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Diamond Color

The Four Cs: Color

Many people consider diamonds to be white or colorless. This is not the case. The diamonds come in a variety of tints and hues. Infact colorless diamonds and the fancy colored diamonds are both very rare and most of the diamonds that we see are usually near-colorless having a yellow or a brown tint. Consider these diamonds to be yellowish-white or brownish-white.

Diamonds also come in a variety of fancy colors such as green, pink, blue, purple etc and these colors are extremely rare and very valuable when compared to colorless or near-colorless diamonds. With color-less and near-colorless diamonds the value is perceived on the absence of color and with fancy colored diamonds the presence of color is what influences the value.

Color & Value:

Within the normal color range which is from D-Z (and many a time D-M as on this website) the price difference can significant going from one color to the other. A one carat D color diamond is 500% more expensive than an M color diamond (everything else staying the same). Within the normal color range, color-less diamonds are the rarest and that’s what drives their value up. While a naked, untrained eye may not be able to tell the difference between an E color and an F color diamond the price variation between these two colors is significant.


Color Scale:

The D-Z scale was developed by Richard T Liddicoat at GIA in the 50s. It described the normal color range from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow, brown or grey). Right now this scale is the most widely used and understood scale to describe diamond colors and also used in diamond grading certificates. The letter D-Z do not represent an actual color of the diamond but it represents a range of color on the scale. The letter represents the saturation (or presence) of color in a diamond with D having no color saturation and Z having the most. Diamond with color saturation more than Z are graded on the fancy color diamond scale. Remember that diamonds having primary hue as Yellow, Brown or Gray are graded on the D-Z scale as other color hues, however light, will be graded on the fancy color scale – because of their rarity. So a diamond that has a pink hue with saturation equivalent to H-color will not be graded as an H color diamond but instead will be graded on the fancy color diamond scale.

Diamond Fluorescence :

Fluorescence is described as an emission of visible light by a material (in this case diamond) when it’s exposed to ultraviolet radiation. This light is almost always blue in color but there may be diamonds having different fluorescence color like green, orange, yellow, red, and white. According to GIA about 35% of all diamonds show some kind of fluorescence. Strong blue fluorescence in a diamond can make an other-wise light yellow diamond look colorless or near-colorless in the sunlight because the UV exposure activates the blue emission which cancels out the yellow. However some of the strong fluorescence diamond may appear cloudy, oily or hazy and you should always ask your jeweller’s opinion on the negative effect of the fluorescence on a diamond.