Diamond Colour

  diamond colour

Diamond color information

The vast majority of diamonds sold in jewelry have a color that varies from a perfect colorless to a slight hint of yellow. The degrees of white are graded on a scale from D (most colorless) to Z (most yellow-tinted). This information on the degree of white of a stone, which is very important when buying a diamond, is noted and indicated on the certificates of quality and authenticity issued by the GIA, HRD and IGI laboratories.

What is called color when it comes to a white diamond?

 

Diamond is a colorless stone sparkling with the thousand sparkles of the rainbow. Most of the time, natural diamonds are more or less white. The hues ranging from colorless to yellow give the definition of the color of the diamond. When the slightly yellow hue exceeds a certain threshold, the diamond is no longer considered white, but a fancy color diamond, i.e. a colored diamond. Color is one of the four "C's" that are used as criteria for the international standard for diamond grading: Carat (weight), Clarity (clarity), Cut (cut), Color.

How to define the color of a diamond? The scale of graduation of the hues of color of a white diamond.

 

The most commonly used notation has been defined by the GIA, the Gemmological Institute of America, and is composed of letters from D to Z. The D is the most perfect value and the Z is the most yellow and therefore the worst on the white diamond scale.

D or Exceptional White + (formerly called "Jager")

These are the whitest diamonds. No color is perceptible to the eye of the specialist, from any angle. They are therefore considered colourless and therefore perfect and exceptional.

E or Exceptional White (formerly called "River")

Almost as exceptional as the D's, E diamonds are colorless to the naked eye. It is necessary to use reference samples to determine whether the diamond is D or E color based on a very small hue that only a specialist can determine. As with D, E diamonds are among the whitest stones.

F or White extra +

F diamonds are virtually colorless, but do not have the exceptional whiteness of D or E. A very slight yellowing is only detected at a certain angle by the eye of an expert. These are the diamonds that are most often used in fine jewelry.

G or Extra White (formerly called "Top Wesselton")

 

As with F, the color of the stone is extremely faint and only perceptible from a certain angle by an expert. It is the first quality sold in beautiful traditional jewelry stores. To the naked eye, these diamonds appear colorless once cut and mounted on a piece of jewelry.

Ask for an independent and recognized certificate (GIA, HRD or IGI) attesting the quality of these rare whites.

H or White (formerly called "Wesselton")

Even if the color of H diamonds is not visible from the front, it is particularly clear when an expert looks at it from the side. The hue of yellow is still very faint, however, and is only really noticeable to the naked eye when compared to a superior diamond when mounted.

I or Shaded White (formerly called "Top Crystal")

From diamonds I, the hue is visible from the front for the discerning eye. However, it is still weak enough to go unnoticed if the diamond is very well cut to give maximum brilliance to the stone.

These are very beautiful white diamonds (called "near colorless"), above the so-called "commercial" quality. Certificate always recommended for white diamonds greater than one carat.

J or Shaded White (formerly called "Crystal")

J diamonds, like the I's, have a hue that is visible to the trained eye: J diamonds appear warmer and softer to the eye. The yellow hue can be counterbalanced by a setting on a yellow gold setting.

K-L or Lightly Tinted (formerly called "Top Cape")

Lightly tinted diamonds are easily recognizable. The hue is visible to the untrained eye, even though the smaller ones still look white to an amateur. Diamonds of these colors still appear white to the naked eye to a non-professional if they are small (below 0.10 carat) but above 0.10 carat a color saturation occurs.

M-Z or Tinted, very pale yellow (formerly called "Light Cape", "Cape" or "Dark Cape" depending on the coloration)

Tinted diamonds are very easily identifiable, the hue is immediately visible and clearly tends towards yellow. Their hue can be slightly attenuated on a yellow gold jewel, but the difference with a higher colored diamond will be easily detectable.

Selection
of diamonds
by colour

Tinted white

0.50

J

VS1

EX

GIA

VAT Diamond Price

1387 €

White

0.50

H

VS1

VG

IGI

VAT Diamond Price

1522 €

Extra white

0.50

F

VS1

EX

IGI

VAT Diamond Price

1790 €

Exceptional white

0.50

D

VS1

EX

IGI

VAT Diamond Price

1947 €


Timeless collection
 

How to choose the color of your diamond when making a purchase?

 

Diamond Council

The whiter a diamond is, the more sparkling it is. The purpose of a diamond is to sparkle. This is why as diamond dealers, we recommend that you be very demanding on this criterion, even if first of all, you must already make sure that you choose a diamond with a beautiful quality of cut (rated Excellent or Very Good by the GIA, HRD or IGI certificates). The whiteness of the diamond will enhance the brilliance of a well cut diamond, but it cannot compensate for the lack of life of a poorly cut stone. Finally, if you have to make a compromise between color and purity, we recommend that you give preference to the whiteness of the stone over its purity, as long as you do not go below SI2 purity, see SI1 for stones from 0.70 carat. Indeed the whiteness of a diamond is more easily seen with the naked eye than its purity, except if the impurities are very marked (stones called pitted: P1, P2, P3, P4, also called I1, I2, I3 and I4).

Jeweller's Council

The choice of the color of the stone depends on the color of the metal on which the diamond will be set. The whiter the metal, such as white gold or platinum, the more colorless stones (D, E, F, G) will be ideal. A white metal will enhance the brilliance and whiteness of the diamond. Yellow gold, on the other hand, counterbalances the hue of a slightly yellow diamond by contrast. Once set on a jewel, mid-range diamonds (H, I, J) can therefore appear neutral if they are well cut (cut rated Excellent or Very Good by the GIA, HRD or IGI).

To better know which diamond color to choose, we invite you to read our article on Which diamond color to choose?

And to best combine these criteria of color and purity, we advise you to read our article What quality criteria should you choose for your diamond?

Where does the color of a diamond come from?

 

The color of the diamond can be natural or artificial. Mine diamonds have a natural hue ranging from colorless to brown. However, it is possible to change the color of these diamonds by different processes. There are also synthetic diamonds whose color can be fully customized.

Natural origin of the color of mine diamonds

Diamonds from the mines are of natural origin. They were created several million years ago in the Earth's mantle or during a collision with an asteroid: the carbon crystallized under heat and pressure and formed a gem. The purest diamonds contain only carbon, which refracts all colors and does not absorb any of them. However, carbon is not necessarily the only element present in the stone: it can also contain other elements that will have an impact on the color of the stone. The most common yellow hue is for example due to the presence of nitrogen, an element that slightly refracts the yellow color of the light spectrum.

Color treatments for treated diamonds

A diamond can be treated to change its color, it is then called "color enhanced". Two of the techniques used are thermo-pressure (HTHP) and irradiation. The first one allows thanks to very high temperature and pressure to lighten the color of a diamond that is a little too yellow. The second technique is used to create stronger colors to bring the diamond into the category of colored diamonds. In order to be sure that the color of your diamond is natural, without any treatment, always buy a diamond certified by one of the 3 major laboratories: GIA, HRD and IGI. On the certificate, check that it does not mention any HTHP treatment or irradiation. If none of this is mentioned, the color of your diamond is natural.

The color of synthetic diamonds

Synthetic diamonds, or artificial diamonds, are created in the laboratory. It is then possible to create "perfect" diamonds by limiting the nitrogen inclusions that give the yellow hue. It is also possible to set the color of the diamond by adding inclusions of various elements such as nitrogen, ammonia or boron. It is also possible to make colors that do not exist in nature. In order to be sure that your diamond is of natural origin, and not synthetic, always buy a diamond certified by one of the 3 major laboratories: GIA, HRD and IGI. On the certificate, check that it is mentioned: "Natural Diamond".

Find all our
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Guide

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Guide

Diamond Certificates (GIA, IGI, HRD)

Guide

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Guide

Diamond Clarity

Guide

Diamond Cut

Guide

Different shapes of diamonds | I-diamants

How to see the nuances of color of a diamond? With a magnifying glass? With the naked eye ?

 

To observe the color of a diamond, it is advisable to have rested eyes. It is not mandatory to use a magnifying glass, even if it is a welcome help and facilitates the observation of gems.

The only necessity is to pay attention to the light, and in particular to its temperature. It must correspond to 7000° kelvin, which is the equivalent of natural daylight in the northern direction. It must be limited in UV and blue radiation, it is better to avoid the mountains and the seaside in natural conditions, and neon lights indoors for example. The best choice is to use a cold light lamp, LED, which best reproduces natural light.

Another essential element is a white support, usually a white cardboard folded at 90°. The nuances of the diamond appear when viewed from all angles.

 

How to recognize and identify the degree of color hue of a diamond?

 

It is not obvious to see with the naked eye the degree of hue of white diamonds. In addition to observing it on a white surface, it is often necessary to compare it to others to determine its exact hue. The most common is to use a comparative method using a set of control stones corresponding to the conventional scale. A control diamond is placed next to the diamond to be identified. When the control is at the limit of its value, it is sufficient to go up or down the scale according to the difference observed until an equivalence is obtained.

What is the impact of the color of a diamond on its price?

 

The more colorless the diamond is, the greater its value and the more expensive it is. For lightly colored diamonds, the price can vary from single to double depending on the degree of hue. The more yellow the diamond is, the more it loses value, even if the color is less noticeable after cutting and once the stone is set on a piece of jewelry.

What is a "Fancy Color" diamond?

 

A fancy color diamond is a diamond that is outside of the previously mentioned nomenclature. In fact, there are diamonds of all colors, especially in the continuity of the hue of white diamonds. These diamonds have a clear color ranging from yellow to brown and due to nitrogen inclusions in their structure.

Color diamond hue intensity scale

 

Beyond the Z range, there are six steps from lightest to darkest according to the GIA: Fancy Light Fancy Intense Fancy Vivid Fancy Deep Fancy Dark. From Fancy Light to Fancy Vivid, the colors are more or less intense on the same color: yellow. Fancy Deep and Fancy Dark correspond to the brown color that a natural diamond can also commonly have.

The price of colored diamonds

 

Except for the exceptional and historic colored diamonds that break records in the auction room, the value of colored diamonds varies depending on the hue. Fancy diamonds are worth less than a white diamond, although some hues are sought after and rare. In general, brown and yellow diamonds are the most common diamonds found in nature, but they are also the least expensive and least sought after in jewelry.

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