What Does a Colorless Diamond Mean?

Posted In: Diamonds

Diamonds are graded and priced according to their physical characteristics: the “4 C’s.” Color is one of those C’s (along with Clarity, Cut, and Carat), and, in most “white” diamonds, it is actually an assessment of how close the diamond is to colorless.  Most diamonds have a hint of yellow or brown.

What does “colorless” mean when it comes to diamonds?

A perfectly colorless diamond is graded D on the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) color scale, with each subsequent letter through Z denoting a diamond’s degree of yellowness or brownness. You can imagine a glass of purified water as perfectly colorless. If you dropped food coloring in the water a little bit at a time, you could change it from colorless (D-E-F) to noticeably yellow or brown (S-Z). Brown and yellow diamonds beyond the D-Z scale are considered “fancy-colored,” as they are rarer and more desirable than those low on the scale.

colorless diamonds grading

What causes color in diamond?

As you may know, diamond is a type of crystalline carbon. Its chemical formula is comprised only of carbon (C), as opposed to something like water, which is made up of both hydrogen and oxygen (H2O). Gemologists have determined that the presence of tiny amounts nitrogen in a diamond crystal is a major cause of color in diamonds graded on the D-Z scale.

Why do people prefer colorless diamonds?

Colorless diamonds, those graded D, E, and F by appraisers using the GIA scale, are like the aforementioned glass of purified water. Their lack of yellow or brown tint makes them stand out in an engagement ring and allows the rainbow-colored fire of the diamond to really shine. Perfectly colorless diamonds look beautiful in jewelry crafted from white metals such as white gold and platinum, but also provide a beautiful contrast to rich yellow or rose gold settings.

Are colorless diamonds worth more?

Considerably more of the rough diamonds mined from the earth are yellowish or brownish, as opposed to colorless. There are simply far fewer diamonds available that qualify as colorless and earn the D-E-F grades to match. Because of the scarcity—and the beauty—of truly colorless diamonds, they fetch a premium on the market.

Why would someone buy a near colorless diamond?

A diamond that is near colorless, that is one that shows only the slightest hint of yellow or brown, can still appear very “white” to the untrained eye. Because a near colorless diamond is not as rare as one that is graded colorless, it is also less expensive. This makes a near colorless diamond a good option for those who desire a nice “white” look for less when choosing a special gift or planning a proposal.

Whether you have a classic Tiffany & Co. diamond engagement ring, or a laboratory-certified fancy yellow unmounted diamond, each location of The Loan Companies has the expertise and knowledge to assist you with evaluations for loan or purchase. Our friendly and professional GIA-trained are prepared to offer competitive estimates and cash in minutes. For more information, please contact one of our locations today.

What Does a Colorless Diamond Mean?
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What Does a Colorless Diamond Mean?
Everything you need to know about colors in diamonds. What grades do they come in, what causes the colors and what is a colorless diamond? Answers to these questions and more.
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The Loan Companies
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