Many people think of diamonds as colourless, but in reality colourless diamonds are quite rare. The majority of diamonds in the normal colour range have very faint tints of yellow and brown.
Diamonds also occur in a wide range of other colours, including pink, red, blue, green and black. The most intensely coloured diamonds are classified as fancy colours, and fetch very high prices due to their rarity.
Diamonds in the normal colour range are graded by their lack of colour; therefore a stone with the highest colour grades has little or no visible colouration. Colour grades can cause dramatic variations in price, although distinguishing between the top colour grades in smaller mounted stones is almost impossible to the untrained eye.
The colour of diamonds is designated using the following grading scale:
- D - a totally colourless diamond, the highest grading possible, and as such, rare and valuable.
- E - colourless, with only a trained and experienced diamond grader able to detect the minute hint of colour.
- F - still a colourless stone, but with a minor hint of colour, again only detectable by a trained grader.
- G - almost colourless, although a trace of colour may be seen when compared with higher grades. Still a very high quality grading.
- H - almost colourless, but a hint of colour may be discernible.
- I - nearly colourless, although a trace of colour will be detected, with difficulty.
- J-Z - tinted stones, outside of our standard range.
Each grade represents a spread or range of colour, not just one point along the series. In this range, a D colour diamond will always be the most valuable if all the other factors of clarity, carat and cut are equal.