Anyone thinking of buying diamond jewelry online, will come across the four big C’s: cut, color, clarity and carat. There is a bit more to buying diamond jewelry online than just focusing on these four characteristics, but it is not a bad place to start.
The four C’s influence the price of loose diamonds and diamond jewelry all in their own way. The less color a diamond has, for example, the higher it is graded and the more expensive it will be.
The diamond color scale starts with D
You will notice that diamonds are graded by color from D to Z.
D-graded diamonds are 100% colorless and Z-graded diamonds have a light yellow or brown tint. The letters between these two represent an increasing presence of color in the gemstones.
The color distinctions between diamonds of different grades can be too subtle for an untrained eye to see. They can, however lead to a large difference in the price of the diamonds.
Note that D-Z graded diamonds are all classified as white diamonds. Diamonds with colors such as green, pink and yellow are known as fancy colored diamonds and have their own color scale.
|Colorless||Near colorless||Faint||Very Light||Light|
But what happened to “A”, “B” or even “C”? Why start the diamond color scale with the letter “D”?
“Jagers” and “rivers” and “rain”
The answer is found in the history of the diamond trade. It is believed that people have been trading with diamonds for the last thousand years. Throughout the centuries, traders had no agreed-upon descriptions nor grading system for the diamonds.
The color of the diamonds was said to be clear as the “rain” or as clear as the water flowing in the rivers. “Jagers” was the nickname for the blue-white diamonds from the Jagersfontein Mine in South Africa. Other terms such as “rarest white” and “top Wesselton” were also used.
Brokers started to grade diamonds with Roman numerals, or the letters A, B and C. Then the letters AA and AAA were used for diamonds of a higher quality than A. There was however no standardized system for grading the diamonds. One dealer’s AAA diamond could be considered only a B-grade diamond by another dealer.
GIA Diamond Color Scale
In 1931 the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) that was focused on the science of gemology and not on the trading on diamonds, was established.
They quickly realized the need for an international diamond grading scale.
Diamonds are graded by comparing them to master-stones of known color under specific lighting and with controlled viewing conditions.
The GIA decided to avoid using the letters A, B and C totally to avoid confusion with other grading scales still in use. The letter D now stands at the top of the color grading scale and represent colorless diamonds
This standardized grading system of the GIA is used today globally and everyone in the diamond world knows that D-graded diamonds are the most sought after and expensive diamonds that one can find.