Nice Ice Super Ideal Cut Diamonds
    • You are here:
    • Home »

    Perception of Diamond Color Grades:

    Congratulations for showing the initiative to learn more about diamond color grading today! As a matter of fact, most people don’t invest the time to learn about diamonds before they buy. Instead, they simply wander into jewelry stores like lambs being led to the slaughter.

    Then they proudly announcing their intent to buy an engagement ring and don't discover the mistakes they've made until later. Of course, you'll see a few people might be carrying around one of those prehistoric Diamond 4C’s pamphlets.

    Nice Ice Blueprint

    However, the vast majority of them really don’t know anything about buying little sparkling rocks. And with that in mind, some retail jeweler is likely to skin them alive!

    But that’s not you, right? You’re the type of person who takes the time to research things before you buy it. With that in mind, I want to welcome you to the World of Nice Ice. We specialize in the niche of ideal and super ideal cut diamonds and are passionate about light performance.

    Speaking of which, you should grab a copy of the Nice Ice® Diamond Buying Blueprint™. It’s the holy grail on the subject of how to buy a diamond online.

    F-K Color Diamond Comparison
    Quick Navigation

    The Haunted Mind of Diamond Buying:

    As a matter of fact, you might be wondering what diamond color and haunted houses have in common. In the first place, there are many different kinds of people in the world. With that in mind, people are apt to believe in many different things.

    At the same time, people are similar in many ways and share many kinds of common beliefs. Although this may be true, it's a rather startling concept when you stop to think about it. For example:

    • 42% of Americans believe in ghosts.
    • 58% of people believe in the devil (the little red guy with horns).
    • 26% of people believe in witches (ex-wives not included).

    As a matter of fact, that last statistic proves that less and less people are paying any attention to their mother-in-law. However, all of these statistics are based loosely on my interpretation of the Harris poll.

    For the purpose at hand, I'm merely trying to demonstrate that there are many kinds of people in the world. At the same time, many of those people have very strong opinions about certain kinds of things. Like, the color grade of diamond that you should choose for your engagement ring, for example.

    The Colored Court of Public Opinion:

    Be Careful When You Follow the Masses

    While some of the things that other people believe might be helpful, other things can cause more harm than good. For example, sometimes somebody might tell you to stay away from certain places or things.

    As a matter of fact, they might do so because those things are scary or unfamiliar to them. However, given the freedom to decide those things for yourself, you might discover that you enjoy them. On the other hand, you might not be interested in those things at all.

    However, you owe it to yourself to make up your own mind based on your individual preferences. The last thing you should do is follow the masses.

    With that in mind, this article serves to quiet the Haunted Mind of Diamond Buying. After all, it has ensnared many a poor soul who has been foolish enough to follow the wave of public opinion.

    Imagine those poor souls, throwing away senseless piles of cash, on the condition that their diamond won't be bright white. In other words, a lot of people pay a premium for colorless diamonds when they can't see the difference. Oh, lemmings, poor lemmings, let me show you the way to understanding diamond color for yourself. After which, you can donate all of the money you will save to the Cult of Nice Ice.

    Little Miss Muffet's Tuffet:

    Of course, you know the story of Little Miss Muffet, she sat on her tuffet eating her curds and whey. Then, along came a spider, who sat down beside her, and frightened Miss Muffet away!

    Little Miss Muffet illustration by W. Denslow, Mother Goose 1901

    Although this may be true, there is much more to the story that you might find quite interesting. Because the truth is that Little Miss Muffet was not fearful of spiders to begin with. As a matter of fact, she found the spider quite interesting and spoke with it at length.

    That is, right up until the moment, when Mrs. Muffet caught sight of the spider and scared Little Miss Muffet away. Ah yes, how the facts can be malformed and twisted based on the perception of somebody else in authority.

    In the same fashion, Miss Muffet actually does not have any personal knowledge or experience with diamond color grades. However, she does know that spiders are dangerous (because her mother told her so). After all, that's what the mind of a child does, it blindly follows the advice of other people.

    However, you are a calm and rational adult with your own ideas, feelings, and beliefs. In which case, you can look upon a diamond with wonder and calm fascination. While enjoying the magical beauty of watching it weave it's spectral web of colors upon the corners of your mind. Now, you do know that I’m having a bit of fun with you, right?

    Life Is Like a Box of Crayons:

    Although this may be true, crayons are opaque and diamonds are crystalline in structure. Be that as it may, oh, let it be, let it be, wander down this page with me. And when it's all said and done, you'll know more about diamond color from the brightest whites to the setting sun. However please suspend whatever current beliefs and old notions that you may have about diamond color for now.

    Crayola Crayon Colors

    At the same time, try to keep an open mind as you read the rest of this page. In which case, you will automatically begin to develop new understandings that will improve your perception of diamond color.

    After all, the differences in body color between diamonds of different color grades is less noticeable than you might imagine.

    Be that as it may, diamonds are graded on the absence of color rather than the presence. In other words, it's time to put away your box of Crayola Crayons because those diamonds are not opaque objects.

    Diamond Color Mastery in 33 Minutes:

    In the next few moments, your comprehension of diamond color will improve dramatically. In the first place, you'll begin to understand how different types of lighting affect your perception of diamond color. After all, understanding that diamond color is simply a matter of perception will enable you to buy with confidence.

    Secondly, you will absorb a wealth of knowledge about diamond color simply by reading this article all the way through. With that in mind, let's pretend that you and I are two people just sitting here enjoying a conversation.

    Throughout the course of this conversation, your thoughts may wonder to other things as they frequently do. As a matter of fact, that kind of thing is perfectly normal, is it not? In which case, you will remember as much from this conversation as you do from most others. With that in mind, the most important thing to remember is that diamond color is strictly a matter of perception.

    Now, Imagine Your Perfect Diamond:

    Before we go much further, take a moment to visualize or imagine your perfect diamond. As a matter of fact, that can be whatever it is that’s right for you based on your preferences.

    Black by Brian Gavin Colorless Diamond

    With this intention, feel free to suspend those old thoughts and beliefs about different diamond color and clarity grades. Because the spectral bliss of this Black by Brian Gavin Diamond has nothing to do with it being colorless.

    In which case, you can set the color grade aside for the moment and focus only on the sparkle factor. That's right, just imagine all those vivid flashes of brilliant white and colorful sparkle dancing in front of your eyes.

    Let your eyes soak in those fiery flashes of brilliant light that can only be produced by diamonds of this higher cut quality.

    With this image in your mind, urge you to see that diamond color does not affect sparkle factor. Be that as it may, three things might still affect Miss Muffet’s decision about what color diamond to buy:

    • Other people's opinions and beliefs.
    • Old-world thinking about diamond color grades.
    • The Disneyland Diamond Effect.

    The latter of which we're going to explore in great detail, right after we cover the basics of diamond color grading. However, first, would this be a good time to clear your mind of those old-world beliefs about diamond color? In the event that you agree, then let the journey begin.

    How to Grade Diamonds for Color:

    In the first place, it's important to remember that diamonds are graded for color under laboratory conditions. In that event, the only light in the room is from the GIA Diamond Light. In other words, we grade diamonds for color in a room that is otherwise pitch black.

    For the purpose of accuracy, we use sets of master stones for each color range on the GIA color scale. As a matter of fact, this video by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) shows how this is done. With that in mind, watch as the grader moves the diamond between the master stones to determine the best match:

    Lighting Environment Considerations:

    Consequently, you might want to pay particular attention to the lighting environment. After all, this video shows how lighting temperature affects our perception of diamond color. As a matter of fact, you're probably beginning to see diamonds in a whole new light.

    In which case, you'll be glad to know that it's harder to see differences between color grades under normal lighting. Obviously, there is a reason why we grade diamonds for color in a pitch black room! Under those circumstances, the sparkle factor of the diamond is unable to distract us from the body color.

    "Color is a psychological property of our visual experiences when we look at objects and lights, not a physical property of those objects or lights." - Stephen Palmer, Vision Science.

    Click to Tweet

    The GIA Diamond Color Scale:

    In the first place, the GIA diamond color grading scale only applies to white diamonds. In other words, the grading scale applies to diamonds that range in hue and saturation from colorless to noticeably yellow. As a matter of fact, the alphabetical color grades are as follows:

    • D-E-F = Colorless.
    • G-H-I-J = Near Colorless.
    • K-L-M = Faint Yellow.
    • N-O-P-Q-R = Very Light Yellow.
    • S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z = Yellow.
    J-color Brian Gavin Signature Cushion Cut Diamond

    In that event, most people assume that buying a D-color diamond is the best choice. After all, it seems like diamond prices decrease as the color becomes more noticeable. Although this may be true, even trained professionals like myself can't accurately grade diamond color from across the dinner table.

    Be that as it may, the sparkle factor of a Brian Gavin Signature diamond is visible from across the room! As a matter of fact, it will be whether the diamond is D-color or K-color. With that in mind, the only thing people will be talking about is how much your diamond sparkles. By the way, would you have guessed that this 3.094 carat, Brian Gavin Signature Cushion cut diamond is J-color? After all, it still faces up pretty white even set in yellow gold.

    The GIA Color Scale From D to Z:

    As a matter of fact, people often ask me questions like:

    • Why does the GIA diamond color scale begin with D?
    • Is there a better/higher color grade than D?
    • Why aren't there A-B-C color diamonds?

    In the first place, a jeweler named Robert M. Shipley created the Gemological Institute of America back in 1931. At the time, many retail jewelers were using the letters A-B-C to designate diamond color and clarity grades. As a matter of fact, some brick and mortar jewelry stores still use this system:

    • A+ quality diamonds.
    • AA quality diamonds.
    • AAA quality diamonds.

    Although this may be true, the GIA wanted to distinguish their grading standards from the rest of the world. With that in mind, Shipley created an entirely new grading system for the industry to follow. Under the circumstances, the letters A, B, and C, are not used to describe diamond color or clarity. As a matter of fact, the previous use of the letters A-B-C is why the GIA Color Scale begins with D-color and ends with Z-color.

    Higher Color vs Lower Color Diamonds:

    In the first place, inner circle of the diamond industry describes D-E-F color diamonds as being higher in color. Secondly, we refer to L-M-N+ color diamonds as being lower in color which might be a bit unfair and misleading. After all, that implies that diamonds that exhibit any degree of warmth are less than desirable.

    Be that as it may, it's also true that Z-color diamonds face-up warmer than D-color diamonds. At the same time, it's kind of like saying that the moon is more desirable than the sun. After all, the moon appears to be much whiter and brighter in the midnight sky. Whereas the sun is warmer in terms of hue and saturation and shows a hint of yellow.

    Cape Series Diamonds by Brian Gavin

    As a matter of fact, I like to say that Cape Series Diamonds from Brian Gavin sparkle like the sun. After all, they are warmer in color and exhibit those lovely summer hues that my mom loves so much. Consequently, my mom has summer skin tone and prefers diamonds that are warmer in hue and saturation.

    As a result, the diamond that adorns my mom's hand is M-color and it's set on a yellow gold band. Nevertheless, the diamond looks spectacular because of the sparkle factor and the body color has never been questioned. With that in mind, it seems clear that your choice of diamond color is strictly a matter of personal preference.

    Under those circumstances, some people will prefer diamonds that are cooler in tone. While other people will prefer diamonds that are warmer in appearance. In a moment you will see that diamond color is simply matter of perception. Then, it will be easier for you to choose the diamond that in the color range that is most appealing.

    Diamond Color Grading Chart:

    Obviously, you're familiar with those glossy Diamond 4Cs pamphlets that brick and mortar jewelry stores wantonly toss around, right? In the event that you are, then you've been subjected to the "diamond color grading chart" printed on the paper. As a matter of fact, it probably looks something like this one from Blue Nile:

    Diamond color grading chart Blue Nile

    Consequently, it's always been interesting to me how Z-color diamonds always look so yellow on these charts. After all, it's not like a Z-color diamond really looks lemon yellow in real life. With this in mind, I urge you to remember that diamonds are not opaque like paper.

    As a matter of fact, white diamonds within the spectrum of D-Z color are transparent crystal. With that in mind, the color of a diamond is not going to appear to be as distinct as it does on paper. Be that as it may, this is also a very interesting interpretation of the GIA Color Scale. After all, it runs backwards from Z to D color instead of from D to Z color as intended.

    Said the White Queen to Alice in Wonderland: "It's a poor sort of (diamond color grading chart) that presents itself backwards to the world."

    Click to Tweet

    Diamonds as White as Snow:

    In the same fashion that the Snow Goose does not need to bathe to make itself white (Lao Tzu) neither do white diamonds. In other words, the GIA Color Scale for white diamonds describes a spectrum of hue and saturation for white diamonds. Nevertheless, I will pause momentarily to allow adequate time for that concept to sink in.

    After which I'll ask you to take another look at how the GIA describes that spectrum of hue and saturation:

    • D-E-F = Colorless.
    • G-H-I-J = Near Colorless.
    • K-L-M = Faint Yellow.
    • N-O-P-Q-R = Very Light Yellow.
    • S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z = Yellow.

    Conversely, did you happen to notice how these descriptions differ from the ones that Blue Nile is using? In the first place, the GIA uses the terms faint yellow, light yellow, and yellow to describe the range of color that Blue Nile indicates as having noticeable color?

    At the same time, Blue Nile is not necessarily wrong because K-color diamonds do reflect a hint of warmth. However, I wouldn't exactly describe it as noticeable myself since it lacks intensity. As a matter of fact, Blue Nile is clumping three classifications of color into one group​.

    In terms of marketing to the masses, it's a linguistic approach that might have some merit. However, it wreaks of moronic marketing simplicity from the perspective of sound gemological practices.

    What Is The Color White?

    According to Wikipedia: "White is the lightest color and is achromatic (having no hue). It is the color of fresh snow, chalk and milk, and is the opposite of black. White objects fully reflect and scatter all the visible wavelengths of light. White on television and computer screens is created by a mixture of red, blue and green light."

    Victor Canera Diamond Color Scale

    As shown on the left, Victor Canera Diamonds uses a color scale to represent diamond colors in their search options. In addition, they present the scale in reverse order the same as Blue Nile.

    Whereas they present the diamond clarity scale in correct sequence right below the color chart. As a matter of fact, presenting the GIA Color Scale in reverse order like this drives me batshit.

    After all, there is a correct and logical order to certain things and the alphabet is one of them! Be that as it may, I'm certain there is a logical reason for this?

    Accurate Perception of Color:

    Under the circumstances, I think you’re going to enjoy this little experiment that will fine-tune your perception of diamond color. To begin with, think back to the Diamond Color Grading Chart provided above. How much yellower did the Z-color diamond appear than the D-color diamond?

    Perception of Diamond Color Test

    As a matter of fact, go ahead and drift back up the page and sneak a peek if you like! After all, This is an Open Book Test.

    Next, pick up a piece of plain white paper off your desk. Go ahead and raid the printer if necessary. Now hold the piece of paper up directly in front of your face and look through it at the picture featured to the left.

    How much color do you see? The correct and most probable answer is none. After all, pieces of paper are not translucent like diamonds are. Given these facts, we now know that people's perception of color might not be accurate!

    Putting Pen to Paper:

    Red Stop Sign

    Most diamond buyers do not have an accurate perception of diamond color. However, that's because they've been basing their decisions on illustrations of paper and ink provided by the trade. Of course, now you know that Diamond Color charts printed on paper have nothing in common with actual diamonds.

    In the first place, the hue and saturation levels created by printers ink on paper is not comparable to diamonds. As a matter of fact, they never have been, and they never will be. Unlike paper, diamonds are translucent as spring water on a crystal clear day.

    The Color RED on this page for example, does not look the same as a red glass of Kool-Aid. In which case, paper and ink based diamond color grading charts are simply not accurate. Now that we've agreed on that, let's stop using them.

    GIA Diamond Color Wheel:

    GIA Diamond Color Grading Wheel

    As a matter of fact, this interactive GIA Diamond Color Grading Wheel is an improvement over those dusty old paper and ink illustrations.

    However, this is still not reliable for grading purposes. After all, it is not an accurate representation of diamond color because these are not actual diamonds.

    Although this may be true, these illustrations may further your appreciation of the subtle differences in hue and saturation. However, you should be aware that this attempt to illustrate the differences between the 23 different color grades is still an illustration.

    Be that as it may, most people can not tell the difference between diamonds that are one or two color grades apart. At least not without some coaching and perhaps a white background to create contrast. Of course, this will be even more difficult if you're looking at the diamonds in the face-up position.

    You Ought To Be In Pictures:

    This photograph by Tino Hammond of the GIA shows the difference between E-K-Z color diamonds from a side profile. Obviously, there is a distinct difference in the degree of hue and saturation. Although this may be true, a photograph like this still shows the diamonds as opaque objects. In which case, your perception of color is going to be affected.

    Diamond color grades E, K, and Z

    Photograph of E-K-Z Color Diamonds:

    The three white diamonds in the photograph above are as follows:

    • E-color, colorless diamond (left).
    • K-color, faint yellow diamond (middle).
    • Z-color, light yellow diamond (right).

    As a matter of fact, it should be pretty easy for you to see the difference from a side profile. After all, you're looking through the side of the diamonds and there is no sparkle to hide the color. Whereas the color would be harder to see if you were looking at the diamonds in the face-up position.

    In fact, the vivid and intense sparkle of a super ideal cut diamond will positively impact your perception of color. That's because the higher volume of sparkle will mask the body color in the face-up position. With that in mind, think of light reflecting off the surface of a large lake or the ocean. In that instance, the surface of the water is sparkling white and you may not be able to judge the color accurately.

    Although this may be true, right now I just want you to focus on the color difference of those three diamonds. Because the point of this exercise is to improve your perception of diamond color. With that in mind, I'm showing you diamonds on opposite sides of the color spectrum. Obviously, the difference will be less apparent between diamonds that are in the same spectrum. Such as, those in the G-H-I near-colorless range, for example.

    According to the GIA Gemology course, the average diamond sold by jewelry stores in America is N-color. That means that most people are wearing diamonds that are light yellow color.

    Click to Tweet

    Perception ≠ Reality:

    In the first place, there is something special about that Z-color diamond, that you are now ready to see. Begin by taking another look at the Z-color diamond above, and only the Z-color diamond.

    As a matter of fact, there is no need to focus on the E-color diamond, nor the K-color diamond right now. For the purpose of this experiment, just try and ignore the differences in hue and saturation between those two. After all, this exercise is only about the Z-color diamond.

    With that in mind, just allow the hue and saturation of the Z-color diamond to soak into your visual memory. Under the circumstances, you might want to close your eyes and imagine or visualize that Z-color diamond.Because the more you practice seeing diamond color, the more you will appreciate the subtle differences.

    Now that you can clearly see the Z-color diamond in your mind's eye, think back to the illustration. Then tell me, does the actual Z-color diamond in the photograph above look anything like the drawing?

    In other words, does printer's ink look anything like real life? On that note, does a photograph accurately portray real life either? Of course, the answer is no and that is why we use master sets of real diamonds to grade color.

    Remember that song from Sesame Street?" One of these things is not like the others... One of these things just doesn't belong... Can you tell which thing is not like the others... By the time I finish my song?"

    Click to Tweet

    Saturation of Diamond Color:

    In the event that you are beginning to think of diamond color as being fluid, you are right. After all, you have learned today that our perception of color changes depending on the situation. As a matter of fact, the presence of other colors in the room and your surroundings can affect your perception.

    At the same time, the color of diamonds tends to be more noticeable when they are larger in size. With that in mind, you'll see that color is more apparent in 2-carat than one carat diamonds. In fact, this is because the saturation of color is more noticeable as the surface area becomes larger.

    Shine Bright Like a Diamond

    Under the circumstances, it's difficult to ascertain the body color of this Brian Gavin Signature diamond. After all, the lighting scenario and the sparkle make it impossible for us to make that determination. As a matter of fact, that is the exact thing that I want you to remember.

    If we circle back to the Kool-Aid analogy above, you'll see more red in a drop of Kool-Aid that measures 8.60 mm in diameter. Whereas you'll see less of a concentration in one that measures only 6.50 mm in diameter.

    For this reason, gemological laboratories like the AGS and GIA maintain different master sets for grading diamonds of different sizes.

    Does Size Matter?

    After all, you would not use a 1-carat diamond as the basis for determining the size of a 2-carat diamond. In the same fashion, you would not use a 5-carat diamond when grading the color of a 3-carat diamond. Obviously, size matters and there is no need to beat a dead horse.

    After all, if you've ever painted a wall (any color) then you know what I'm talking about. Because the color of the wall is never going to look the same as it does on the paint swatch.

    Consequently, you wouldn't use a one-carat diamond to determine the color grade of a two-carat diamond. Likewise, you would not use a five-carat diamond when grading the diamond color of a two-carat diamond.

    Cape Color Diamonds:

    On the condition that you like warmer tones, you're going to love these Cape Series diamonds from Brian Gavin. After all, these diamonds sparkle like the sun and are perfect for people with summer skin tones.

    Cape Color Diamonds

    As a matter of fact, diamonds that are M-Z color are also known as Cape Color Diamonds. Consequently, that's because diamond color used to be described based on the country of origin.

    Diamonds from the Cape Town region of South Africa were warmer in color, therefore they were commonly called Cape Diamonds. At the same time, the terms Jager and River were used to describe D-F color diamonds.

    Whereas the terms Wesselton, Top Wesselton, and Top Crystal were used to describe G-J color diamonds. In similar fashion, many K-L color diamonds were also sold as Cape Color Diamonds.

    Why are some diamonds yellow?

    As a matter of fact, it's really just a matter of simple chemistry. Because the presence of nitrogen is responsible for the yellow color exhibited by many diamonds. In fact, as little as one part per million is enough to make that K-color diamond pictured above faint yellow.

    Congratulations Padawan!

    Congratulations are in order because now you know the basics of diamond color grading. As a matter of fact, you've done an amazing job of learning about the different color grades. Under the circumstances, you should be able to buy a white diamond with total confidence now.

    In other words, you probably have a good idea of what range of diamond color you prefer. Not to mention that you have a much better understanding of how other factors can affect the perception of color. Of course, there is much more to learn about the subject.

    As you continue to wander down this page, you may wonder about all the possibilities. Given that repetition is the mother of skill, you should read this tutorial again and again. In the event that you continue forth, you are bound to achieve the status of Diamond Color Jedi Master.

    Let the Games Begin:

    Granted that you've learned a lot about diamond color up to this point. However, the reality is that we've really only just begun to scratch the surface. Although you now have a deeper appreciation for the slight differences in the color of diamonds, there is more to learn.

    At the moment, you should be able to recognize the GIA letter and word designations that describe each color grade. Plus, you know that our perception of diamond color on paper does not necessarily match up with reality. Now, it's time to take things to the next level and explore the nuances of diamond grading.

    Blue Fluorescent Diamonds:

    As a matter of fact, your perception of diamond color will now evolve to a trade level understanding. All of a sudden, just by watching this video created by another satisfied client of Brian Gavin Diamonds. Because the video shows how different types of lighting can affect the perception of color.

    With that in mind, be sure to notice the incredible sparkle that Brian Gavin Signature diamonds display. Watch closely and pay attention to how your perception of diamond color changes from moment to moment. And how the color of the diamond changes with exposure to each and every lighting environment.

    You may want to watch this video more than once in order to truly appreciate what there is to see. In the first place, notice how the lighting affects your perception of color. Watch closely as the color of the diamond changes from room to room.

    Lighting Environments Shown:

    The video above shows a Brian Gavin Blue fluorescent diamond as seen under the following lighting environments:

    • Halogen lighting in the kitchen.
    • Candlelight in the bedroom (how romantic).
    • Energy Saver Bulbs in the bathroom.
    • The romantic light of a fireplace.
    • A mixture of fluorescent and halogen lighting.
    • Sunlight passing through a window.
    • Outdoors on a partly sunny day.
    • Surrounded by beautiful flowers, red and white.

    The more you watch, the easier it becomes to appreciate how lighting affects your perception of diamond color. Remember how the Brian Gavin Signature diamond sizzles in every lighting environment? Picture those bright, bold, vibrant flashes of light.

    Then, imagine what it must be like to hold that diamond in your hand, and see all that sparkle for yourself. Isn't that what you want in a diamond? You know light performance has nothing to do with diamond color, because it is created by exceptional optical precision. And that is why diamond connoisseurs prefer Brian Gavin Signature diamonds.

    FTC Rule 28 ~ Blue White Diamonds:

    E-trade baby meme

    Believe it or not, there was a point in time when "Blue White Diamonds" were all the rage. As a matter of fact, it was right around the time when our grandparents were enjoying the roaring twenties.

    Specifically, the term refers to D-E color diamonds with higher concentrations of blue fluorescence. Such as D-E color diamonds that exhibit strong to distinct blue fluorescence. Although this may be true, it's worth nothing that this practice is frowned upon in this establishment.

    Rule 28 of the Federal Trade Commission:

    Misuse of the term blue white: "It is unfair or deceptive to use the term "blue white" or any representation of similar meaning to describe any diamond that under normal, north daylight or its equivalent shows any color or any trace of any color other than blue or bluish."

    Blue White Diamonds:

    "Blue White Diamonds" I wonder where people would get a crazy idea like that? After all, can you imagine some disreputable retail jeweler using such a ridiculous term? Of course you can because it sounds more intriguing than saying this D-color diamond exhibits strong blue fluorescence. 

    Even I find the idea of blue-white diamonds intriguing. Obviously, because that phrase sounds so rare and mysterious that it paints such a beautiful picture in my mind.

    FTC Rule 28 Blue White Diamonds

    Be that as it may, a lot of retail jewelers did try to take advantage of people by misusing the term blue-white. As a matter of fact, blue-white diamonds were so popular that there was a shortage of them. However, apparently this was not a problem because jewelers just started showing their diamonds under blue light bulbs. Hence Rule 28 of the Federal Trade Commission.

    Pause for dramatic effect. "That's right folks, this blue-white diamond is extremely rare and looks brighter and whiter than other diamonds." Be that as it may, diamonds with blue fluorescence look perfectly normal under normal lighting. The only reason why this Brian Gavin Blue Fluorescent diamond looks blue in this photograph is because it's being exposed to black light.

    By the way, I am NOT suggesting that this Brian Gavin Blue Signature Diamond is a blue-white diamond. As a matter of fact, I am sarcastically using old world jeweler-speak to describe diamonds with blue fluorescence.

    Intensities of Blue Fluorescence:

    As a matter of fact, white diamonds exhibit varying degrees of fluorescence from negligible to distinct blue. In the light of day, they all look pretty much the same. With that in mind, the degree of blue fluorescence is primarily an identifying characteristic.

    The degrees of blue fluorescence are as follows:

    • Negligible/None.
    • Faint blue fluorescence.
    • Medium blue fluorescence.
    • Strong blue fluorescence.
    • Very Strong Blue fluorescence.
    • Distinct Blue fluorescence.
    • Over-blue
    GIA Scale Blue Fluorescence

    Generally speaking, I do not recommend that you buy a diamond with very strong to distinct blue fluorescence. Because the higher degree of fluorescence can make a diamond look cloudy or foggy under certain conditions.

    Although that may be true, the I-color diamond that Brian Gavin cut for my wedding ring had distinct blue fluorescence. As a matter of fact, I asked him for a diamond with those characteristics and it was absolutely stunning!

    Is Blue Fluorescence Good or Bad?

    You might be wondering what impact does fluorescence have on the appearance of a diamond?


    "GIA studies show that for the overwhelming majority of diamonds, the strength of fluorescence has no widely noticeable effect on appearance. In the GIA Fluorescence Study, it was found that the average person could not make a distinction between a diamond with fluorescence and a diamond without."


    -- Excerpt from GIA Blog: Understanding Diamond Fluorescence. May 09, 2012

    Consequently, it seems like most people in the industry have never read the GIA Study on Blue Fluorescence. After all, one would think that there would be less misinformation about blue fluorescence if they had.

    According to the study, less than 2% of gem-quality diamonds are negatively impacted by blue fluorescence. In other words, 98% of gem-quality diamonds look perfectly fine. With that in mind, it's reasonable to assume that blue fluorescence is a positive trait.

    After all, it is likely to improve your perception of diamond color by filtering out some of the yellow undertones. At the same time,, the small percentage of over-blue fluorescent diamonds that are negatively impacted are quite rare.

    How Does Fluorescence Affect Diamond?

    Generally speaking, blue fluorescence in white diamonds serves to improve your perception of diamond color. Because the blue fluorescent molecules help filter out any yellow undertones that may be present in the diamond. As a matter of fact, this will only occur when the molecules are excited by the influence of ultra-violet light.

    In fact, this is one of the reasons why you might decide to purchase a Brian Gavin Blue fluorescent diamond. The most compelling evidence of this is my decision to purchase a diamond with distinct blue fluorescence for myself. Be that as it may, I don't recommend that intensity of fluorescence for most people. After all, it can be a bit much unless you're the type of person who really loves blue fluorescent diamonds.

    Speaking of which, there tends to be a nice discount applied to blue fluorescent diamonds. In the first place, it has nothing to do with the effects of blue fluorescence upon diamonds. Rather, it has to do with public misconception about the effects of fluorescence. G-d bless people who don't understand blue fluorescence because they make the diamonds I like more affordable.

    Blue Fluorescence Filters Yellow:

    Excerpt from LiveScience.com: "Red-green and yellow-blue are the so-called "forbidden colors." Composed of pairs of hues whose light frequencies automatically cancel each other out in the human eye, they're supposed to be impossible to see simultaneously."

    Does Fluorescence Make Diamonds Cloudy?

    As a matter of fact, some people think that fluorescence makes diamonds look cloudy. Upon further investigation, they will often claim that blue fluorescence makes their diamond look lavender blue. Especially, when they look at their diamond in direct sunlight. Arguably, this could be because the blue fluorescent molecules are being excited by the presence of ultra-violet light.

    However, that is actually not what is happening. As a matter of fact, the phenomena that is occurring is much simpler and somewhat more amusing. Because the reality is that I've had people tell me that the same thing is happening with their non-fluorescent diamonds. In which case, they are convinced that the gemological laboratory did not grade the fluorescence accurately.

    Ah, I'm guessing that I have your full attention now. As a matter of fact, the reason why diamonds look cloudy in direct sunlight has nothing to do with fluorescence. On the condition that you are human, your eyes will adjust to protect themselves from being damaged by bright light.

    When you look at a diamond in direct sunlight, the sparkle factor is nothing short of intense. In which case, your eyes adjust to protect themselves and your diamond appears to be bluish-grey color. Under those circumstances, people tend to mistake the lavender blue hue for the effect of blue fluorescence. However, it's nothing of the sort and that is why non-fluorescent diamonds also look bluish-grey in direct sunlight.

    50 Shades of Diamond Colors:

    Now that you know that color does not effect Light Performance, you can consider a broader range of options. After all, you understand that the perception of color changes from room to room. Under those circumstances, it's fair to say that there  are 50 Shades of Diamond Colors.

    As a matter of fact, the color of your diamond is not static like a photograph. In other words, the appearance of your diamond is fluid and will change with each reflection. Now, this is an idea that you might want to ponder for some time. In fact, you can appreciate that phenomena every time you see how your diamond sparkle changes with the lighting.

    Diamond Graders Do It In the Dark:

    In the light of this discussion, it might surprise you to discover that diamond graders do it in the dark. In other words, we spend most of our time locked away in a pitch black room playing with little rocks. All right, technically diamonds are minerals and not rocks, but we're still tucked away in a dark room like mushrooms.

    As a matter of fact, the GIA Diamond Light is the primary light source in a gemological laboratory. Of course, there is also a little bit of light being cast about by the microscopes and a monitor. Otherwise, things are pretty dark and that helps us to discern the subtle differences between the color grades.

    This photograph from the GIA Gemology Course will give you a better idea of what this looks like:

    Diamond color grading using GIA Diamond Light.

    As can be seen in the photograph above, the woman is holding a white tray in her left hand. As a matter of fact, that is a diamond sorting tray that provides a neutral background.

    When grading diamonds for color, they are set on a white tray with the bottom culet pointing up. From this vantage point, we examine the diamonds from the side profile. While comparing them with master stones of previously graded diamonds in the same spectrum. In this manner, we are able to ascertain the spectrum of hue and saturation and determine the color grade.

    How to Grade Diamond Color:

    Side Profile of Diamond for Color Grading

    When we grade diamonds for color, we look at them from a side profile as shown here. As a matter of fact, this is a 1.413 carat, G-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature diamond. The graders at the AGS Laboratory determined the color grade by comparing it with a set of master stones.

    Obviously, they use a GIA Diamond Light like the one shown above. In that case, the only light in the room is from the grading equipment. After all, any other light source in the room might influence the graders perception of color. In addition, the temperature of the light itself can influence the color grade. That is why the GIA Diamond Light and microscopes use specially designed lightbulbs that are color corrected.

    With that in mind, have you ever taken the time to think about the temperature of light? After all, it's rather interesting to think about how different types of light can be cool or warm. In other words, the color of light can be cooler or warmer in tone. As a matter of fact, in the lighting industry this phenomena is known as Correlated Color Temperature (CCT). We'll talk more about that in a minute.

    Since diamonds will reflect back the color of our clothing, diamond graders tend to wear neutral tones. In other words, we try to wear clothing that is black and white. With this in mind, you will be able to appreciate all the beautiful colors that your diamond exhibits.

    Lighting Temperature:

    Kelvin Color Temperature Chart

    In the first place, I "borrowed" this Kelvin Lighting Temperature Chart from See Smart LED. Secondly, this chart is intended to help people what temperature of light is best for different purposes.

    As you can see, higher temperature lights produce cooler tones that appear to be blue. While lower temperature lights produce warmer tones that look more yellow, orange, and red.

    If you've ever stood under the blazing hot lights of a jewelry showroom, then you might see the connection. After all, the halogen lighting found in most jewelry stores is designed to make diamonds look whiter and brighter. As a matter of fact, those lights are so bright that they'll make frozen spit look good. By the way, I'm not being crude, that is actually a common reference to the I-3 clarity grade.

    Although this may be true, what I really want you to focus on are the differences in lighting temperature. Because the temperature of light is going to affect your perception of color. With that in mind, watch how the lighting affects the color of your diamond as you move from room to room.

    Now that you know how different types of lighting affect the appearance of your diamond, you are ready to learn about the Disneyland Diamond Effect. 

    The Disneyland Diamond Effect:

    In the first place, the Disneyland Diamond Effect is a concept taught to me by my mentor Brian Gavin. Secondly, it's just a playful way to describe the lighting environment that you'll see in most jewelry stores. Obviously, you know that Walt Disney is famous for creating illusions that are built upon a fairytale.

    In the same manner that practically all jewelry stores use 3000-watt halogen lighting to make their diamonds look good. As a matter of fact, even crushed rock quartz would look amazing if you pumped that much light into it. Be that as it may, this is why so many people end up buying diamonds that are so poorly cut.

    Although this may be true, this is not the only trick that jewelers employ to create the Disneyland Diamond Effect. In fact, blue dichromatic filters are used in conjunction with the lighting and artificially improve diamond color. In other words, jewelers use lighting with blue filters because it cancels out the yellow.

    Disneyland Diamond Effect

    Oh, Chris Angel eat your heart out because jewelers might be the most talented illusionists of all time! After all, they can turn yellow diamonds into white with a simple flick of the wrist!

    Of course, it's easy to explain the magic behind the illusion. After all, the trick is built upon a simple light switch, a few halogen lights, and a blue dichromatic filter.

    Influences on Diamond Color:

    Now, you are familiar with how diamond color changes with exposure to different light sources. In addition, you know how lighting temperature influences your perception of diamond color. Next, we're going to look at some other things that factor into the equation:

    • Lighting in the room.
    • The paint color of the walls.
    • Wood paneling.
    • The color of the furniture.
    • Carpeting or flooring.
    • Different types of lighting.
    • Window coverings.
    • The color of your clothing.
    • Bookbindings.
    • Miscellaneous things on your desk.
    • The color of the prongs.
    • Absolutely anything and everything else.

    As a matter of fact, the structure of a diamond consists of facets that act like tiny mirrors. With that in mind, your diamond is going to pick up on everything in the near vicinity. Then, it is going to reflect all of that splendor back at you to enjoy. In which case, the color of your diamond is constantly changing as a direct reflection of the environment.

    Mirror, Mirror On The Wall:

    "What is the best diamond color of them all?" ​

    Of course, we're all familiar with the story of Walt Disney's Snow White. As a matter of fact, there is an interesting correlation between "the fairest of them all" and D-color diamonds. After all, everything is a matter of perception, including how we visualize snow white.

    With that in mind, a few years ago, my late-wife Robin called me into the grading room. Where she was grading a D-color diamond that should have been bright white. However, this particular diamond looked more like J-color to Robin and she couldn't believe it. After all, how could the diamond graders at the GIA Laboratory make such an obvious mistake?

    "Clearly this is not a D-color diamond!" said Robin. "Just look at it, it's definitely closer to J-color and it might even be warmer than that." As a matter of fact, the D-color diamond she was holding in tweezers was showing some warmth.

    The Case of the Yellow D-color Diamond:

    The case of the yellow D-color diamond began to unravel as Robin exclaimed: "This is completely unacceptable." At which point, I began to laugh and as it turns out, that is not an appropriate response. Because the next thing I knew, I was the focal point of Robin's wrath.

    Be that as it may, Robin's outburst didn't last for long because I was pointing my finger at her shirt. In view of that fact, Robin looked down at the optic yellow blouse that she was wearing. The issue with the D-color diamond immediately became clear since the yellow shirt was coloring her perception.

    As a matter of fact, this kind of situation is the reason why diamond graders wear neutral color clothes. In other words, we run around the diamond grading laboratory dressed like Men In Black (or women if you prefer).

    Should Diamonds Be Set in White or Yellow Gold?

    Obviously, the allow color of the prongs or setting is going to influence the color of your diamond. After all, the color of the metal touching the edge of the diamond is going to reflect throughout the stone.

    In the first place, the color of the prongs/setting can affect our perception of color. As a matter of fact, it can affect the color of a diamond by as much as one full grade. In other words, setting an H-color diamond in white metal prongs might make it seem more like G-color. Whereas setting the same H-color diamond in yellow or rose gold prongs will make it look more like I-color.

    What Is the Best Setting Color for Diamond

    To put it differently, setting a diamond in platinum or white gold will make it look whiter and brighter. While setting that diamond in yellow or rose gold will make it seem warmer in tone. In fact, you can see how the color of these halo settings from Brian Gavin affects the diamond color.

    To begin with, notice how the color of the center stone changes to reflect the color of the settings. In the first place, the diamond on the left faces up bright and white. While the diamond in the middle looks a little warmer due to the effects of the yellow gold. As a matter of fact, so does the diamond on the right because it is set in 18k rose gold.

    Effect of Alloy Type on Diamond Color:

    In the first place, I want you to know that the color of the ring is not a critical factor. Only the color of the metal that touches the edge of the diamond is going to impact the color.

    How Setting Color Influences Diamonds:

    Most jewelry appraisers and independent gemologists agree that the color of the setting that touches the edge of the diamond can affect our perception by about one color grade.

    Brian Gavin Blue Fluorescent Diamond

    With that in mind, that you're buying this 2.117 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Blue fluorescent diamond. On the condition that it exhibits medium blue fluorescence it's probably going to face-up bright and white. However, it's going to look even whiter if you set it in platinum or white gold prongs.

    At the same time, it will still face-up pretty white set in yellow gold or rose gold. As a matter of fact, I think that people worry far too much about the color of their diamonds. After all, it's the degree of optical precision and proportions that determine the sparkle factor. In that case, this diamond will be outstanding due to the higher degree of optical precision.

    Consequently, the hearts pattern shown above reflects the precision of the facet structure. As a matter of fact, I mean this quite literally because light reflecting off the pavilion facets creates the hearts. In the event that you would like to know more about that, read the creation of hearts patterns.

    Can You See Yellow in I-color Diamond?

    As a matter of fact, you might detect a hint of warmth in an I-color diamond. Of course, your ability to do so will depend on the lighting circumstances. In addition, the color of the setting will affect the appearance of the diamond. While you might be able to detect a hint of warmth in a diamond up close, the odds are that you won't see it from across the dinner table.

    What Is The Best Color Diamond for an Engagement Ring?

    In the same way that you might like a certain color car, you may prefer different spectrums of diamond color. Under those circumstances, you should look at different color diamonds to discover what you like:

    • Colorless D-E-F.
    • Near-colorless G-H-I-J.
    • Faint Yellow K-L-M.
    • Very Light Yellow N-O-P-Q-R.
    • Yellow S-T-U-V-X-Y-Z

    In the event that you are looking for a good middle ground, then I would buy an F-G color diamond. After all, it's going to face-up bright and white without breaking the bank. As a matter of fact, most people can not see the difference between D-F color when mounted in a ring.

    Although this may be true, I selected an I-color diamond for my wedding ring. Under those circumstances, I was able to afford a bigger diamond and that is more apparent than color. With this in mind, deciding what color diamond to buy is mostly about finding the right balance of characteristics.

    Since most people cannot tell the difference between a color grade or two, it's mostly about deciding on the range. In other words, buy a colorless diamond if you need it to be bright white. Or, buy a near-colorless diamond if you just want it to face-up relatively white in a ring. Likewise, you should buy a slightly warmer diamond if that is your preference because it's all relative.

    The Brightest Whitest Diamonds:

    Which of the following diamonds would you say is D-color? E-color? F-color? This picture shows one of each diamond color D through F:

    D-E-F Color Diamond Comparison

    In this case, the diamonds are pictured in the following order from left to right:

    As a matter of fact, this might be the type of challenge that you face while trying to buy a diamond. After all, it seems to me that the F-color diamond on the right is the brightest and whitest. Then the D-color diamond on the left seems like the next best option. Finally, the F-color diamond in the middle looks like it's exhibiting a hint of warmth.

    Factors of Perception:

    However, that would not be the case if you were looking at these diamonds under laboratory conditions. And therein is the rub because you can't use these diamond clarity photographs to judge body color. After all, that is not their intended use and they are not color corrected for that purpose.

    As a matter of fact, there are several factors that will affect your perception of color in a photograph:

    • The time of day the photograph was taken.
    • Focal depth of the camera lens.
    • Operating temperature of the equipment.
    • The amount of light in the room.
    • Calibration of your computer monitor.

    Of course, I know you're thinking that a picture is worth a thousand words. However, they really aren't that helpful when it comes to judging diamond color. Although that may be true, it won't stop us from using them to become more familiar with ranges of color.

    Examples of G-H-I Color Diamonds:

    The screenshot below shows three James Allen True Hearts diamonds as seen from a side profile. In this case, the diamonds are presented in the order of G, H, and I-color from left to right:

    G-H-I Color Diamond Comparison

    In the first place, I want you to focus more on the differences in hue and saturation rather than color. After all, when we grade diamond color, we are actually looking for an absence of color.

    However, when we talk about "diamond color" people tend to think in terms of more color rather than less. In other words, people think that the diamonds further down the scale have more color. Although this may be true, what we're really looking at are differences in hue and saturation.

    With that in mind, do you see how the D-color diamond on the left has less saturation of color? Whereas the H-color diamond in the middle shows a little more? And the I-color diamond on the right shows a little more than that? Of course, to be technically correct, we would say that the G-color diamond has less color than the rest.

    Changing Your Perspective:

    Now, let's take a look at the same diamonds from the face-up vantage point. After all, that's how you're going to be looking at them set in an engagement ring.

    Comparison of G-H-I Color Diamonds

    In the first place, notice how much harder it is to ascertain the difference in color in the face-up position. As a matter of fact, it's pretty difficult to see the differences in hue and saturation. In this case, these James Allen True Hearts diamonds are presented in this order from left to right:

    In the same fashion as before, remember that these images are not intended to be used to judge diamond color. As a matter of fact, they are solely designed to help you identify the clarity characteristics. However, they also serve to provide you with an idea of how evenly light may be reflecting throughout the diamonds.

    Now, I'm wondering whether you noticed anything about the photo-grey background sitting behind those James Allen True Hearts diamonds? Such as, how the background displays varying degrees of hue and saturation in every shot.

    As a matter of fact, this is one of the reasons why you can't rely on these images to judge diamond color. In similar fashion, you should not use these images to try and judge sparkle factor. Because the lighting conditions in the room are always changing, so rely on the labs to grade color. Don't try to judge diamond color off of a photograph.

    J & K-L-M Faint Yellow Color Diamonds:

    In the first place, you might be beginning to realize that I like to push the boundaries that define things. As a matter of fact, that's why I am clumping J-color and K-L-M diamonds together here.

    Never mind the fact that J-color is near-colorless and K-L-M color diamonds are faint yellow. Oh, the inhumanity of it all... Can you ever forgive me for this bold and terrible act? 

    But, the thing is that from my perception, J-color is a wee bit warmer than I-color (as it should be). However, in such a way that it seems closer to K-color to me. With that in mind, I tend to clump J-color diamonds into the faint-yellow spectrum along with K-L-M color diamonds.

    As a matter of fact, I think that Sir Robert M. Shipley should have drawn the line between "colorless" and "near-colorless" diamonds like this:

    • D-E-F colorless.
    • G-H-I near-colorless.
    • J-K-L-M faint yellow.

    Of course, nobody at the GIA is going to listen to my opinion on the matter. After all, it's not like the GIA is going to adjust the color scale on my account. After all, there are some diamond dealers who find my selection criteria and production standards to be unreasonable. Shocking, I know.

    Do J Color Diamonds Look Yellow?

    In the first place, I think it's reasonable to expect J-color diamonds to exhibit a hint of warmth. Even though they may be cut to the right proportions and exhibit a higher degree of optical precision.

    Although this may be true, it seems like a lot of my peers in the diamond industry disagree with my opinion. After all, they're always telling people that the higher cut quality of their diamonds makes them look whiter and brighter. Be that as it may, the reality is that there is a bit of truth in both of our vantage points.

    After all, the proportions and higher degree of optical precision will produce more virtual facets within the diamond. Which in turn, will produce more sparkle and that sparkle will be more vivid and intense. As a matter of fact, the higher volume of sparkle will make it more difficult to ascertain the body color.

    Do J-color Diamonds Look Yellow

    With that in mind, it's likely that you will perceive a super ideal cut diamond to be brighter than a standard ideal. After all, the broad-spectrum sparkle will distract your eyes from focusing on body color.

    However, that does not mean that you won't be able to see the color if you shade the diamond from the light. In which case, you will be able to judge the body color more accurately. Under those circumstances, you might be able to detect a hint of warmth in a J-color diamond. Especially if the diamond is set in yellow gold like this 3.09 carat, J-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature Cushion. In which case, it's going to face-up closer to L-color because it's reflecting the color of the yellow gold.

    Can J-color Diamonds Look White?

    Given the explanation above, you know that a J-color diamond is going to exhibit a hint of warmth. At the same time, it's probably going to face-up whiter than you think if it's cut to a higher standard.

    Can J-color diamond look white

    With that in mind, if you're going to buy a J-color diamond, then buy a Brian Gavin Signature diamond. After all, it takes a higher degree of optical precision to produce a hearts and arrows pattern this precise.

    In the first place, the higher degree of optical precision will produce more virtual facets within the diamond. In view of that, the broad-spectrum sparkle factor will be more vivid and intense.

    In other words, a super ideal cut diamond is going to face-up brighter and whiter than a standard ideal cut with the same proportions. At the same time, remember that the lighting environment also factors into the equation.

    I-color vs J-color Super Ideal Cut Diamonds:

    As a matter of fact, it never ceases to amaze me when people ask me something like this: "Will this J-color face-up whiter than this I-color Brian Gavin Signature diamond?" After all, we're talking about two Brian Gavin Signature diamonds that are cut to the same degree of precision.

    All things considered, the I-color diamond has to face-up whiter than the J-color diamond. After all, it's one color grade whiter and brighter than the J-color diamond. From a logical perspective, the lower color diamond can't face-up whiter than the higher color diamond.

    Obviously, there is no way that the J-color diamond is going to face-up whiter even in the darkest corner of the multiverse. Although this may be true, I know the reason why people ask me these sorts of questions. After all, they're trying to judge diamond color from the high resolution clarity videos. Trust me when I tell you that this is a recipe for disaster and will only lead to confusion.

    Brian Gavin Petite Pavé Setting

    Be that as it may, you can save a little money buying a J-color diamond and set it in white metal prongs. In that event, it's likely that the J-color diamond will face-up closer to I-color. However, setting an I-color diamond in white metal prongs will have the same effect. Look at how white this 2.05 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, looks in this platinum petite pavé setting from Brian Gavin.

    However, if you set the I-color diamond in yellow or rose gold prongs, then it's going to look more like J-color. In which case, the J-color diamond set in white metal prongs might look a little whiter. Of course, you probably realize that I'm messing with you a bit, right? But, seriously, how else do you expect me to answer these types of questions?

    How Much Does Diamond Color Affect Cost?

    In the first place, most people have difficulty discerning the difference between one or two color grades. Especially within the realm of super ideal cut diamonds because the sparkle factor is so impressive. With that in mind, you can save a lot of money by dropping down a few color grades. Here's an example of that principle at work:

    D-color Brian Gavin Signature diamond
    D-color

    1.11 carats, VS-2 clarity

    $

    11,067

    /PPC

    • Brian Gavin Signature
    • Super Ideal Cut.
    • D-color.
    • VS-2 clarity.
    • 1.11 carats.
    I-color Brian Gavin Signature diamond
    I-color

    1.188 carats, VS-2 clarity.

    $

    7,0199

    /PPC

    • Brian Gavin Signature
    • Super Ideal Cut
    • I-color.
    • VS-2 clarity.
    • 1.188 carats.

    Under the circumstances, how much of a difference in color do you see between these three diamonds? Obviously, there is going to be a visible difference between the D-I color diamonds.

    However, I'm thinking that you might be able to appreciate the difference in cost more. Especially considering that the sparkle factor of these three diamonds is practically identical.

    AGS vs GIA Diamond Color Grades:

    In the first place, I'm going to assume that you are familiar with the AGS and GIA gemological laboratories. After all, they are the leading diamond grading laboratories in the United States. As a matter of fact, their diamond grading reports are widely accepted throughout the world.

    Be that as it may, the HRD Belgium is also extremely popular in Europe. As a matter of fact, I won't even consider a diamond that is graded by any other gemological laboratory. That is to say that other gemological laboratories do not seem to grade to the same standards. With that in mind, I suggest you limit your search to diamonds graded by the AGS, GIA, or HRD gemological laboratories.

    Diamond Grading Certificates:

    Neither the AGS, GIA, nor HRD gemological laboratories issue diamond grading certificates. Rather, they issue diamond grading reports based on the characteristics of the diamond at the time it was graded. As a matter of fact, those gemological laboratories do not certify anything. In fact, that is clearly stated on the back of their diamond grading reports.

    AGS vs GIA vs HRD Belgium:

    n the first place, the AGS, GIA, and HRD laboratories grade diamond characteristics comparably in my experience. As a matter of fact, the grading standards are so similar that I don't have a preference between them.

    In other words, they seem to grade carat weight, color, and clarity the same. However, there are distinct differences in the criteria for their overall cut ratings. With that in mind, I rank them in this order of preference:

    1. 1
      AGS Ideal-0 cut diamonds.
    2. 2
      GIA Excellent cut diamonds.
    3. 3
      HRD Excellent cut diamonds.

    As a matter of fact, I definitely prefer the Light Performance grading platform from the AGS Laboratory. After all, they are the only lab using Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool (ASET) to grade light performance.

    In the event that you're looking for a diamond that exhibits the best sparkle factor, you should insist on ASET. As a matter of fact, I would not settle for anything less than the Advanced ASET from the AGS Laboratory. Unfortunately, most diamond dealers are not willing to subject their production to the Light Performance grading platform. Because the insight that ASET provides tends to reveal the inconsistency of the cut quality.

    As a matter of fact, at the time this article is being written, Brian Gavin is the only cutter to adopt Advanced ASET. Be that as it may, it's not really surprising that he is willing to provide you with that kind of insight. After all, Brian Gavin is the only diamond cutter in the world with a patent for maximizing light performance in the modern round brilliant cut diamond.

    GIA Alphabetical vs AGS Numerical Systems:

    As can be seen, the grading standards of the GIA and AGS are practically identical. As a matter of fact, the AGS Laboratory was started by Peter Yantzer, who is the former director of the GIA Laboratory. With that in mind, I do not have a preference between the two laboratories.

    Be that as it may, the GIA uses an alphabetical system while the AGS uses one that is numerical. Consequently, the differences between the grading platforms can be a bit confusing at first glance. With that in mind, the AGS Laboratory provides a cross reference chart on their reports:

    AGS Diamond Color Grading Scale

    This reference chart shows the relationship between the AGS and GIA grading platforms. As you can see, the AGS numerical system is on the top row and the GIA equivalent is on the bottom. In that case, a D-color diamond on the GIA grading scale is equivalent to a 0.0 at the AGS.

    Likewise, an F-color diamond on the GIA diamond color grading scale is equivalent to a "1.0" on the AGS diamond color grading scale. However, it's worth noting that the AGS numerical based system begins with 0.0 and ends with 10. In which case, the AGS Laboratory considers anything warmer than X-color to be fancy yellow.

    Who Grades Color More Accurately?

    Occasionally, somebody will tell me that their jeweler says that the GIA grades color more strictly than the AGS Laboratory. Upon further questioning it seems like the jeweler is some old dinosaur who knows not a lick about light performance.

    As a matter of fact, they're usually trying to pawn off second rate dinosaur dung with undesirable proportions. In which case, their attempt to steer you away from the Light Performance grading platform of the AGS Laboratory is not surprising. After all, the vast majority of standard ideal cut diamonds will not fair well under those conditions.

    Take this 1.07 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round diamond from Blue Nile for example. In the first place, the pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees should produce a high volume of light return. Secondly, the 35 degree crown angle should produce a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion. However, the proportions of the diamond are only one piece of the puzzle and that's why it's leaking light:

    Standard Ideal Cut Diamond Blue Nile
    ASET Scope GIA Excellent Cut Diamond
    Ideal Scope image GIA Excellent Cut diamond

    As shown above, this GIA Excellent cut diamond has moderate to heavy light leakage occurring under the table facet. As a matter of fact, that's what the light pink transparent sections indicate in the ASET and Ideal Scope images. At the same time, it explains why the table facet looks so dark in the clarity photograph on the left.

    Does GIA or AGS Grade Color Better?

    Despite the fact that only the AGS Laboratory grades diamonds for light performance, most jewelers prefer the GIA. Under the circumstances shown above, I can only imagine that it's easier to sell GIA Excellent cut diamonds. After all, most people are likely to see the Excellent cut grade and think it is good enough.

    Of course, you won't be one of those people because you know the difference that optical precision makes. At the same time, you might still wonder whether the AGS and GIA laboratories see D-color the same way. In other words, will a D-color diamond graded by the GIA, get a 0.0 rating from the AGS or vice versa?

    In the first place, it's important to remember that each color grade represents a range of hue and saturation. At the same time, diamonds are color graded by human eyes under laboratory conditions. However, the human part of the equation is subject to influence by outside factors.

    Not the least of which are the effects of human emotion, blood sugar levels, caffeine consumption and fatigue. With this in mind, it's reasonable that two diamond graders might see things the same or slightly different. In which case, a diamond might get a D-color rating one day and E-color the next from the same person. Especially if the diamond is "sitting on the fence" between the two color grades.

    Splitting Hairs:

    In the first place, I recognize that what I'm about to say is likely to blow your mind. However, in the overall scheme of things, the difference of one color grade is a mute point. After all, you're going to be looking at your diamond from the face-up vantage point. In which case, you should be more concerned about the sparkle factor than the color grade.

    Most people can't see the difference between one or two color grades, especially in the face-up position. With that in mind, whether the lab grades a diamond D or E color is of little consequence. At least as it relates to the big picture which is what you're going to see with your eyes.

    With that in mind, what we're really looking for is a reasonable amount of consistency. It's one thing for a D-color diamond to be graded E-color, but quite another for it to be F-color. Obviously, I understand that some people might find this concept disturbing. However, I'll put your mind at ease now that the groundwork has been laid.

    Putting AGS vs GIA to the Test:

    In the first place, there are a lot of rumors and speculation floating around about which laboratory grades more accurately. Not only that, but you'll run across claims that one lab grades color or clarity more strictly than the other.

    As a matter of fact, I've heard that the GIA is stricter on grading diamond color. While the AGS is supposedly stricter on grading diamond clarity. Be that as it may, I've also heard the exact opposite and nobody is offering up any proof. In other words, it's mostly just posturing in an attempt to push their agenda forward. With that in mind, you'll find that the position assumed depends on the nature of their business.

    AGS Advanced ASET Black by Brian Gavin

    In that case, you'll find that most people selling standard ideal cut diamonds suggest that the GIA is the best. Whereas cutters like Brian Gavin prefer the AGS Laboratory because of the light performance grading platform. 

    Since the Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool (ASET) is proprietary to the AGS Laboratory, this is where the GIA falls short. After all, the entirety of the GIA system is proportions based and that allows for a lot of leeway. As a matter of fact, the proportions are only one piece of the puzzle. You still need ASET and a Hearts & Arrows Scope images to judge light performance.

    Although this may be true, the majority of people buying diamonds fail to see how the GIA falls short. At the same time, those of you buying from Brian Gavin benefit from the insight provided by Advanced ASET. As shown on the left, there is not one, but two ASET maps on the lab report.

    Dual Certification*

    Given the debate over whether AGS grading is more reliable than the GIA and vice versa, you might wonder about the possibility of sending your diamond to both labs for dual certification. After all, you might think that it makes sense to pay for a second opinion under the circumstances.

    In the first place, I need to set the record straight by pointing out that there is no such thing as dual-certification. After all, the gemological laboratories do not certify diamonds, they grade them and issue a report not a certificate. As a matter of fact, the only "gemological laboratories" that I see issuing "diamond grading certificates" are second tier labs.

    In other words, the only labs issuing certificates are the ones that don't seem to be able to grade anyway. By the way, if you think I'm being overly harsh, just Google EGL Diamond Lawsuit. Although that may be true, when we submit diamonds for "dual grading" the reports are conclusive most of the time.

    In other words, the lab reports indicate that the color and clarity grades that are practically identical. However, the measurements are always going to be slightly different because of the way the labs report the numbers. As a matter of fact, the AGS and GIA measure things slightly differently.

    In addition, the AGS reports the average of eight measurements per section of facets. Whereas the GIA averages the measurements the same way and then rounds them off as much as five percent. I'll pause for a moment to let that last sentence sink in to the depths of your mind. Feel free to leave a comment with your response to that concept below.

    AGS/GIA Dual-Graded Diamond:

    The Brian Gavin Signature diamond shown below was graded by the AGS Laboratory (AGSL) on December 09, 2013. The diamond grading report number is AGS #104068744001 and you can verify the details using AGS Report Check.

    Then, the same diamond was submitted to the GIA Laboratory for grading on February 27, 2015. In this case, the report number is GIA #2145946424, and you can verify the details using GIA Report Check.

    Dual Certification Grading AGS GIA
    AGS GIA Dual Certification

    AGS Specifications:

    GIA Specifications:

    • Round Brilliant shape.
    • Measurements: 6.88 – 6.90 x 4.27 mm.
    • Overall Cut Grade is AGS Ideal-0.
    • Diamond carat weight is 1.255 carats.
    • Diamond color: D-color.
    • Negligible fluorescence.
    • Internally Flawless clarity.
    • Total depth: 61.9%
    • Table diameter: 56.7%
    • Crown angle: 35.0 degrees.
    • Pavilion angle: 40.7 degrees.
    • Round Brilliant shape.
    • Measurements: 6.89 – 6.91 x 4.27 mm.
    • Overall Cut Grade is GIA Excellent.
    • Diamond carat weight is 1.25 carats.
    • Diamond color: D-color.
    • Fluorescence None.
    • Internally Flawless clarity.
    • Total depth: 61.9%
    • Table diameter: 56.7%
    • Crown angle: 35.0 degrees.
    • Pavilion angle: 40.8 degrees.

    Under the circumstances, I think we can both agree that the grades from the AGS and GIA are comparable. As a matter of fact, the two laboratories agreed on everything that is critically important. In other words, both labs issued the same grades for the color, clarity, and carat weight.

    Notice that the diamond was sent for grading by the AGSL, and then it was sent to the GIA for grading. In that event, all those people who claim that the GIA is tougher on color, and the AGS is tougher on clarity are clearly mistaken.

    Here's Another Example:

    In this case, the Brian Gavin Signature diamond shown below was graded by the GIA Laboratory on December 02, 2019. The GIA diamond grading report number is GIA #2337613526 and you can verify the details using GIA Report Check.

    Then, the diamond was submitted to the AGS Laboratory (AGSL) on December 17, 2019. The diamond grading report number is AGS #104109577006 and you can verify the details using AGS Report Check.

    Dual Certified Black by Brian Gavin Diamond
    Dual Graded AGS GIA Black by Brian Gavin Diamond

    AGS Specifications:

    GIA Specifications:

    • Round Brilliant shape.
    • Measurements: 9.69 – 9.75 x 5.99 mm.
    • Overall Cut Grade is AGS Ideal-0.
    • Diamond carat weight is 3.495 carats.
    • Diamond color: E-color.
    • Negligible fluorescence.
    • VVS-2 clarity.
    • Total depth: 61.5%
    • Table diameter: 57.3%
    • Crown angle: 34.6 degrees.
    • Pavilion angle: 40.8 degrees.
    • Round Brilliant shape.
    • Measurements: 9.68 - 9.75 x 5.98 mm.
    • Overall Cut Grade is GIA Excellent.
    • Diamond carat weight is 3.49 carats.
    • Diamond Color: E-color
    • Fluorescence: None.
    • VVS-2 clarity.
    • Total depth: 61.6%
    • Table diameter: 57%
    • Crown angle: 34.5 degrees.
    • Pavilion angle: 40.8 degrees.

    As shown above, this Black by Brian Gavin received the same overall grades from the AGS and GIA. With the exception of very minor differences in some of the measurements. As a matter of fact, that is perfectly acceptable because the labs average the measurements differently.

    EGL vs GIA vs AGS Graded Diamonds:

    In the first place, there are many trade members who think that the EGL is a second tier laboratory. In other words, they don't think that EGL grading standards are comparable to AGS and GIA. As a matter of fact, I prefer diamonds graded by the AGS, GIA, or HRD gemological laboratories.

    On September 09, 2014, the JCK Magazine reported that "RapNet Bans EGL Reports from Trading Network". That means that EGL graded diamonds were banned from being listed on the largest Multiple Listing Service. As a matter of fact, that's the MLS that the majority of the industry uses to market diamonds globally:

    AGS vs GIA vs EGL graded diamond color grading. RapNet bans European Gemological Laboratory

    EGL Diamond Grading Lawsuit:

    Is all of this blowing your mind? In the first place, the lawsuits referred to in the article are spearheaded by the law firm Cummings Manookian. The Diamond Lawsuit claims that "EGL issued bogus certificates purporting to grade the Four C's of the diamond. The bogus certificates were designed to look identical to legitimate GIA certificates and even use GIA's grading scale." This is a screenshot from the Cummings Manookian web site that shows that quote:

    Diamond Lawsuit claims EGL overgraded diamond color, clarity, characteristics, Cummings Manookian

    Now you see that I am not alone in my opinion that some "certificates aren't worth the paper they're written on." If you investigate the claim, you'll see that it does not involve the AGS, GIA, or HRD Belgium. As a matter of fact, the primary focus is on diamonds graded by the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL).

    Under those circumstances, the statement issued by Cummings-Manookian refers to legitimate GIA certificates. As shown above, it implies that GIA graded diamonds are legitimately graded. As a matter of fact, the GIA and AGS are sister organizations. On that note, you can learn more about that in the article GIA vs AGS Graded Diamonds - Which Gemological Laboratory is Best?

    What Does "No BGM" Mean?

    Occasionally, you might see the abbreviation "No BGM" used to describe diamond characteristics. Under those circumstances, you might find yourself wondering what "No BGM" stands for. After all, you won't find that abbreviation listed anywhere on a diamond grading report.

    As a matter of fact, diamond cutters may use the term "No BGM" as an additional description within the MLS. As a matter of fact, No BGM simply means that there are no brown or grey undertones, and the diamond is not milky.

    1. 1
      B = Brown.
    2. 2
      G = Grey undertones.
    3. 3
      M = Milky.

    In the first place, this is something that you need to be aware of regardless of what diamond color you choose. However, I don't feel that this is something that you need to worry about if you buy from:

    After all, they hand select every diamond for their inventory and take this kind of thing into consideration.

    Beyond the Basics:

    So, now you know all about diamond color!

    In the first place you know that different types of lighting will affect our perception of diamond color. Secondly, you got to watch a Brian Gavin Signature round diamond change color dramatically as it moved from room to room. That is really important because you might decide to save some money buying a lower color diamond. Plus, you got to see how dramatically different it looked under:

    • Halogen lighting in the kitchen.
    • Candlelight in the bedroom (how romantic).
    • Energy Saver Bulbs in the bathroom (close the sink trap!)
    • The romantic light of a fireplace.
    • A mixture of fluorescent and halogen lighting.
    • Sunlight passing through a window.
    • Outdoors on a partly sunny day.
    • Surrounded by beautiful flowers, red and white.

    You're Practically an Expert:

    As a matter of fact, this is absolutely outstanding because you know more about diamond color than most jewelers. In the first place, you know how lighting temperature will affect the appearance of diamond color.

    Secondly, you also know that an I-color diamond can sparkle as exceptionally as a D-color diamond. After all, the diamond cut quality has more impact on light performance than the color grade. As a matter of fact, that is why I had Brian Gavin cut an I-color diamond for my wedding ring.

    You Also Know the Effect All These Things Have Upon Diamond Color:

    • The color of our clothing.
    • Wall coloring in the room.
    • Paint color or wood paneling.
    • Furniture color.
    • The presence of flowers.
    • Decorative art.
    • Book bindings.
    • Lighting temperature.

    Plus, you know that blue fluorescence can improve our perception of diamond color by as much as one color grade! In addition, you know that those rumors about blue fluorescent diamonds looking milky or cloudy is little more than urban myth. As a matter of fact, blue fluorescence has no negative impact on 98% of all gem-quality diamonds. Only diamonds with very strong to distinct blue fluorescence even have the possibility of looking over-blue.

    What Else Did You Learn?

    To begin with, do you remember why I don't recommend EGL graded diamonds? As a matter of fact, that's why you're only going to consider diamonds graded by the  AGS, GIA or HRD, right?

    Remember the 1.255 carat, D-color, Internally Flawless clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond from above. It's "dual certified" by both the AGS and GIA Laboratory with the exact same color and clarity grade. This demonstrates that the GIA and AGS gemological laboratories grade by the same standards. Now you can put all of that "Is GIA better than AGS" stuff behind you. Whew! What a relief.

    You also know to ignore those useless diamond color grading charts! Pen and ink illustrations of not-so-real diamond colors are not accurate. Printers' ink on paper is not representative of the actual differences in hue and saturation that actual diamonds exhibit.

    What else did you learn? Oh yes, that's right... You now know all about the "No BGM" [Brown, Grey, Milky] trap. Imagine what it would be like to buy a G-color diamond out of virtual inventory. You receive the package. You open the box. Take out the diamond and discover that it is G-color with brown or grey undertones. Yuck. What a disappointment.

    Mastering Diamond Color:

    Congratulations on making it to the end of this in-depth tutorial on diamond color grading! At this point, you probably know more than 99.9% of people buying an engagement ring. As a matter of fact, you probably know more than most people working in the industry.

    In that case, you've earned the recognition and respect that comes with being a Jedi Master of Diamond Color. With that in mind, the most important thing to remember about color is that it is a minor consideration. After all, it's the cut quality of the diamond that controls the sparkle factor and light performance.

    Diamond Cut Quality is #1:

    In the first place, remember that limiting your search to AGS Ideal and GIA Excellent is only the first step. As a matter of fact those overall cut grades do not take the optical precision into account. That is crazy since the degree of optical precision has a direct impact on the intensity of sparkle!

    Secondly, you will need the following images to judge the degree of optical precision and light performance:

    • Diamond clarity photograph.
    • Advanced ASET 30-40 maps.
    • ASET Photograph.
    • Ideal Scope (it's old tech, but better than nothing).
    • Hearts and Arrows Scope images.
    • High resolution video is a Plus.

    Now, it can be difficult to interpret the meaning of these images if you don't already know how. With that in mind, I recommend relying on my expertise (totally shameless plug).

    30+ years of diamond buying experience has its benefits you know! In that case, I'm happy to help you pinpoint the subtle differences in diamond cut quality. Under those circumstances, your online diamond buying success is practically guaranteed! Let me know if you'd like my assistance searching for a diamond and feel free to send me links to any diamonds that you might be considering.

    Leave a Comment:

    0 Shares