Wondering if a D Color diamond is right for your engagement ring?
You're in the right place. In this guide, we'll go over all the important things you need to know about buying a D color diamond and answer questions like:
- How does a D color diamond compare with an E color diamond?
- Can lower color grades hurt my diamond?
- What causes yellow tint in diamonds?
What is a D Color Diamond?
A D color diamond is a diamond whose color grade has been assigned as a colorless diamond. Colorless diamonds consist of three letter grades: D, E, and F color diamonds. A D color diamond is the highest color grade a colorless diamond can be given.
How Do Diamond Color Grades Work?
Diamond color grades are given when a diamond grader observes the amount of yellow tint or brown tone in colorless diamonds.
It might surprise you to know that there are very few high quality colorless diamonds sold in the world. Most diamonds sold are in the near colorless range, which is the GHIJ color grades.
The yellow/brown hue in a colorless diamond happens during formation, usually when nitrogen atoms get stuck in the crystal lattice. The amount of nitrogen and its arrangement determine the intensity of the yellow hue. The same is true for fancy yellow and orange colored diamonds, but those are graded differently than colorless diamonds.
In colorless diamonds, the presence of yellow or brown tint indicates a lower value. The hue isn't vivid like it should be in fancy yellow colored diamonds. It may be uniform throughout the diamond, or maybe be tinted in different zones of the diamond.
The GIA Color Grading Scale for Colorless Diamonds
The Gemological institute of America came up with the official color grading scale in the 1950s. The GIA is the world's leading research laboratory in gemology as well as its own laboratory for grading diamonds.
The key to color grading is consistency. For that reason, the GIA has a set of master stones for color grades D-Z. Incoming loose diamonds are set next to and matched up with one of the color grades until they find an accurate match.
The color scale starts from D and goes through Z, though most in-store retailers don't carry below J color diamonds. In online retailer inventories, they can go as low as an M color diamond. For lower color grades below M, you're likely to find them from private sellers on places like Etsy or marketplace groups.
D Color Diamonds vs E Color Diamonds
D color diamonds are right above the E color diamond grades on the diamond color grading scale. Both are in the colorless color grade range,
The average person could look at a D color diamond and an E color diamond side by side and probably not be able to tell which is which. At best, you've got a 50/50 guess.
As we've noticed in the industry, it's very difficult to see the tint difference between diamond color grades that are right next to you. Generally, subtle tint variations are noticed from two color grades away.
Likewise, the price difference between E and D color diamonds is minimal too. You can expect more of a price difference when dropping from colorless color grade diamonds to the near colorless grade range.
D Color Diamond vs F Color Diamond
The diamond color difference between a D color diamond and an F color diamond is more noticeable, but probably only if you're really trying to discern the color difference.
F color diamonds are the last color grade of the colorless range. They are a great option for someone wanting a colorless diamond engagement ring without having the to pay the higher cost of a D diamond color grade.
Assuming that all other diamond grades are comparable, you can expect a D color diamond to cost up to 15% more than an F color diamond.
D Color Diamond vs G Color Diamond
A G diamond color grade is the first color grade of the near colorless range. It comes right after F color diamonds and before H color grade diamonds. Out of all our comparisons, D color diamonds vs G color diamonds will have the most noticeable color and price difference.
When looked at by itself, one probably would assume that a G color diamond is colorless. But when graded upside down next to an F color grade diamond, they might retract that statement.
A G color grade diamond is a fine color grade for a diamond. Remember, the majority of engagement rings sold in stores like Jared and Kay are in the near colorless range. A D color diamond is less likely to be found in-stores.
If sticking to a budget without compromising too much is important to you, G color diamonds might be right up your alley. On average, you can expect a G diamond color grade to cost up to 20% less.
How Much is a D Color Diamond?
The cost of D color grade diamonds will fluctuate based on other grades and details. Diamonds aren't graded on color appearance alone, but a number of different factors. Diamond color is only one of the 4Cs of Diamond quality, the system of grading standards set forth by the GIA.
Your diamond's cut quality, clarity grades, and carat weight are the remaining 3Cs and like color, they have a big impact on your diamond's price. Other factors that can influence the price of your diamond include
- Your diamond's shape
- Your diamond's certification laboratory
- If it's a branded diamond (Hearts on Fire, Leo First Light, Sakura Diamond)
- Buying in-store vs Online
- Fluorescence (another color effect in diamonds)
- Lab grown diamonds vs Mined Diamonds
One of the easiest ways to drive up the price of a D color diamond grade is to increase your carat weight. Detection of tint is much easier in larger diamonds, and it's a lot harder to find them in higher color grades like a d color diamond.
The average carat weight for a center diamond runs somewhere between 1-2 carats. The price ranges, but you can notice a significant premium as the carat weight of a colorless D grade diamond increases.
- A 1 Carat D Color Diamond with SI Clarity and Very Good Cut Quality may start around $6,000 and go up
- A 2 Carat diamond with a D color grade (and the same grades above) can cost upwards of $20,000
- 3 Carat diamonds with D color grades start around $40,000 and up
Save on D Color Diamonds with Lab Grown Diamonds
If any of those prices are a bit outside of your budget-never fear. Lab grown diamonds are here. Lab diamonds are real diamonds that have been formed in laboratory conditions by scientists that have simulated the conditions it takes to grow a diamond in the earth.
The ease of production allows the diamond industry to provide lab created diamonds at a significant decrease in price. On average, a lab grown D diamond color grade can be 20-40% less expensive than a D color grade mined diamond.
Lab diamonds don't have the same trade-up value like a natural diamond might, but that shouldn't matter unless you're planning to resell your diamond anyway. And I don't recommend that with any colorless diamond. Fancy colored diamonds are where diamond investing is really at.
You'll have more options when buying lab grown diamonds with D color because the rate of completely colorless diamonds is higher. The controlled laboratory environment limits some of the impurities that can tint a diamond. However, there are still faint yellow lab grown diamonds too, which are very affordable.
Is a D Color Diamond Good for an Engagement Ring?
A D color diamond is the best diamond color grade available in the industry according to diamond professionals. But does this make it the best diamond for you? Well, that all depends on your priorities.
Sure, there's a higher value and rarity with completely colorless diamonds. But you don't need a D color diamond grade in order to have a beautiful diamond ring.
Choosing a lower color grade doesn't affect the durability of your diamond, only the diamond's appearance. But if you were to opt for a lower cut grade,
And not all of us have the same sensitivity when it comes to perceiving color tint with the naked eye. D color diamonds are described as icy white or chemically pure, but many might believe a G color diamond is white too.
Some people may even prefer a warmer colored diamond. Some say that yellow tint complements darker skin tones. If that's the case for you, then feel free to enjoy lower color grades for a bargain compared to the higher prices for "white diamonds".
The normal range for commercial diamonds is near colorless, but if you want the best color grade, then by all means, choose a D color diamond.
Final Thoughts: What to Do When You Can't Afford a D Color Diamond
Maybe you really like the icy white look of D color diamonds, or any grade on the colorless range. But maybe you can't afford it, or you've prioritized other diamond grades and details more so than color grade.
If you want a lower color grade to appear colorless, there's a few tricks you can utilize. You should keep in mind that these may or may not work for you, depending on how sensitive to color you are.
For example, the ring setting you choose can have an effect on how "white" your diamond appears. If you've chosen a K color diamond and you're wanting to it to look less yellow, avoid a white gold or platinum setting. White gold makes light yellow colorless diamonds appear darker because of their shiny white metal.
But if you set your K color diamond in a yellow gold or rose gold setting, it can draw out some of the color tint because of the color of the metal. Likewise, if you buy a D color diamond with yellow or rose gold settings, it can make it appear darker than it actually is.
Your chosen diamond shape can also affect how you perceive color in a diamond. Round diamonds with an Excellent or Ideal cut grade can reflect enough light through all its triangular facets and perfect symmetry to dim down the yellow of your diamond.
Some people may tell you that all brilliant cut diamond shapes have this ability, but there are some brilliant cut shapes that show color more due to their bigger surface area, like the oval cut diamond. Other diamond shapes that are step-cut are known for revealing color more too, like an emerald cut diamond or an Asscher cut diamond.
Lastly, remember you have the option to get a diamond at a discount by going the lab grown diamond route. Your ability to afford a D color grade without sacrificing other diamond grades increases a lot more with the discount you get.
D color diamonds are the cream of the crop. But don't forget that E and F color diamonds are also considered colorless. It's not necessary to buy the highest color grade available but I don't recommend buying the lowest color grade either. You should prioritize the grades that mean the most to you and utilize viewing tools to determine which diamond you like best!