In Depth: The Color of a Diamond
The Color of a diamond is one of the 4Cs—clarity, cut, and carat weight being the other. The four rating criteria is set out by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and adopted by the entire diamond industry. Learning about diamond color is an important part of the education process when shopping for an engagement ring, so we’d love to tell you more about what this metric really means.
What Is Diamond Color?
Diamond color is actually based on absence of color. The less color a white diamond has, the more valuable it is. Even though they look clear to our eyes, diamonds can contain small traces of color within their crystal structure, most often tints of yellow or brown.
The Diamond Color Scale
White diamonds are rated on a diamond color scale developed by the GIA. This color-grading system is divided into ranges designated by letters of the alphabet, starting with Colorless (D, E and F) which have no color at all, and ending with Z, the most tinted. Customers sometimes describe diamonds higher up on the color grading scale as “brighter,” slightly confusing diamond clarity and color. Colorless diamonds with a D rating are rarer and therefore more costly.
Diamond color G-J on the grading scale is known as Near Colorless and might not look very different from a Colorless diamond to an untrained eye, meaning it could be considered a good value for some buyers. However, stones with a grading of K (Faint Color) and onward are noticeably less beautiful. For this reason, we advise against selecting anything beyond a K color diamond on the grading scale.
Kwiat diamonds are always in the Colorless to Near Colorless range, graded from D to J on the diamond color chart.
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How To Differentiate Between Color Gradings
Because differences in color between diamonds that are one, two, or even three color grades apart can be difficult to perceive, diamonds are professionally graded against white backgrounds in controlled lighting environments.
Additionally, looking at the top half a diamond (called the “crown”) makes it harder to notice its body color, since diamond cuts are designed to reflect light upwards. It is easier to see a diamond’s body color through its bottom half (called the “pavilion”).
A well-cut diamond can mask some of the internal color. At Kwiat, the superior quality of our cutting makes our diamonds appear whiter.
Colorless Diamonds VS Fancy Color Diamonds
Unlike colorless white diamonds, fancy colored diamonds increase in value with more color saturation. Fancy color diamonds are rarer than white diamonds and are also graded on a different scale.
Of all the fancy colors, yellow diamonds are the most commonly available on the market. A red color diamond is the rarest of all. A green color diamond is also extremely rare. Blue and pink diamonds are also highly prized for their rarity and beauty.
Be sure not to confuse a low-color-grade white diamond with a yellowish or brownish tint with a fancy color diamond; they are not the same thing.
Diamond Shapes Showcase Color Differently
Some diamond cuts make color is less apparent, even as far down the scale as the J color grade. Cuts that mask diamond color include round brilliant, Ashoka®, and old European cuts. Step cuts such as emerald and Asscher diamonds also conceal tints well.
Alternatively, certain shapes and cuts highlight a diamond’s color. This means that color grades become more apparent as you move lower down on the scale. Cushion and oval shapes and radiant cuts can exhibit tints as early as the H color grade.