When it’s time for you to purchase an engagement ring, you must consider diamond color. It’s not a case of simply choosing a ‘white’ diamond. There is a range of different tints within the white diamond color-grade scale.
The highest quality diamond color is D-colored diamonds which are completely colorless. This is according to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) color scale.
GIA developed the standardized diamond color grading system in America. The scale runs from D-Z. ‘D-F’ being colorless, ‘G-J’ being near-colorless, ‘K-M’ being faint, ‘N-R’ being very light, and ‘S to Z’ being ‘light’.’
The GIA grading system starts with the letter ‘D’ to disassociate with previous established grading systems, which used ‘A, B, and C variations, when GIA first established their system.
This article will summarise the highest quality diamond colors so that you can choose the right diamond color for your engagement ring.
Colorless diamonds are considered the highest quality diamond color due to their rareness, sparkle, and dazzling brilliance. They are the most difficult to find, especially ones that are D-graded.
Colorless diamonds can reflect more light than diamonds with color. D-graded diamonds are the most transparent, which allows them to absorb the most amount of light. This light is then reflected outwards. The sparkle created is unparalleled by any other diamond color.
To the eye of the beholder, D-graded diamonds will appear to be colorless. Even under magnification, it is difficult to pick out any color tint whatsoever. But they do contain minor traces of color.
E and F-graded diamonds appear much the same to the naked eye. However, gemologists can easily identify the difference between them and a D-graded diamond using magnification.
For the quality, you can expect D-F graded diamonds to be the most expensive.
Near Colorless Diamonds
Near colorless diamonds is the second highest quality diamond color. Although grades G-J contain noticeable color, it is only noticeable when examined closely or compared to a colorless diamond.
Near colorless diamonds are popular given their high similarity to colorless diamonds. The faint color on G-graded diamonds is difficult to notice and can sometimes pass for a colorless diamond. They are also a more affordable option.
F and J-graded diamonds tend to feature a hue that is perceivable to the naked eye. This color tends to be a light yellow.
The color of F-graded diamonds is easily noticeable when examining the diamond face-down.
Near colorless diamonds also reflect less light, and therefore sparkle less. In the right light, J-graded diamonds will reveal their yellow hue.
For premium diamonds, near colorless are the cheapest option. Plus, the hue is barely noticeable, especially once the diamond has been mounted onto the ring.
J-graded diamonds are sometimes half the price of D-graded ones.
Faint colored diamonds
Faint-colored diamonds are still of a high quality due to how elegantly they reflect a light hue. They are popular amongst people who want to match the coloring with a gold ring.
Faint-colored diamonds have a unique charm, and their alluring reflections and tints make them stand out in a jeweler’s display. Even the lowest faint color, the K-graded diamond, has a perceptible yellow hue that is visible in all light.
Faint-colored diamonds are often associated with fire. M-graded diamonds offer the fiercest tint of yellow. These diamonds have more depth to their color and can be perceived as more intense, vivid, and fancier than diamonds with less color.
Faint-graded diamonds are often available in a wide range of different colors, from light blue to light red.
K-M graded diamonds are, generally, great value for money and an attractive purchase for those looking for something slightly different from the typical diamond appearance.
Very light and light diamonds
Very light and light diamonds are considered to be of the lowest quality diamond color. This is because of their minimal reflectability and strongly perceptible color.
However, some jewelers do stock them as they look attractive in white gold and yellow gold settings. Very light and light diamonds are graded anywhere between N and Z.
Diamond color is significant to some. It is not unusual to desire some hue rather than no hue at all.
Fancy colored diamonds
Fancy-colored diamonds can also be of the highest quality but are not graded using the standard GIA grading system.
They are graded to describe the intensity of the color, as opposed to its clarity. Fancy color diamonds are of a higher color grading than Z-graded diamonds.
Fancy-colored diamonds come in such colors as pink, olive, green, brown, purple, and orange.
The fancy colored diamond scale runs from faint color to highly intense color. It works opposite from the GIA system in that the higher its grading, the bigger its value.
In the case of fancy colored diamonds, ‘fancy vivid’ is the highest quality diamond.
The fancy colored grading system
- Fancy light
- Fancy dark
- Fancy intense
- Fancy deep
- Fancy vivid
Choosing the best diamond color
There are other factors that you need to think of when choosing the best diamond color. Referring to the GIA grading system is not enough to base your ring choice on.
Here are some further tips on what color of diamond to get.
1. The only diamond color that works with a white gold or platinum band is a colorless diamond
A colorless diamond will best compliment a white gold or platinum ring.
If you match a faint-colored diamond with a white gold or platinum ring, it will far more accentuate the color of the diamond. Therefore, the only diamond that works with white gold and platinum is a colorless one.
Near colorless diamonds also work with platinum or white gold bands. However, some of the colors on the diamond may be picked up, depending on what end of the scale the diamond is.
2. Faint colorless works best with a yellow-gold band.
The diamond that works best with a yellow-gold ring is a grade-K faint colorless one. Grade-L faint colorless rings also work with pairing.
3. Side stones should always be of a lower grade than your main stone
If you choose to add side stones to your engagement ring, make sure that they are graded lower than the main stone.
If you choose side stones that are higher than the main stone, you could pull color attention away from the centerpiece, which could cause unwanted colors to show.
For example, if your center stone is grade-E, make sure the side stones are either grade-F, G, or H.
4. Only buy a fluorescent diamond that is under grade-K
All diamonds have some degree of fluorescence. This is noted in the grading report. If the diamond is stated to have a ‘medium’ or ‘strong’ level of fluorescence, it may be listed at a discounted price.
These rings are OK to buy, as long as they are below grade-K. Anything above this will regularly emit an ugly light. This renders intense fluorescent diamonds unsuitable for engagement rings.
5. Choose a small diamond for less color
Diamond size significantly impacts its resistance or acceptance of color.
One way to ensure a high-quality diamond color is to pick a small diamond regardless of the grade. The bigger the diamond, the darker its color hue. The smaller the diamond, the clearer its color hue.
Body-color is more easily trapped and reflected on bigger diamonds. Even if you compare a small diamond with a big diamond of the same color grade, the smaller diamond would have a less noticeable color hue.
6. Choose a diamond with a round cut to minimize color hue
A round-cut diamond will keep color reflection levels low. For this reason, it’s not necessary to get a completely colorless diamond if you are getting it in a round-cut shape.
A near colorless diamond will give off a clearer reflection if the diamond is cut in a circular shape. It is recommendable to get a diamond grade higher than you initially considered if you are getting a round-cut diamond.
Pick an Asscher, princess, or emerald diamond if you want the diamond shape to reflect some hue. Alternatively, if you desire one of these shapes without the hue, definitely get a colorless diamond.
Diamond shapes that reflect maximum hue include pear-cut, oval, and marquise. Again, if you desire any of these shapes but want minimal light reflection, a colorless diamond is recommended.
A colorless diamond will unlikely remove all of the hues, as the color will still be visible from pointed tips. However, colorless would do a better job than a near-colorless diamond.
The highest quality and most sought-after diamond color is a D-grade colorless diamond. This diamond reflects no perceivable color on its own and shines the brightest out of all the diamond grades.
If paired with a gold or platinum band and cut into a circular shape, a D-grade colorless diamond will not reflect any light as an engagement ring.
Near colorless diamonds can also reflect minimum color, although they will likely reflect more than a colorless diamond.
Both faint colored diamonds and light diamonds will reflect color, although they are still considered high-quality diamonds. Some actively seek a visible hue when buying diamonds.
Whatever your diamond taste, you can easily select it on Jewellers Connect. You can also fill out all your other engagement ring requirements, including ring size and band type.
The platform will then link you with 5 expert jewelers. From here, you can select whichever jeweler best meets your needs and budget.