Ever wonder about diamonds and their color scales?? well a friend of mine a few weeks ago asked me for some advice regarding diamond engagement rings. I asked him what type of cut and clarity he was intereted in and he indicated his interest in a VVS1, cushion cut, canary yellow diamond for his wife to be. It look as if everyone was coveting and talking about fancy yellow and pink diamonds. Interestingly enough, these days many people want these diamonds but I am always astonished at how few people know about the color scale of white diamonds. Which is basic building block of jewelry connoisseurs my that cannot be overlooked.
White diamonds fall in a D to Z color range with D being the most colorless and Z having the most color. Z colored diamonds are obviously more yellowish or greyish to the naked eye such as the image below, but keep in mind that such diamonds are not considered fancy colors. Fancy colored diamonds are those that have a more vivid color than Z and have their own color scale.
D color is the most coveted on the color scale because it is considered the purest and most crisp diamond color for a white diamond. Diamonds in the D-J color range look white from their face-up position. One can detect yellow in the G-J color range only face down (with the pointed end, called the culet, facing up) looking through the pavilion (looking at a perpendicularly through the longest edge of the diamond). K, L and M diamonds are yellow or grey face up and face down; any diamond color below M is unmistakably not white.
With this in mind, I advised my friend the engagement ring buyer that it is always wise to go for the highest color that your budget allows for without sacrificing the size you have your heart set on. Its often that I see so many of the celebrity engagement rings, the 20 carat + whoppers, which are H-J colored and it always boggles my mind and makes me wonder why they didn’t just go for a stunning 5 carat D flawless? There is nothing wrong with H-J colored diamonds mind you, but if it’s within your budget, who in their right mind would want 20 mediocre carats when you can have 5 pristine carats of diamond for the same price? Warped priorities make for bad investments.
Since my friend was looking to simulate the look of a yellow diamond on a restricted budget, I advised him to look for an X, Y or Z color but make sure the clarity is VS1 or better. SSHHH!! It’s a sneaky little loop-hole, I know ;-).
Essentially, you are buying a diamond that looks yellow to the naked eye and if you have an excellent jeweler (which you should), he or she can make it look more vivid yellow with a clever setting thus giving you the look of a fancy colored diamond for considerably less. Keep in mind though that an X, Y or Z color is not a fancy colored diamond so while it may look marvelous after it’s set, it is not going to retain value as well as an actual fancy colored diamond. Why VS1 clarity or better? Because a diamond in the lower color ranges that also has poor clarity is just a shoddy diamond. If you are going to sacrifice color for an intended effect, you have to make up the difference in clarity and symmetry in order to retain some aspects of the diamond’s fire and brilliance, otherwise you’re just buying an unattractive diamond.
Hope this was helpful to all of my engagement ring buyers out there.
Live, Life, Lamour,