The ultimate “color” in the normal diamond color range is actually colorless. That is, icy white with no body color whatsoever. The diamond color grading scale is arranged in alphabetical order starting with “D” representing completely colorless. The normal range of diamond color then runs D to Z. D color diamonds are considered “perfect” color.
Diamonds with color strength beyond Z are referred to as “fancy” and some people might dispute the idea that a D color diamond is “perfect”, instead believing that a vivid red or blue is the ultimate. But fancy color diamonds are a topic for another article!
In the normal range, the top three colors DEF are considered colorless. D is at the top of the color scale with literally no visually detectable body color when viewed by experts in a carefully controlled laboratory setting and compared against a set of master stones.
There are several reasons that some customers will pay the premium for a D color diamond. First, people with very good color acuity appreciate top color grades more than average buyers. They are able to detect small shades of color better than most, and are therefore able to appreciate the beauty and rarity of top color. Second, there is the perception among some that colorless diamonds are brighter and more fiery than lower colors. Scientifically there is some truth to that, but other factors, particularly diamond cut quality
, play a much bigger role in determining brilliance, fire and scintillation (diamond sparkle
) than color in the near colorless to colorless range. Lastly, there is the emotional and psychological appeal of owning the very best.
Color is of course just one of the critical 4’cs of diamond quality. True perfection resides in D colored diamonds that are also flawless and perfectly cut, like A CUT ABOVE® hearts and arrows diamonds
. The rarest of the rare are super ideal cut D Flawless diamonds
, which are really in a class by themselves.
But diamonds at the top of the scale in both color and clarity tend to have price tags that are also at the top of the scale! Therefore the vast majority of buyers make some compromises in one or both aspects. Buying down, even several grades in each area, can save a great deal of money while impacting the diamond’s beauty very little (provided the cut quality is outstanding). Modern buyers are quickly learning the value of very high cut grades, in particular certified ideal cut diamonds
, for maximum light performance. Optimal light return from a diamond not only enables the diamond to display extraordinary brilliance and fire, but tends to make the diamond look a little bigger and whiter!