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Colorless a Range?

Bonfire

Ideal_Rock
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I got to thinking about *colorless* diamond grading. Somehow it doesn’t make sense to me that there are 3 different color grades that are considered colorless. A diamond grade of D is colorless so anything below that, E-F would fall into a near colorless grade wouldn’t it? How can there be multiple grades of colorless? I’m I getting caught up in semantics? Somebody please explain this to me.
 

Snowdrop13

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I got to thinking about *colorless* diamond grading. Somehow it doesn’t make sense to me that there are 3 different color grades that are considered colorless. A diamond grade of D is colorless so anything below that, E-F would fall into a near colorless grade wouldn’t it? How can there be multiple grades of colorless? I’m I getting caught up in semantics? Somebody please explain this to me.

Very good point! Looking forward to hearing the answer.
 

Flowery

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May 25, 2020
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I’ve thought about this too. No diamond is completely colorless, so you could argue that even D shouldn’t be called colorless. Wonder if starting at D is an acknowledgement of that.
 

RunningwithScissors

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I've been wearing a CZ tennis bracelet for the past several months and also bought CZ studs -- both to test how I like a certain carat weight before buying the actual diamond versions.

The real diamonds I own (CBI super ideals) are all D color because I LOVE icy white. However, next to the CZs, which are truly colorless, my D diamonds look warm, similar to the way Gs look when placed next to my Ds.

That makes me wonder what a type IIA diamond looks like. I've heard a IIa will make D's look like G's, (just like my CZs make my Ds look like Gs.)

Color is all relative. You place something you think is icy white next to something icier and whiter and it looks warm.
 

LLJsmom

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I've been wearing a CZ tennis bracelet for the past several months and also bought CZ studs -- both to test how I like a certain carat weight before buying the actual diamond versions.

The real diamonds I own (CBI super ideals) are all D color because I LOVE icy white. However, next to the CZs, which are truly colorless, my D diamonds look warm, similar to the way Gs look when placed next to my Ds.

That makes me wonder what a type IIA diamond looks like. I've heard a IIa will make D's look like G's, (just like my CZs make my Ds look like Gs.)

Color is all relative. You place something you think is icy white next to something icier and whiter and it looks warm.

I made the mistake of wearing a CZ ring before purchasing my D, and I have to agree. The D was the only thing that could stand up to the iciness of the CZ, and the CZ was not badly cut either. :lol-2:

@Bonfire to your question, why are three grades called colorless, I don't know. Seems weird to me too. Maybe it's that a certain majority of people consider the colors D-F as we know them to be colorless. Personally, I consider only D-E colorless. But that's my visual dysfunction, as compared to normal people. It would be interesting to see a type IIA...:think:
 

Polabowla

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Nov 15, 2019
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What happened to a b & c? Why does it start with d?
There was a thread a while back about someone wanting to buy a type II stone, I wonder if they got it in the end. (Sorry idk who it was)
 

sugarcloud

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Sep 17, 2020
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My guess is that the "colorless" range only shows its color when compared to a true colourless stone (e.g cz or IIA diamond... which I've only just heard about!) whereas the near colorless range show warmth even when they are alone. So even though E and F are warmer than D, maybe it only shows when next to a D where as a G for example can be detected without having to compare it to a D but of course will look warmer as well when next to a D-E-F stone.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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AAA and A1 and B3 etc were used by dealers as inhouse grades before the D-Z was introduced.
So they did not want to upset the dealers.
I have a bit of experience and can genuinely say I can not tell a D from an F in a set 1ct diamond in almost all types of light (except in a lab which must have no color on the walls - pure white or colorless grey). Unless one of them is strong fluorescent in which case I will take the well screened fluoro diamond as icyest of all from F to D
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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I've been wearing a CZ tennis bracelet for the past several months and also bought CZ studs -- both to test how I like a certain carat weight before buying the actual diamond versions.

The real diamonds I own (CBI super ideals) are all D color because I LOVE icy white. However, next to the CZs, which are truly colorless, my D diamonds look warm, similar to the way Gs look when placed next to my Ds.

That makes me wonder what a type IIA diamond looks like. I've heard a IIa will make D's look like G's, (just like my CZs make my Ds look like Gs.)

Color is all relative. You place something you think is icy white next to something icier and whiter and it looks warm.

CZ goes miilky white when dirty. Diamonds go milky grey when dirty.
 

Bonfire

Ideal_Rock
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@Garry H (Cut Nut) How can three (DEF) all be graded colorless? If a stone is colorless wouldn’t it be graded a D? I mean if E and F are varying degrees of colorless down from a D, then how are they considered colorless?
 
Last edited:

Texas Leaguer

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The groupings on the D-Z color scale are just convenient categories useful for communicating basic visual information to the consumer. Colorless (DEF) are diamonds that will not appear to have body color to the majority of observers in real life. Near colorless (GHIJ) will not show obvious body color, particularly face up, to most observers, but those will high color acuity will be able to make distinctions. The bigger range implies that if you are one with color sensitivity, you are best suited to the upper grades in near colorless. If not, you may be perfectly happy with lower near colorless. For people who prefer some warmth, the tinted portion of the color scale is where to focus.

The thing to remember about diamond vs CZ is that the optical properties of diamond tend to do a much better job of reflecting the colors and shadings of the physical environment back to the eye of the observer. They also tend to produce more colored sparkles (fire). Diamonds may therefore not appear as colorless as other transparent materials in some physical and lighting environments, despite having no body color.

Type IIa diamonds are those with negligible amounts of nitrogen impurities in the carbon lattice at the atomic level. Nitrogen impurities are responsible for varying amounts of yellow color in diamond. Some assume that type IIa diamonds must be therefore be more “colorless” than type Ia diamonds. But other impurities or distortions in a diamond at the atomic level can also impact apparent color.

The only practical benefit of type IIa is the added rarity, as the vast majority of diamonds in the normal range (D-Z) are Ia. From a market perspective, the only demand for IIa is with a subset of shoppers for D FL or D IF diamonds who seek the rarest of the rare. If a diamond has some detectable body color in the lab, e.g E or F, then the question of diamond type is largely moot.

As Garry mentioned, when GIA released the color grading scale the market already contained an ad hoc collection of rating systems that were generally ABC or A, AA, AAA type designations. Wanting to avoid any confusion with those systems, GIA decided to start the scale at D.
 

Karl_K

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If your looking for sence in diamond grading you are going to be looking for a long time.
fyi D can have color.
 

Lessics

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The groupings on the D-Z color scale are just convenient categories useful for communicating basic visual information to the consumer. Colorless (DEF) are diamonds that will not appear to have body color to the majority of observers in real life. Near colorless (GHIJ) will not show obvious body color, particularly face up, to most observers, but those will high color acuity will be able to make distinctions. The bigger range implies that if you are one with color sensitivity, you are best suited to the upper grades in near colorless. If not, you may be perfectly happy with lower near colorless. For people who prefer some warmth, the tinted portion of the color scale is where to focus.

The thing to remember about diamond vs CZ is that the optical properties of diamond tend to do a much better job of reflecting the colors and shadings of the physical environment back to the eye of the observer. They also tend to produce more colored sparkles (fire). Diamonds may therefore not appear as colorless as other transparent materials in some physical and lighting environments, despite having no body color.

Type IIa diamonds are those with negligible amounts of nitrogen impurities in the carbon lattice at the atomic level. Nitrogen impurities are responsible for varying amounts of yellow color in diamond. Some assume that type IIa diamonds must be therefore be more “colorless” than type Ia diamonds. But other impurities or distortions in a diamond at the atomic level can also impact apparent color.

The only practical benefit of type IIa is the added rarity, as the vast majority of diamonds in the normal range (D-Z) are Ia. From a market perspective, the only demand for IIa is with a subset of shoppers for D FL or D IF diamonds who seek the rarest of the rare. If a diamond has some detectable body color in the lab, e.g E or F, then the question of diamond type is largely moot.

As Garry mentioned, when GIA released the color grading scale the market already contained an ad hoc collection of rating systems that were generally ABC or A, AA, AAA type designations. Wanting to avoid any confusion with those systems, GIA decided to start the scale at D.

Why wouldn’t there be market demand for type IIa lower colors? I’ve seen a type IIa J color (or the vendor claimed that at least) and it did to me look more translucent then another J color I have seen. Could the type IIa play a role in this observation of maybe I was crazy (:
 

Texas Leaguer

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Why wouldn’t there be market demand for type IIa lower colors? I’ve seen a type IIa J color (or the vendor claimed that at least) and it did to me look more translucent then another J color I have seen. Could the type IIa play a role in this observation of maybe I was crazy (:

@Lessics ,
I have not noticed any other demand for IIa other than in D IF. And that demand is quite small.

Curious about your J color. Was body color brown or some other color? Any yellow would indicate the presence of Nitrogen impurities, thus could not be type IIa.

Also bear in mind that transparency is much more affected by clarity features than presence of minor amounts of body color. Orders of magnitude greater than type Ia vs IIa, which is as close to a non issue as you get in diamond grading.

There is really no qualitative reason to even mention type on a report. It is mainly a preliminary test that is done on diamonds at the lab to help weed out synthetics.
 

kenny

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Semantics.

The earth makes diamonds with color that varies continuously, from no color whatsoever to opaque black.

It's humans that chop them up into color grades that were made up and agreed with.

I'm sure even all GIA Ds are not identical, some will be closer in color to an E than other Ds.
 

Lessics

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@Lessics ,
I have not noticed any other demand for IIa other than in D IF. And that demand is quite small.

Curious about your J color. Was body color brown or some other color? Any yellow would indicate the presence of Nitrogen impurities, thus could not be type IIa.

Also bear in mind that transparency is much more affected by clarity features than presence of minor amounts of body color. Orders of magnitude greater than type Ia vs IIa, which is as close to a non issue as you get in diamond grading.

There is really no qualitative reason to even mention type on a report. It is mainly a preliminary test that is done on diamonds at the lab to help weed out synthetics.

It was brown! I also always wondered if I was lied at at the time about the diamond being a type IIa, because I thought to be a type IIa the diamond must be a D IF. But the vendor seemed reputable and he had big inventory.
Oh I thought type IIa diamonds do sell for a premium.

So you haven’t seen a difference between normal Ds and type IIa Ds? (:
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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It was brown! I also always wondered if I was lied at at the time about the diamond being a type IIa, because I thought to be a type IIa the diamond must be a D IF. But the vendor seemed reputable and he had big inventory.
Oh I thought type IIa diamonds do sell for a premium.

So you haven’t seen a difference between normal Ds and type IIa Ds? (:

Brown is a result of structural deformation at an atomic level. As Bryan mentioned there is no nitrogen.
D's can have a lot of nitrogen, but it is nitrogen that has clustered together and causes little to no absorption of blue light (which causes the yellow tint). This happens when diamonds are deep enough and hot enough for the nitrogen to migrate around and form little hugging family groups (awwah).
 

Texas Leaguer

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Semantics.

The earth makes diamonds with color that varies continuously, from no color whatsoever to opaque black.

It's humans that chop them up into color grades that were made up and agreed with.

I'm sure even all GIA Ds are not identical, some will be closer in color to an E than other Ds.

Indeed Kenny,
Each color grade is in itself a very small range on a continuum. The scale is a useful invention of man to communicate relative quality aspects of diamonds.

The system of comparison to master sets lends a high degree of consistency and repeatability. But in the end these tools are used by humans who have variances in experience and in physical abilities which can vary from day to day, year to year. Many procedures are implemented by the labs to enhance accuracy and consistency, but there are those borderline calls that are "flip a coin" !

This is why there is an inherent 1 grade +- acceptable tolerance recognized by the trade.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Further:
1. there is less difference between D and F than there is between J and K. t is a rarity quality thing - like a $50 to $100 wine vs a $5 to $10 wine
2. We grade with diamonds upside down because the grade differences are so subtle you can not see in a well cut 1ct diamond face up in a setting the difference between D and F in almost 90% of common lighting environments.
 

nala

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Further:
1. there is less difference between D and F than there is between J and K. t is a rarity quality thing - like a $50 to $100 wine vs a $5 to $10 wine
2. We grade with diamonds upside down because the grade differences are so subtle you can not see in a well cut 1ct diamond face up in a setting the difference between D and F in almost 90% of common lighting environments.

Is this true for melee? I know that it is not graded individually, but my eye can easily spot differences in color when tiny diamonds are set in melee—maybe because of the amount of diamonds grouped together.
 

monipod

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I always thought of 'colourless' as meaning to the majority of people, so D is largely colourless to say almost 100% of people, whereas E is perhaps colourless to 95% and F to 90%. Colour is very relative and not everyone perceives or detects colour exactly the same. In that sense, D will give you a guarantee that *almost* everyone who ogles your stone will say it's definitely colourless (unless they own a CZ).
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Is this true for melee? I know that it is not graded individually, but my eye can easily spot differences in color when tiny diamonds are set in melee—maybe because of the amount of diamonds grouped together.

Side by side helps and viewing from an oblique angle also helps Nala
 
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