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Cut Diamond Characteristics: Colour


The color scale runs the alphabet from D - colorless to Z - light yellow, brown, or gray color. D is the rarest color and thus the most valuable.

Diamonds most often form in nature with nitrogen impurities in their atomic structure. Irridiation may cause a green colour. An extremely rare purple diamond from Brazil has recently turned up in London. Fancy colours can be quite valuable.

Nitrogen impurities causes diamonds to show a subtle tint of yellow color. As you move down the color scale the diamonds become more yellow (or brown or gray) and thus less valuable.



D-E-F Group: Colorless

This diamond group is the rarest and most expensive. They are common enough to be found in many stores, but still command the highest prices. They show virtually no color.

G-H-I Group: Near Colorless

This is a very popular color group because of its lower price, yet they still possess high enough color to face up reasonably white in a mounting. Diamonds in the lower end of this group show a very light shade of color and may present themselves better in a yellow gold setting, rather than in white or platinum.

J-K-L-M: Faint Yellow

This is the group that begins to show slight yellow color.
Slight color may be noticeable from the top of the stone, but probably more from the sides.

N through R: Very light Yellow

Diamonds in the N-R group show yellow color even when mounted in jewelry. Determining the exact color of a diamond in this group is less important due to the fact that their prices are similar. Certificates for diamonds in the N-R group are less common because of their relatively low price.

S through Z: Light yellow

Diamonds in this group show substantial color when loose or mounted.

Fancy Colored Diamonds

Fancy Yellow diamonds can command prices as high as D colors or more. Colors below the Z range are considered to have color as an asset and are graded into the fancy color range. The fancy color ranges are as follows: Fancy Light - Fancy - Fancy Intense - Fancy Deep - and Fancy Vivid. While Fancy Yellow is more common, Fancy Colored Diamonds can and do occur in every possible color. Often the color is described with a secondary mixed color preceding it.

Ex: Fancy Intense Orangy-Yellow, with yellow, the second color mentioned, being the predominant color.

So, to summarize, there are Colorless Diamonds (D, E, F), Near Colorless Diamonds (G,H,I), progressively off colored diamonds (J-Z), being yellow, brown, or gray, and Fancy Colored Diamonds.

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Fancy Colored Diamonds are not always "Natural". Their color may have been modified or enhanced through one or more processes involving irradiation and/or extreme heat. While this enhancement may in fact be permanent, the occurrence of natural color in diamond is far more rare and thus more expensive. The tests for identification of "origin of color" are usually conclusive, but may require sophisticated equipment and extremely qualified testers. It is highly recommended to have the G.I.A. confirm the origin of color, as natural, in any fancy colored diamond of enough size to warrant it.


The Brown Color Group

Brown diamonds have a tint of brownish body color. The brown group is usually less expensive than any other group due to the fact that they are less appealing to most consumers. In their lightest tones, they face up reasonably white in a yellow setting. These stones are often described as "TLB" or Top Light Brown. The brown group is graded by tone, from light to dark in much the same way as other diamonds, however their appearance may be slightly whiter than a diamond of slightly yellowish body color, in the same color grade range. Establishing the correct value with regard to significantly brown diamonds is difficult. The Argyle mines in Australia produce a significant quantity of brown diamonds, and have successfully marketed them using the descriptive names, "cognac" and "champagne".

The common shades are:

Very light brown (champagne), medium brown (champagne), Brown (dark champagne), and Dark brown (fancy cognac). A color scale has been devised by the Argyle Mines of Australia for use in grading these diamonds using C1 - C7 grades to separate them into their progressively darker tonal ranges.

In spite of the significant marketing efforts of the Argyle Mines, demand for the brown diamonds is not great and they generally command relatively low prices.




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