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COLOUR EXPLAINED

Published: 29/11/2017

Colour refers to the degree to which a diamond is colourless.Diamonds can be found in many colours, however white-coloured or colourless diamonds remain the most popular and therefore the most expensive. It sometimes surprises people to learn that diamonds can cover the entire spectrum of colours. The majority, however, range from those with a barely perceptive yellow or brownish tint, up to those that are very rare and are described as colourless. Some even rarer stones are naturally coloured and are referred to as “Coloured Fancies”. These diamonds are only found very occasionally and can come in tints such as green, pink, red, blue and amber. Red is the rarest of all. Coloured fancies are extremely rare and highly treasured.

When we speak of colour in diamonds, most people think of the beautiful reds, blues, and yellows we see when a diamond flashes in the sun light. In fact grading a diamond for colour means deciding by which amount the diamond’s “body colour” deviates from the whitest possible (water like colourless) colour. Nature provides a continuous darkening in the tints from white to yellow, white to brown, and white to green. Divisions are determined by the ability of the human eye to separate one tint from an adjacent one that is slightly lighter or darker. This concept should not be confused with the sparkle, brilliance, or scintillation of the diamond.

Diamonds are graded on a colour scale which ranges from D (colourless) to Z. Warmer coloured diamonds (K–Z) are particularly desirable when set in yellow gold. Icy winter white coloured diamonds (D–J) look stunning set in white gold, platinum or palladium. Colour differences are very subtle and it is very difficult to see the difference between an E and an F, for example. Therefore, colours are graded under controlled lighting conditions and are compared to a master set for accuracy. Truly colourless stones, graded D are treasured for their rarity. Colour, however, is subjective. The Incomparable, one of the world’s most beautiful diamonds, contains hints of brown, smokey amber and champagne colours.

Because of the diamond’s high brilliance and dispersion of light, the colour grade cannot be accurately determined by looking at the stone from the top (face up) position. It is best to observe colour by examining the stone through the side of the pavilion (bottom of the stone) with the diamond upside down in a white paper grading through. Please note in the illustration below the stone can be examined in several positions to obtain an accurate color grade.

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