Most all natural diamonds contain small quantities of nitrogen atoms that displacing the carbon atoms within the crystal's lattice structure. These nitrogen impurities are evenly dispersed throughout the stone, absorbing some of the blue spectrum, thereby making the diamond appear yellow. The higher the amount of nitrogen atoms, the yellower the stone will appear.
In determining the color rating of a diamond, the Gemological Institute of America uses a scale of "D" to "Z" in which "D" is totally colorless and "Z" is yellow. The color chart in IMG 1 explains the GIA grading system for clear
(not fancy-colored) stones.
Due to a diamond's high brilliance, and dispersion of light (fire) when looking through the table or crown, colour grading should be determined by examining the stone through the side of the pavilion (IMG 2), and not by looking at the top of the stone, as in (IMG 3) example below. Colour grading by 'visual-observation is performed against a Master CZ Coloured Grading Set
Skin Tone and Settings
While some may prefer a very transparent D to F range, others may prefer a "warmer" color found in a G to J range to compliment their skin tone. In some settings with various combinations of other stones, diamonds with a visible tint may be preferred.
FANCY COLOUR DIAMONDS
Diamonds can occur in all colours of the spectrum, and their colour is due to trace impurities of nitrogen and/or hydrogen (yellow, brown diamonds), boron (blue diamonds), radiation exposure (green diamonds) or irregular growth patterns within the crystal (pink, red diamonds).
Colourless diamonds would normally be priced much higher than yellow diamonds. However, when a diamond's colour is more intense than the "Z" grading, it enters the realm of a "Fancy Colour" diamond. In this case, the intensity of the colour in the diamond can plays a significant role in its value. The value of a Fancy Colour Diamond can surpass that of colourless diamonds if the intensity of the colour is high and the colour is rare.
Fancy Coloured Synthetic Diamonds
Unlike natural diamond which can occur in completely colourless D, E, F grades, most synthetic diamonds will have a slightly yellowish hue due to nitrogen impurities that are dispersed throughout the crystal lattice structure during the growth phase. These impurities absorb the blue end of the light spectrum, making the stone appear yellowish. It is for this reason that manufacturers of synthetic diamonds tend to specialize in fancy colours.
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