ON TO THE NEXT C – COLOR.
Although diamonds form naturally in many different colors, the most popular, no doubt, are white diamonds. Within what is considered the normal color range of white diamonds, there is still a large spectrum of shades ranging from the purest white to yellow, brown or gray. Shades within this spectrum are labeled using a lettering system with the letter “D” representing the whitest, purest color. Going down the alphabet, this letter system terminates at “Z”. However, rarely do you ever see a diamond graded as “Z” since those stones are normally not sent to a lab for certification and is simply called yellow, brown or gray diamonds.
As mentioned before, diamonds with an excellent cut or “make” as it is sometimes called, can help minimize the effect of a lower color stone simply due to the brilliance and intense sparkle an excellent make can give.
Most people shopping for an engagement ring are working with a budget. So, if you’re trying to decide which of the 4C’s you can make a “compromise” on … well, you might want to consider getting a diamond that is of a slightly lower color grade but with an excellent cut. You will save yourself a bundle there. Diamonds that are G, H, and even I color are good candidates for this “trick”.
Another good tip to get the most bang for your buck: Some white diamonds fluoresce or “glow” under UV light. Sometimes a faint blue florescence will help the stone look whiter in daylight if the stone’s body color is in the G, H, I, J range. But you have to watch out here because there is a fine line between fluorescence helping and fluorescence hurting – diamonds with medium to strong blue fluorescence will make the stone look “milky” in daylight.
Diamonds that are not white are called “fancy color”. Natural fancy color diamonds are extremely rare and valuable especially in sizes above 0.10 carat.
Over the last decade or so, treated colored diamonds have become more visible on the market and are more accepted by consumers as long as the treatment is disclosed. Most treated colored diamonds are treated by irradiation or irradiation combined with HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature). These are perfectly safe to wear as they are tested by Geiger counters before they are released onto the market.
Treated colored diamonds come in a large variety of colors and the tones are much more vivid than natural colored diamonds. In fact, one quick way to tell if the diamond has been color treated is simply judging by eye whether the color looks too intense and vivid to be natural. Of course, nature does produce very intense and vivid colored diamonds, however, those are EXTREMELY rare and there is a price tag to match. Stick to the old adage, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
(images via Leibish & Co., Gemnation.com, NoCo Gold & Diamond)