D Color Grade Diamonds

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.
Fun fact: When the GIA created the diamond grading scales in the 1950’s diamonds were being marketed with a confusing collection of grades around the letter “A” such as A, AA, and AAA. Some sellers’ best stones were A and others AAA. To avoid that confusion GIA started their grading scale at D. There were plenty of letters left in the alphabet to assign to diamonds with increasing body color!
D Colored Diamond
D Colored Diamond
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 Comparison of D vs E Color Diamonds

Diamonds in the colorless range (DEF) vary only in their degree of colorlessness! There is a very fine line between each of the colors at the top of the color scale. In real world lighting environments it is even most experts cannot reliably tell them apart. Some people have extremely good color acuity and can perceive these tiny differences in body color, but most people cannot. The color calls are made at the gem labs by experienced graders working with highly controlled lighting, and using carefully vetted master comparison stones.
To illustrate this point, see the following colorless diamonds viewed from the side with magnification in diffuse daylight. In this position and environment it can be possible to see small amounts of body color.
D and E color diamonds viewed from the side
D and E color diamonds viewed from the side
When diamonds are viewed in the face up direction, the ambient light returning to the eye can overwhelm any small amount of body color making it virtually impossible to distinguish between colorless diamonds, even when controlling the lighting.
The bottom line is that the difference between D vs E color diamonds is extremely small. But it does have an important impact on price, especially in bigger natural diamonds of high clarity and cut quality. The price difference in the natural market is driven more by rarity than by real world differences in beauty. In selecting a D color over an E color, all other qualities being equal, the usual driver of the decision is often emotional rather than visual.

D Color Natural Diamonds

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!

D Color Lab Grown Diamonds

The emergence of laboratory grown diamonds in the market has provided a way for consumers to be able to get top colors and clarities in diamonds at very affordable prices. Lab diamonds are real diamonds with essentially the same chemical, physical and optical properties of natural Earth-mined diamonds. While they are not for everybody, lab diamonds do offer an affordable alternative for shoppers who appreciate the beauty of clean, colorless diamonds.
The technology to produce diamonds in a laboratory has rapidly improved over the last several years, resulting in bigger and better diamonds arriving on the market. Today there is little reason to compromise much on color or clarity, and certainly not on cut quality, with ample supplies of high-quality lab grown diamonds readily available. There are some unique issues to be aware of in choosing a lab diamond, so please review our guide on lab vs natural diamonds to help you make the best decisions on what is right for you.
Most lab grown diamonds are type II, a technical category indicating that there is no measurable amount of nitrogen in the carbon lattice of the diamond, which typically gives diamonds a yellow or brown hue. Type II diamonds are sought after by diamond connoisseurs for their ultimate purity. But the element boron may be present in lab grown diamonds which gives them a bluish hue. While blue may be preferable to yellow or brown to most people visually, there are those who want to avoid any presence of body color in their diamonds. Seeking out D color lab grown diamonds is one way to approach that goal.

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