Diamonds come in a multitude of colours and hues – blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, brown and even black. For the most part, however, white diamonds are chosen for engagement rings. Except in the rarest cases, white diamonds contain impurities that give a yellowish tint. The fainter this yellow tint, the higher the grade of the diamond.
Learn More About Colour Grades
The GIA has developed a rating system for colour in white diamonds as follows:
Colourless (D, E, F) Diamonds with these colour grades are to all intents are purposes colourless. Only a trained gemologist can detect any differences in colour between the colourless grades.
Near Colourless (G, H, I, J) These grades indicate just a trace of colour. Diamonds with these grades can still be used in white gold or platinum settings, which normally betray any yellow tint in a diamond.
Faint Colour (K, L, M) These grades describe warm colour diamonds that can work well in yellow gold settings. The yellow tints are more easily detectable by the naked eye.
Very Light Colour (M – R) The diamonds in this colour range have an easily detectable yellow or brown tint and tend to be very good value compared to higher grades.
Light Colour (S – Z) If you are interested in a white diamond, these colour grades will likely contain too much colour. However, some people specifically seek yellow diamonds. The Z grade is applied to bright yellow diamonds.
Quote: “I like it, but it’s yellow, and I’m like, I didn’t want yellow for my engagement ring.” ~ Paris Hilton
Most diamonds contain very tiny imperfections known as inclusions (inside the diamond) or blemishes (on the surface of the diamond). Diamonds with significant inclusions or blemishes tend to be less brilliant as the imperfections interfere with the path of light through the diamond. The clarity of a diamond is determined by viewing it both with the naked eye and through a loupe (a 10x magnifying glass).
Learn More About Clarity Grades
The GIA has developed the following standard definitions for levels of clarity:
Flawless (FL) No inclusions or blemishes are visible to an experienced grader using 10x magnification. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare and priced accordingly.
Internally flawless (IF) No inclusions, only blemishes are visible to an experienced grader using 10x magnification. FL and IF diamonds appear identical to the naked eye.
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2) Inclusions are barely visible to an experienced grader under 10x magnification. As the inclusions are invisible to the naked eye, VVS1 and VVS2 appear identical to the higher grades without magnification.
Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2) Inclusions are clearly visible under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor. The inclusions are not visible to the naked eye.
Slightly Included (SI1, SI2) Inclusions are clearly visible to an experienced grader under 10x magnification. SI2 diamonds, in particular, will often have inclusions that are visible to the naked eye.
Included (I1, I2, I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect the transparency and brilliance of the diamond. The inclusions for these grades are almost always visible to the naked eye.