Thursday, April 12, 2012

Diamonds Part 2: Color

Of the four "C"s it is color which is most obvious to the consumer. For this reason it is perhaps the most well known of the four "C"s. Diamonds come in an amazing variety of colors including blue, green, red, orange, yellow and more.

Diamond most commonly occur in shades of yellow to white (colorless) and brown. All shades from completely colorless to slightly yellow or brown fall into a standard called the "normal color range" by the Gemological Institiute of America. Deep tones of these colors, or any color other than yellow or brown are considered "fancy" colors.

Diamonds in the normal color range are categorized in an alphabetical scale ranging from D to Z, D being the highest color grade that a stone can have. When this scale was created, it was meant to be used only within the industry for gem dealers to communicate with each other. The reason that the scale begins with "D" is because GIA felt that the negative connotation of the letter "D" as it is used in the school system would discourage jewelers from using this scale with their customers! It was not in effort to hide anything from customers, but rather that consumers would have no desire to learn charts and scales of information just to buy a diamond.

Regardless, after the scale was unveiled, jewelers and customers alike were using the scale to better understand the value of their gems. Before the implementation of this scale, terms like "light yellow, fancy white, and blue white" were used to describe diamond colors. For obvious reasons the vagueness of these terms created conflict about how a gem was represented versus the real color of the gem.

For most shoppers, the GIA scale can be simplified for easier commnication. D,E, and F color stones are all in the range considered "colorless." G,H,I and J rated diamonds are considered "nearly colorless" and K, L, M, and N stones are dubbed "faint yellow" See the chart above.

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