No, we’re not talking about colored diamonds, but the third C in our list: color. Even though colored diamonds do exist—in yellow, pink, blue, and even rare red—when it comes to white diamonds, what we really want is absence of color. The Gemological Institute of American (GIA) grades the whitest of diamonds D (A, B, and C are completely skipped in order to avoid competition and confusion with earlier grading systems) and diamonds can be graded all the way to Z. A Z stone presents the most yellow, which is the most common diamond color. Fancy yellows can be pretty, but hints of yellow just look like once-white clothes that have been left in a drawer too long. Lower graded stones may also present shades of brown or gray.
D-rated diamonds are rare, and even colors E and F still appear very white to the naked eye and are considered colorless, and G through J are near colorless; in fact, you won’t be able to start really seeing yellow until you get in the J through M range. Most diamonds sold are no lower than J on the scale. Round cut diamonds can help improve a color’s appeal, e.g. H and I graded diamonds look whiter with an ideal cut. Talk to us at Loudoun Jewelry on Maple Avenue about how cuts can improve the look of a stone with lesser color. In general, the best values are found at the H-J level, even though the stone still looks fairly white.
The best way to assess a diamond’s color is to view it from the side, against a white background, in daylight fluorescent; the stone should be unmounted. Clarity and color are your two most important considerations, so make sure you like the way the stone looks, and remember that the larger the stone is, the more poorer clarity and color will be noticeable. If your budget can’t accommodate something stunning at the size you want, start shaving the size, or try varying the cut to one that hides flaws more easily.
Next week, we visit the final C, carat, before wrapping up with a piece on how to set your diamond budget.