned to it. Higher grade also means a higher price tag.
- Colorless (D-F):
Diamonds that belong to this color grade are the rarest and (justifiably) the most pricey ones. They possess no hint of color and are icy white in appearance. Some suggest that less than 1 % of Diamonds belong to this category.
- Nearly Colorless (G-J):
Those that fit in this category are highly sought-after for possessing no hints of colors that are visible to the naked eye. The color traces are only visible under magnification. On top of that, they are not as pricey as colorless ones. Thus, Diamonds of this grade are hailed as the most popular one for their high value for money.
- Faintly Colored (K-M):
Diamonds that possess slight hints of a faint color belong to this category. Interestingly, if you purchase a smaller diamond (say of 0.5 carats), you wouldn’t notice the color as much or at all. They are also comparatively pocket-friendly.
- Very Light (N-R):
This color grade is not as desirable since Diamonds belonging here are home to visible traces of very light yellow color.
- Light (S-Z):
Diamonds existing in this color grade are the least desirable and valuable. They possess light traces of yellow and brown color that are evidently visible to the naked eye.
The three dominant aspects of Diamond Color
The three main factors that go on to define the quality of Diamond’s color are: hue, saturation, and tone. Grading laboratories place significant value on them, and thus they come in handy for grading diamonds.
In diamond grading, "hue" refers to the body color of a diamond, or the presence of any other color besides the primary color of the stone (usually yellow or brown). Hue can range from colorless to a variety of colors, including yellow, brown, pink, blue, green, and others. For a colorless Diamond to be desirable, it should ideally have no hue.
"Saturation" simply means the intensity or strength of a diamond's hue. A diamond with a strong saturation will have a deeper and more vivid body color, whereas a diamond with low saturation will have a more washed out or pale hue. For a colorless diamond to fetch a higher grade, it should possess low saturation, close to being colorless.
"Tone" simply insinuates towards the lightness or darkness of a diamond's body color. Tone ranges from colorless (the highest value) to very dark. Tone is often used in combination with hue and saturation to describe the color of a diamond and to help determine its value. A colorless diamond is considered more desirable when it possesses high tone.
Additional factors that affect diamond color
It is to be noted that while the color of diamond is absolutely the result of the naturally occurring impurities present inside it. That in no way means that other factors do not have their fair share of influence.
- Carat Size:
To no surprise, a large diamond displays more color than the smaller ones. That’s because of the larger surface area to reflect light and the fact that large diamonds often have lower clarity grades, which can amplify any existing color within the stone. So, if you’re after a diamond above 1 carat, try going for at least a H color grade. But in case you’re looking for a diamond under 1 carat, you can also settle for a I,J, or K color grade.
- Metal Color:
Choosing the right metal setting is all about how well it goes with the color grade of your Diamond. Precisely, if you go for a white gold metal for your setting, it puts more emphasis on the colorlessness of your diamond. But if you decide on a colored metal, say yellow gold, its warm tone will cast a balancing effect to a faint yellow diamond. So, whatever color grade you invest in, being smart with the metal can help you elevate its visual appeal.
- Diamond Cut and Shape:
If you understand Diamond Cut, you may know that it has a significant impact on the other Cs. And the color is no exception! A Diamond is cut in a manner so as to maximize its brilliance, which can also reduce the appearance of any color that may be present in it. For instance, a round brilliant diamond exudes maximum sparkle and is best known for overshadowing the presence of faint color with its cut. While Oval Shapes tend to show more color, even if you’re at the range of G-J.
What are Fancy Colored Diamonds?
You’d be surprised to know that Diamonds come in a beautiful palette of colors. The most rare to find colors in this palette are Red, green, purple, and orange. Pink and blue are also quite prized and rare. Apart from them, yellow and brown are somewhat common and as a result, less in value.
Diamonds that exhibit these vivid hues are fondly referred to as ‘fancy colored diamonds.’ These are so rare that as per stats, only 1 out of 10,000 diamonds are naturally hued with these body colors. Interestingly, contrary to colorless diamonds, they are graded on the basis of the presence of color. So clearly, the grade system of colorless diamonds has nothing to do with the fancy ones. Fancy colored diamonds have a separate grade system of their own.