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Diamond Color

Diamonds come in a variety of colors, and there is even an occasional red diamond. However, the most important thing to know about diamond color is that, generally, the less color a diamond has, the more valuable it is, all other factors being equal. This is because color in diamonds comes from imperfections, impurities, or structural defects that cause coloration. Pure diamonds are perfectly transparent and colorless.

“Fancy color diamonds” found in intense colors, like bright yellow, pink, blue, and red, are not graded on the normal diamond color scale and are not discussed here.

Instead, what we will focus on below is the color grading system for traditional diamonds, which is the uniform system that diamond certifiers use by comparing a diamond’s color against a spectrum of colors labeled from D through Z, with D being the most colorless, purest, rarest, and most valuable color, and Z as having the most color (light yellow) for a non-fancy diamond. The spectrum from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is below:

Diamond color scheme

Diamond Select notes that you need not worry about finding out that you purchased a diamond in the “noticeable color” spectrum (K-Z) on the color scale above. Diamond Select only chooses diamonds with grades of D through J so that every diamond available on this website is certified to be either Colorless or Near-Colorless.

A diamond’s color is most accurately determined when it is not mounted in a setting, since settings can introduce tints of their own color into the diamond. This is more evident in yellow gold settings, and less so in white gold and platinum settings. For this reason, gemological laboratories will only grade loose diamonds.

Now, a Colorless (D,E, or F) color ranking (while impressive) often makes a diamond so expensive that generally the loose diamond can only be in the range of affordable stones Diamond Select sells if other elements of the 4C’s are not so impressive: thus, available diamonds with D or E color could have a Fair cut rating, which means that the color is perfectly colorless, but the stone will have less “sparkle” than a stone with a Very Good cut. Or you can move to the Near-Colorless range (G, H, I, or J) and you can improve on the cut without increasing the price.

As noted at the start of the Education section, you need to balance diamond attributes to get the best diamond that reflects which of the 4Cs is most important to you. (And remember that at Diamond Select, the 60-Day Worry Free Return Policy means that if you end up deciding that you don’t love the diamond you have picked, you can return it at no cost.)

Flourescence

Diamond Flouresence refers to the tendency of some diamonds to fluoresce, or emit a soft-colored glow, when subjected to ultraviolet light (such as a “black light”). Virtually all diamonds flouresce when exposed to X-rays (which is how diamonds are found at mining sites). But flourescence occurs only in a third of all gem-grade diamonds when they are exposed to the ultraviolet light produced by black lighting. In most cases, fluorescence is caused by the presence of nitrogen as a trace element.

The fluorescence grades of inert, faint, negligible, and medium, reflect a flourescence that can only be detected by a trained gemologist under very controlled lighting conditions. On the other hand, strong and very strong flourescence can be seen by the naked eye in a black light situation. Only 10% of diamonds that exhibit flourescence are in the medium, strong, or very strong categories.

The theory behind grading flourescence is that it can be considered bad or good, depending on the Diamond Color grading. For diamonds with Colorless (D,E, or F) or Near-Colorless (G, H, I, or J) grades, a diamond that exhibits very strong or strong flourescence can be listed as slightly lower in price as some think that flourescence can make colorless diamonds appear cloudy. For diamonds on the Faint Yellow spectrum (K, L, or M -- low-grade colors not offered by Diamond Select), flourescence is considered to be a positive thing, as the blue undertones to flourescence can balance the yellow color and make the diamond seem whiter.

The weight that should be given to flourescence, however, is still undetermined by the industry. Thus, at Diamond Select, we believe that flourescence should be amongst the least of your concerns when selecting a diamond.