While every diamond is unique, there are certain characteristics which affect their value – the ‘Four C’s of Diamonds.’ We will discuss color, a straight forward concept.
Many people think that diamonds are colorless, when in fact diamonds occur in a wide array of colors from nearly colorless to light yellow or a light brown.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) developed a system of 23 letter grades running from D or colorless to Z, which is light yellow or brown. Anything classified beyond Z is considered fancy and may be almost any color of the rainbow.
Like clarity, color’s effect on value is based directly on natural rarity. The higher the color grade, the greater the rarity and cost. To determine a diamonds color, a trained grader compares it to diamonds of known color – called master stones – under carefully controlled conditions. This permits extremely precise color distinctions. An instrument known as a colorimeter can grade color in many diamonds as well. However, they are not as accurate and consistent as the expert human eye.
To get a good idea of the variety of colors, ask to see a few different grades of gemstones side by side. The differences are subtle, sort of like the differences between white paints. Plus, the larger the diamond, the more obvious any tint of color will be. Color can also be easier to see in some cuts of stones than in others.
The setting of your diamond can help the color too. Yellow gold masks traces of yellow or brown and enhances darker tones. Platinum and white gold dramatize colorless diamonds, but can make yellow or brown tints stand out.