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After diamond cut, diamond colour is the second most important characteristic to consider when choosing a diamond. The highest quality diamonds are colourless, while those of lower quality have noticeable colour, which manifests as pale yellow in diamonds.
The Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) grades diamond colour on a scale of D (colourless) to Z (light yellow or brown). D-Z diamonds are also known as white diamonds, even though most diamonds, including H colour diamonds and G colour diamonds, have varying amounts of colour.
The GIA diamond colour scale is the leading industry standard of diamond colour grading. Before this was the standard, other colour grading scales used A, B and C, so GIA started their scale at D to avoid confusion.
There are six categories on the GIA diamond chart, with colour grades that range from absolutely colourless to light in colour. Diamonds rated D are the most devoid of colour and very rare, whereas G colour diamonds and H colour diamonds are near colourless, and since they’re priced lower they are excellent value diamonds. The more you move down the colour chart, the lower the colour grade is, and the more noticeable the light yellow hue becomes.
D colour diamond is the highest grade and is extremely rare—the highest colour grade that money can buy. Eight percent of customers choose a D colour diamond.See D Graded Diamonds
If you're looking to buy fine diamond jewellery such as an engagement ring, it's important to understand how diamond colour affects price. Here are a few buying tips and things to know about diamond colour.
When it comes to diamonds, less colour means higher quality. While brilliance is the first thing you notice about a diamond, colour is the second. The higher the colour grade, the less colour there is, and the more expensive it will be.
For the best balance between quality and value, choose G-I diamond colour grades in the Near Colourless category. To the naked eye, the difference between diamonds of one colour grade (G-H or I-J) is practically indistinguishable, and the savings can be significant. The faint warmth of a J and K colour diamonds can be difficult to discern to the naked eye, especially when set in yellow gold. When side by side with a colourless diamond, or in a white gold or platinum setting, however, the warmth of J or K colours is more noticeable.
In general, to avoid a pale yellow colour, choose a diamond grade H or higher. For the purist, look for a D to F grade colourless diamond, which will have no discernible colour under magnification.
Diamond shape, size and your ring’s metal setting can visually impact diamond colour.
Ring Setting — Pairing diamonds with similar toned metals can neutralize colour in the diamond. Consider setting higher colour grade diamonds like Near Colourless (G-J) or Faint Colour (K) diamonds in yellow gold and Colourless diamonds (D-F) in white gold or platinum. A gold setting may show through a colourless diamond.
Diamond Shape — Some diamond shapes may show or mask colour to varying degrees. For example, brilliant-cut shapes such as round and princess reflect more light, which means more colour is masked. Step-cut diamonds (emerald and Asscher cuts) may show more colour because they are cut with fewer facets, resulting in bigger "windows" through which to see the colour.
Fancy shaped diamonds, like pear and marquise may also show slightly more concentrated colour at their points.
Diamond Size — Colour is easier to see in larger diamonds. If you want a diamond above 1 carat, choose a G or H coloured diamond. I-K colour diamonds are best when just under a carat.
Blue Nile offers the top tiers of colour in diamonds from Colourless (D-F) to Near Colourless (G-J) to a Faint Colour (K).
Near Colourless Diamonds
Faint Colour Diamonds
When is colour a good thing? When it refers to the rainbow spectrum of colours – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink, purple, and more – that diamonds come in. These are known as Coloured Diamonds. Only one in every 10,000 diamonds possess natural colour, and the more intense the colour, the more rare and valuable the diamond. Coloured Diamonds are graded on a separate diamond colour scale and can be even more valuable than white diamonds.