Choosing the right diamond color for your engagement ring or jewelry can be perplexing when you’re choosing between different grades of “colorless” diamonds. After all, they are all supposed to have no color, right?
Not really. Colorless diamonds come in different grades depending on what secondary color hues they contain. These hues can range from easily noticeable to virtually invisible, with the latter being much more valued than the former. The highest color grade of all colorless diamonds is the D color grade.
But what is a D color diamond exactly? Below, we’ve listed the 10 most frequently asked questions about D color diamonds:
- 1. What is a D color diamond
- 2. Why do diamond colors start at D?
- 3. Is a D color diamond worth it?
- 4. Are D color diamonds expensive?
- 5. Who should buy D color diamonds?
- 6. How rare are D color diamonds?
- 7. Do D color diamonds have a better look?
- 8. What is the most expensive D color diamond?
- 9. What settings do D color diamonds work well with?
- 10. What cuts and shapes do D color diamonds work well with?
1. What is a D color diamond
A D color diamond. See more here.
Diamond color grades range in a (nearly) alphabetical order going from D to Z. The exact grading systems goes like this:
- Colorless – The D, E, and F grades
- Near Colorless – The G, H, and I grades
- Faint Color – The J, K, L, and M grades
- Very Light Color – N to R grades
- Light Color – S to Z grades
The differences within each group are minimal. However, this is noticeable by jewelers and sometimes by the naked eye as well. While an F color diamond will usually look identical to a D color diamond, the two grades still signify different quality diamonds.
D color diamonds are the most purely colorless diamonds out there – they exhibit no color hues at all and preset true colorless brilliance.
2. Why do diamond colors start at D?
The reason why the A, B, and C grades are skipped is fairly simple – to avoid exaggerated grades such as AA, AAA, Top-A, Top White, Top Blue-White, and so on. In the past, these were actual “grades” that many jewelers tried to market their customers. It was precisely to move away from such grift that grading institutes eventually agreed to turn their backs on the A, B, and C grades and start grading diamond color from D. The fact that D is also the first letter of “diamond” is just a lucky coincidence.
3. Is a D color diamond worth it?
That depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a good-looking diamond that shows no coloration to the naked eye and sits well on an engagement ring or other piece of jewelry, then D color diamonds would be somewhat of an overkill for such a practical purpose.
In some situations, going for the F grade (lowest in the colorless category), the G, H, and I grade range (near colorless), or even J and K grades (faint yellow) can be much more beneficial for your budget without sacrificing the visual appearance of your jewelry piece.
The reasons for this are twofold:
- E, F, and even G and H color diamonds often give the best balance between value and aesthetics. You’ll get a beautiful diamond that looks very near in appearance to a D color diamond without the high cost. Under specific circumstances you may be able to notice the slight color hues of these grades, but most of the time these color grades will look just as good as D color diamonds while costing much less.
- The metal settings of the ring or jewelry piece you’re going to put the diamond in will inevitably add some color to the stone’s brilliance anyway. Even if you go for white metal, the color of the light, reflections, and your surroundings will still add some color hues too. If you’re opting for rose or yellow gold, it makes more financial sense to choose a diamond slightly lower on the color grade, as any tints in the diamond will blend into the metal.
4. Are D color diamonds expensive?
Choosing a D color diamond over a G or H color stone, for example, will bump up the price by quite a bit. For example, while a D color, ideal round cut, VVS1, 1-carat diamond costs between $7,500 and $10,500, a similarly-looking H color, ideal round cut, VVS1, 1-carat diamond costs between $4,300 and $6,500 – that’s a ~80% price hike.
Given that the eye-level differences between D color and H color stones are negligible, there simply are other more budget-friendly ways to get better-looking diamonds for your ring or jewelry piece.
5. Who should buy D color diamonds?
The one situation where D color diamonds are truly worth it is for collector’s purposes. If you are looking for top-tier colorless diamonds to add to your high-value collection, then going for the D color grade is a good idea.
6. How rare are D color diamonds?
D color diamonds are the rarest of the colorless diamond grades which naturally bumps up their price. That being said, even these colorless diamonds aren’t as rare as most fancy colored natural diamonds (i.e. truly colored diamonds that go beyond the Z colorless grade) such as red and pink diamonds.
So, while D color diamonds are rarer than other colorless diamonds, they aren’t the most sought-after diamonds out there.
7. Do D color diamonds have a better look?
Compared to G-I, J-M, and N-Z colorless diamonds, D color stones have a distinctively better look. Compared to E and F color diamonds, the difference is so negligible to the naked eye that it’s rarely worth considering. Why pay for something that you can’t see?
8. What is the most expensive D color diamond?
The most expensive D color diamond is technically the infamous Koh-I-Noor – the 186-carat colorless diamonds that Britain “stole” from India in the 19th century. The stone was later shaped into a 105.6 carats oval cut to maximize its brilliance. There’s no actual price tag on this stone as it’s not for sale (and it was never really “bought”) but if it was ever sold it’d undoubtedly be the most expensive diamond in history.
Of all the properly priced colorless diamonds, the most expensive one to date has been the Cullinan – a 337-million-Euro gem that’s 530.2 carats large. It’s been dubbed “The Great Star of Africa” and is currently a part of the British Crown Jewels collection.
9. What settings do D color diamonds work well with?
D color diamond in 18K white gold halo setting. See it here.
D color diamond in 14K yellow gold setting. See it here.
If you choose a D color diamond, then it’s best to mount the stone on a white metal such as platinum or white gold. Because the setting tends to add color to the diamond, white metals enhance the colorlessness of the stone and doesn’t add any tints to it. Additionally, when choosing the setting, opt for one that enhances the sparkle and size of the diamond, such as a solitaire or 4-prong setting.
10. What cuts and shapes do D color diamonds work well with?
D color diamonds are usually cut in round, cushion and oval cuts to maximize their brilliance. This isn’t to say that other cuts won’t work but the very purpose of getting a D color diamond is to showcase how devoid of color it is. Making sure that its brilliance is as clear and noticeable as possible is the best way to do that.
D color diamonds are perfect when it comes to color, but this perfection may be invisible to your eye. If you’re after prestige and perfection, then a D diamond might be the right choice for you. But if you’re looking for the best mix of value and beauty, we recommend dropping lower on the color scale. The money you save on the color of the diamond can be put towards something that you’ll actually see – like the cut of the stone.
To browse high-quality earth-mined D color diamonds, go here.
If you’re looking for lab-created D color diamonds, go here.