The four C’s (cut, clarity, color, and carat) of a diamond are good indicators of the stone’s value, but slight differences in each aspect may not be evident to the naked eye. Of the four categories, color is one of the most interesting in its variation. Color grades are standardized with a system developed by the Gemological Institute of America (also known as the GIA).
A stone’s color is an inherent characteristic and cannot be changed by human hand and is therefore an important factor a finished diamond’s ultimate market price; diamond rings with high color grade stones are often more valuable that diamond rings that are set with stones of a lower color grade.
Color variations are often slight and may be difficult to spot, so don’t be surprised if you are unable to detect modest differences between similar grades. The classification of a stone’s color is a delicate process and each gem’s hue must be verified individually.
Most diamonds naturally fall into a standardized white scale that is broken up by lettered shades to denote faint color variation; grades D, E, and F rank as colorless. These are rare and therefore more desirable for mounting in diamond rings than grades S-Z, which denote stones that are tinted with a yellow or brownish hue.
The white scale breakdown is as follows:
D, E, F: colorless/white appearance
G, H, I, J: mostly white or near colorless in appearance; may look very similar to stones graded D, E, and F
K, L, M: faint yellow tones are more evident in appearance
N, O, P, Q, R: stone’s color has a very light yellow hue
S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z: Yellow appearance, possibly with brown coloration.
Color must be verified while still in loose form, as stones that are already set in diamond rings will appear to pick up some color from settings, adjacent stones, and ring band metals.
Reference Source: Beyond4cs.com – https://beyond4cs.com
Which Are The Most Valuable Diamonds?
White diamonds are traditionally considered to be the most valuable, but it may be beneficial to consider a ring’s overall design when evaluating color gradients, as stones with some color imperfection may be particularly complimentary in diamond rings with complex settings.
Fancy colored diamonds, or stones with a brilliantly tinted appearance, are very rare in nature. Diamond rings with pink, blue, red, or purple stones may be set with fancy colored diamonds to give them an unusual flair, but these gems are so rare that they often make for an exceptionally beautiful solitaire setting.
Diamonds in their purest form are naturally occurring; the structure of a diamond does not allow for gross irregularities or inclusions of considerable size. A diamond’s color, then, does not come from pollutants in its makeup but rather from elements present in the environment where the gem was formed.
This distinction is an important marker of the separation between fancy colored and yellow or brown diamonds and may be helpful to keep in mind as you are shopping.