We all know that colorless white diamonds are among the most desirable, but have you asked yourself “Why?” Let’s see what the real reason is behind the high value of colorless diamonds and find out if there are other types of diamonds that are prized just as highly.
What “Colorless” Means in the Context of Diamonds
In diamond quality grading, colorless diamonds are those stones that do not have visible yellowish tints.
According to the grading scale of the G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America), such diamonds are put in the Colorless grading range and are assigned a letter grade of D (the highest), E or F.
The next best grading range is called Near Colorless.
Diamonds classified here are assigned a grade of G, H, I or J.
These stones also don’t show any signs of color when looked at in isolation, although they may appear slightly darker if put next to a Colorless diamond.
Diamonds whose color is graded with a letter grade from K down to Z have some yellowish tints, which vary in intensity from faint to light. These stones are not considered colorless.
Why Colorless Diamonds Are More Valuable Than Yellowish Ones
While there may be a lot of arguments supporting the high prices of colorless diamonds, such as how pure they look or how magnificent they are, the main reason for their high value is simple: rarity.
Colorless diamonds are so sought after and expensive because they are very hard to find.
In fact, most diamonds found in nature are not colorless but yellowish and brownish, and this is why stones with such tints are relatively cheap.
But if the roles were reversed and the yellowish diamonds were extremely rare while the white ones were abundant, the former would be very expensive while the latter would be quite cheap.
Are Colorless Diamonds Always More Valuable Than Other Diamonds?
Although they are rare, colorless diamonds are not always more valuable than tinted diamonds. And the best way to see that rarity is what makes a certain color (or its absence) valuable is to take a look at the prices of fancy-colored diamonds.
For example, red and blue diamonds are among the rarest, and that’s why they can cost much more than a colorless diamond.
While white diamonds with yellow tints may be discounted in value, fancy-colored yellow diamonds with an intense hue are not treated like low-quality stones, and they can be just as expensive as colorless diamonds.
In general, naturally colored diamonds with rare hues and a saturated color command pretty high prices exactly because such stones are not available in abundance.
Should You Always Choose Colorless Diamonds?
If you are looking for a white diamond, you don’t necessarily need to pay a lot of money to get a stone in the top color grade. Round diamonds with a color graded G, H, I or J look pretty much as colorless as stones graded D, E or F.
The only time you would be able to see a difference between a D-color and a G-color stone, for example, is when they are put next to each other.
However, once a diamond is set individually, the only thing that matters is how its color compares to that of the setting.
For a yellow gold setting, you can even pick a diamond with slight yellowish tints, as they will be indistinguishable from the color of the gold.
Such a stone will actually look white in yellow gold because of the contrast between the color of the setting and the much brighter hue of the diamond.
This is why you can buy a stone graded as low as K, L or M, and it will still look relatively colorless when set in yellow gold.