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Diamond Colour

Choosing the right colour for your diamond is based on personal preference. It's important to remember that you are generally searching for a stone with little to no colour.

Diamonds are coloured when the crystals grow inside the earth. Tiny traces of some elements like nitrogen can colour the crystals. In addition, the pressure involved in the diamond formation creates distortion in the crystal structure which is believed to also contribute to its colour.

The colour evaluation on gem‐quality diamonds is based on the absence of colour. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) uses a 12‐letter alphabetical scale of D to Z. Using this scale, the diamond on the lower end of the scale (D) will have the least amount of colour – it is considered a colourless stone. The diamond at the higher end of the scale (Z) has deeper tones. However, when a diamond's colour is more intense than the "Z" grading, it enters the realm of a "Fancy Colour" diamond. In this case, the intensity of the colour in the diamond can play a significant role in its value. The value of a Fancy Coloured Diamond can surpass that of colourless diamonds if the intensity of the colour is high and the colour is rare.

GIA Color Scale

  • D grade diamonds are absolutely colorless.
  • E and F grade diamonds are essentially colourless. The difference between D, E, and F is so slight that only experts can see it when the diamonds are unmounted.
  • K, L, and M grade diamonds are faintly tinted. Diamonds under 1/2 carat appear colourless when mounted. Diamonds over 1/2 carat may show a tint of colour.
  • Diamonds graded N through Z have a light tint, and it is visible.
  • Diamonds with less colour are more rare and valuable. Only about 5,000 of the polished diamonds produced each year weighing 1/2 carat or more are colourless. Most of the diamonds sold are grades G to L. For fancy diamonds, the value goes up with the intensity of the colour.
  • Fancy colours include bright yellow, pink, champagne, blue and green. Red, purple and orange diamonds, though found in nature, are extremely rare.

How the diamond is set can make a difference in colour too. Colour is more important in rings than earrings and pendants because the diamond is usually larger.

  • Putting a truly colourless diamond in a yellow gold setting will reflect on the stone causing a yellowish tint.
  • Colourless and near‐colourless diamonds come alive in a platinum or white gold setting.
  • A slightly yellow‐tinted diamond will appear whiter in a yellow gold setting.

Keep in mind that colour is only one of the 5Cs so even when a stone has a visible tint, it can still be very lovely when mixed with good clarity and cut.

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