Diamond Grading -
of natural body color is a major factor in determining the value of a
diamond. The most expensive are colorless and are graded downward by the
amount of yellowish or brownish tint they have.
only possible to accurately color grade a diamond if it is un-mounted,
placed on a white background and compared with a set of standard graded
diamonds. A mounted diamond picks up the color the metal and always
looks better set in white gold or platinum. Even then, one can only
approximate the color of a mounted diamond within a range of a few
diamond color grades are as follows:
E, F: Colorless. Loose diamonds appear colorless.
H, I, J: Near Colorless. When mounted in a setting may
appear colorless to the untrained eye.
L, M: Faint Yellowish Tint. Smaller diamonds look
colorless when mounted. Diamonds of 1/2 carat or more show traces of
- R: Very Light Yellowish Tint and
- Z: Tinted Light Yellow. These diamonds show
increasingly yellow or brownish tints and appear very
with distinct natural body colors other than brown or black are
considered "fancy diamonds" and some bring higher prices than
the finest colorless diamonds. A bright red diamond of less than a carat
brought almost a million dollars at auction in 1987.
the difference in color from D down to H in a mounted stone without
direct comparison is very difficult. Yet a large D stone may cost three
times an H stone of the same weight.
of other factors that contribute to the beauty of a diamond, there are
many beautiful stones below an M color such as a very light yellow
called "champagne" and a darker yellow/brown called
diamonds over one carat, the color effects the value more than in
smaller stones as it is more apparent. But choosing a lower color grade
will reduce the price, and there will be little, if any, visible
difference when the stone is mounted.