4C’s of diamonds: Color grading of white diamonds is better understood as a scale to describe LACK of color. The dispersion of light into the spectral colors, known as brilliance, is not a part of this topic.
Most diamonds used in jewelry are slightly tinted due to traces of other elements, nitrogen, for example, turns them yellow, boron blue, etc.
The color scale shown here calls attention to how difficult color description is. We do NOT apply a color grade to diamonds based on printed images. Diamonds are transparent, as well as 3D. No image process can duplicate what our eyes see when viewing a transparent item like a diamond. So, what’s perfect as a paint chart isn’t useful at all for diamond grading.
We’re showing this image to illustrate that reading color descriptions, or seeing opaque images, comes nowhere close to telling you what your eyes will see when you actually see a diamond live.
Expert graders use master stones, a pre-graded set of diamonds or other transparent specimens of known color. Comparison with known colors in consistent lighting is the only way to accurately assign a grade. I recommend an eyes on & hands on presentation so you can easily see how this is done; and more importantly, how it impacts the beauty and value of a diamond.
In a future blog we’ll address colored diamonds, called “fancy”, that use an entirely different grading system.