Tips About Diamond Color and Quality

You may not realize how many colors, apart from clear, that a diamonds has. Some rare colors are much more costly than others. Using these tips you can evaluate the color of the diamond and have a better idea of its value.

Learning the process of how diamonds are judged. Diamonds are categorized by four characteristics – clarity, cut, carat weight and color. For each characteristic, the higher on the scale it is, the more costly the diamond. There are different degrees of color (different hues) which increase the worth of the diamond (or render it less valuable). No diamond is actually colorless, even the common “white” diamond which most people are familiar with. Actually all diamonds are classed against that “white” color.

The Gemological Institute of America (the GIA) created a standard diamond color guideline. So the color of each diamond is compared to a pre-selected set of colored gems (known as control stones). This allows for a consistent evaluation to be given.

Loose diamond. To be evaluated, the diamond must not be set in metal. The reason being that the metal setting will alter the appearance of the color of the diamond. The diamond needs to be positioned upside down (with the point up). Then it is examined using a tool called a loupe. This is a gemologist’s magnifying tool which enables them to see the characteristics of a diamond more clearly. The diamond must be held loose in the jeweler’s hand as he uses the loupe to examine and class its color.

The letter grade of the diamond. There is a letter grading system that gemologists use to evaluate the color of a diamond. The system starts at the letter D and goes to Z with a color for each letter. Diamonds categorized as D are atypical and do not have any color whatsoever. So Z is the deepest shade of color found in a diamond. Here is a list of the lettered colors for diamonds:

– D-E-F: colorless
– G-H-I-J: nearly colorless
– K-L-M: slightly colored, often yellow
– N-O-P-Q-R: somewhat colored, often yellow; obvious even to the naked eye
– S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z: colored, usually yellow (may be brown); obvious even to the naked eye

Other issues to think about. A diamond’s color is evaluated after many tests. Gemologists don’t just use a loupe to do it. Other factors they examine are the fluorescence of the diamond; which is the extent to which the diamond color varies under ultraviolet light. This is a common practice because there is a lot of UV light in natural day light and indoor lighting.

Generally, if you are seeking a diamond, think about the fluorescence of the stone to some extent, but also look at the letter grading of the diamond. A grading of D – J is desirable – a gemologist will be able to assist in choosing one to fit your taste and budget.