In general, diamonds with the least amount of color are more expensive than diamonds with a tinge of yellow. Diamonds with a fancy yellow color tend to be just as expensive as diamonds that are near colorless. The more intense the fancy yellow color is, the more expensive the diamond.
GIA Color Grading System:
|D E F||G H I J||K L M||N to Z||Z+________|
|colorless||near colorless||faint yellow||very light-light yellow||fancy yellow|
In terms of color, diamonds with a color grade of D (no color) are the most expensive colored diamond. Diamonds with color grades between N and Z are the least expensive. Diamonds with color grades between D and F are the most expensive diamonds because they are rare and in high demand.
If you're seeking a colorless diamond, you should consider buying diamonds with a color grade between D and J. Diamonds within this color grade range are sometimes referred to as white diamonds. Note that the term "white" doesn't imply that the diamond has a white color but a higher color grade.
It's also important to note that diamonds between the K and Z range are not always yellow. Some diamonds with color grades within this range are also brownish. Brownish tinted diamonds are the least expensive diamonds. These types of diamonds are sometimes called champagne diamonds. Darker brown diamonds are referred to as cognac diamonds or fancy cognacs.
How to Grade Color
One way to judge the color of a diamond is to look at a diamond upside down by looking through the pavilion of the diamond. This method allows you to see the color differences more easily between one diamond and another.
To judge a diamonds color:
- Judge the diamond against a non-reflective white background. You could use either a white business card or a white grading tray.
- Compare your diamond to other diamonds (i.e., master stones) with a known color grade. Make sure that the master stones are clean since dirt can affect the color grade.
- Place your diamond on the right and left side of the master stones to ensure the actual color of the stone.
- Make sure that you're aware of the grading environment. Certain factors such as: lighting, color of your clothing, the air quality, and the time of day/year can affect how you grade a diamond. You should grade diamonds with a daylight equivalent fluorescent light bulb. You could also grade the diamond under halogen spotlights, natural daylight from a window, overhead fluorescent lighting and light bulbs.
- Try to be careful when judging diamonds of a larger size because they tend to appear darker than smaller master stones.
- Try to grade diamonds that are loose and aren't set because the setting can affect the color of the diamond.
If you have your diamonds appraised by a certified gem lab or appraiser, it's important to keep in mind that color grading is subjective.