No lady wants to look at her beautiful diamond engagement ring and see a yellowish diamond. So the colour of your diamond is really important. You will notice that the colour range for diamonds sits on the alphabetic scale starting from D, going all the way down to Z. However most commercial jewellery store graded diamonds will fall in the G to N range. While diamonds in the G to I range are considered near colourless, they still pull a lot of yellow and have a distinct yellow tinge, so try and avoid these ones if you can. These diamonds are the ones normally found in most jewellery stores stocking mass produced items. (See the following figure, showing the colour grading chart, for the full colour range.)
Diamonds in the D to F range are the only diamonds considered to be in the truly white range. The reason for choosing diamonds in the D to F range is that the difference in colour grades is not linear. What this means is that the difference between an E and an F colour is not the same as the difference between an F and a G colour. The lower you go in colour, the greater the difference in the visibly yellow tinge. If you are looking to maximise the best diamond for your budget, I recommend that the lowest colour you should accept is an F colour.
D and E colours are great if that’s within the budget, but an F colour is the best way to still leverage all the other diamond characteristics to achieve the best performing white diamond. The small increase in size you get by choosing a G-colour diamond is not worth the downgrade in colour from a white diamond to a yellow diamond. The average price difference in a 0.50ct diamond between an F and a G colour is only about $100. Most clients in my experience can see the difference between an F and a G colour when they are placed side by side.
By the way – and this is something you will be able to dazzle your friends with at your local trivia night – do you know why the colour grade starts at D and not A? The answer is that the original colour grading systems used to refer to diamonds as A-grade, B-grade and C-grade diamonds, in much the same way as pearls are graded. So when authorities introduced the new grading system, they wanted to make sure there wasn’t any confusion with the old criteria. That’s why the grading chart starts at D today.
How is diamond colour grading performed?
The most accurate way to grade diamond colour is actually unset, upside down and in a white envelope. When diamond graders are grading diamonds, we use a specially colour-graded master set of diamonds of a known colour. So all we are really doing is comparing one stone to a certified master stone, to see whether it is whiter or pulling more colour.
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