If you are interested in buying a diamond and do some research on the topic, you will find out that diamond color is one of the most important determinants of a stone’s quality. But is there a diamond color grade that is considered best?
How Diamond Color Is Graded
There are different color grading scales, but the most popular one is that of the G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America).
On this scale, color is graded by using letters from D to Z. Take a look at what the different letter grades mean:
D, E, F – These diamonds are graded Colorless; there is little difference from one grade to the next, and the variation in color is not visible to the naked eye.
G, H, I, J – Stones graded with one of these letters are categorized as Near Colorless; they contain yellowish tints, but these hints of color are barely visible.
K, L, M – Diamonds in this group are graded Faint Yellow.
N to Z – Stones in this range are graded Very Light Yellow to Light Yellow; their color is easily seen, and they are cheaper.
Diamonds that have a very rich color are considered fancy-color diamonds and are not graded on this scale. Sometimes, such stones are referred to as being Z+ color grade.
The Most Affordable Colorless Diamonds
The less color a white diamond has, the more valuable it is considered.
If you are looking to buy a colorless diamond, you need to focus on the D-E-F range. Diamonds graded D have the best color; they are, however, very rare and expensive.
If you want to buy a colorless diamond and also save some money, go with the lower end of the range and get an F.
You can save a significant amount and you won’t need to worry about the color – the difference between D and F can be detected using precise color measurement tools, but it is virtually invisible to the naked eye.
What About Other Colors?
Whether you will go with a colorless diamond or one that has some tint depends on your preferences and budget.
Keep in mind that if a diamond is nearly colorless, it may look exceptionally white when looked at in isolation, but the difference will be noticeable if you put it next to a colorless stone.
However, when wearing your diamond, you won’t be comparing it with other stones, so you shouldn’t be overly concerned about how perfect your diamond’s color is.
If you want to save even more money, you can get a Near Colorless diamond in the G-J range. As long as the stone is not large (less than 1 carat) it will look not much different from a technically colorless one.
When deciding how much down the grading scale you can go and still be happy with the color you get, consider these additional factors:
- The higher the carat of the diamond you are buying, the more important the color will be, as larger stones are more visible.
- If you are purchasing a Colorless or Near Colorless diamond, keep in mind that it’s best if the stone is set in a white metal (platinum, silver or white gold). Colored metals, such as yellow or rose gold, will spoil the colorless appearance of the diamond, and their reflections will make the stone look tinted with the metal’s original color.
- If you buy a diamond that has a faint or light hue, you shouldn’t have it set in a white metal because the stone’s color will stand out in the setting. Such diamonds are best mounted in colored metals. A K, L or M grade diamond set in yellow gold is a good choice if you are concerned about price.
- Keep in mind that even if your diamond is colorless, if its cut is poor, the stone’s brilliance will be lost. Always pay close attention to cut because its proportions are an important determinant of diamond sparkle. Don’t focus blindly on color.
A Word About Certification and Color Ranges
Always ask if the diamond you are looking at is certified, preferably by the G.I.A. or a similarly reputable organization.
If there is no certificate, there is also no way for you to know the exact color grade of the stone, regardless of what the salesperson tells you.
Be wary if someone tries to sell you a diamond while referring to its color as a letter range and not an exact grade.
On the G.I.A. scale, color is graded with specific letters, and if the salesperson tells you that a diamond’s color grade is D-F or something similar, this most likely means that the seller doesn’t know what the exact color is.