Shape  |  Cut  |  Color  |  Clarity  |  Carat Weight  |  Fluorescence  |  Treatment Status  |  Transparency  |  What is a Conflict Diamond?

When it comes to diamonds (with the exception of fancy color diamonds), the best color is no color. The most colorless stones are given a “D” rating. From there, color grades descend through each letter of the alphabet. As the letter descends towards “Z”, there is more color present in the stone and its value declines. Color may be caused by the presence of trace elements, such as nitrogen, within the atomic framework of the carbon crystal. These trace elements are so tiny that they are scientifically measured in parts per million (ppm). The gradations from one letter to the next are so precise that most people are not able to make a distinction in the color of two diamonds unless they are at least two or three grades apart. It is extremely difficult to discern a single color grade without ideal laboratory conditions – even for a diamond expert. We recommend selecting a diamond with a color grade of “K” or better.

Fancy color diamonds, on the other hand, have a desired vibrant color. These diamonds can be found in a rainbow of yellows, reds, pinks, blues, greens, purples and all shades in-between. In nature, fancy color diamonds are created in different ways. Trace elements in the diamonds can produce color (e.g. nitrogen creates a yellow diamond). Color can also be a consequence if radiation is present during a diamond's creation (e.g. green diamonds are the result of radiation). While inclusions are undesirable in a colorless stone, they can add unique tones and flashes of color in a fancy color diamond. Gemologists can also create fancy color diamonds by manipulating less attractive diamonds to alter their colors. Irradiation, followed by a high heat treatment, can turn brownish and pale yellow diamonds into color gems. Please note that naturally occurring fancy color diamonds are much more expensive than treated diamonds.