The less colour in a diamond, the rarer it is. Colour is measured in alphabetical order beginning with D and descending to Z. Below is an industry standard diamond colour chart from one of the world's leading diamond grading institutions, GIA.
Image Courtesy of 4cs.gia.edu
The GIA colour scale ranges from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow or brown):
- Colourless (D-F): These diamonds are considered the most valuable due to their exceptional lack of colour. They exhibit a bright white appearance, allowing maximum light reflection.
- Near Colourless (G-J): Diamonds in this range show virtually no colour to the untrained eye. They offer an excellent balance of value and beauty as they appear white when set in jewellery.
- Faint (K-M): Faintly coloured diamonds may display a hint of yellow or brown.
- Very Light to Light (N-R): Diamonds within this range exhibit a more noticeable yellow or brown hue. However, they can still possess beauty and may be preferred for specific jewellery styles or personal preferences.
- Light (S-Z): These diamonds display a more pronounced yellow or brown colour. Some individuals may appreciate the unique warmth and character of a more coloured diamond, similar to that of fancy-coloured diamonds.
When selecting your diamond, the metal colour that your piece will be crafted in plays an important role. If you are going for a white metal like platinum, a diamond that does not fit into the D-F colourless range will be more noticeable against the crisp bright metal. However, if your diamond will be set in yellow or rose gold, you have a bit more room to play around in the near colourless range as the warm metal colours are a bit more forgiving. If you have selected a beautifully colourless diamond and are set on those warm tones of yellow or rose gold, we recommend crafting the diamond setting in platinum while keeping the band yellow. Otherwise, your diamond will reflect some of those yellow tones and no longer appear colourless to the eye.
When a diamond has enough yellow saturation, or other unique colours such as pink or blue appear, it is classified as a fancy coloured diamond. Fancy coloured diamonds are an exception to the ‘less colour equals higher value’ rule as they are extremely rare. For example, a one carat pink coloured diamond could sell for 5 to 15 times more than a D coloured diamond of the same size and quality.
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It’s important that when you are comparing diamonds that you are comparing like for like. Make sure to ask for information about all quality factors to compare and select your diamond.