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On Color or the Lack Thereof

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rbjd

Shiny_Rock
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Feb 4, 2003
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This is a challenge I''m laying down to invite anyone who thinks they know the answer to describe in words or pictures the difference between a D color diamond and an F color diamond.

Another thread I read described the color of diamonds as a palette. I''m given to believe that labs like GIA and AGS use a whole array of diamonds, perhaps hundreds, to assess color grade. Diamonds are a function of nature and "naturally" have a spectrum of colors.

In his excellent book _Diamond_, Matthew Hart describes DeBeers sorting as including thousands of categories.

I guess this means there is more to D-E-F than meets the eye. I suspect a master artist could quite literally paint with diamonds. Maybe the great jewelers of the world are such people.

Somewhere in the world is the clearest purest D color chunk of crystallized carbon ever to be pulled from the ground. And somewhere else is the yellowest borderline-G color F diamond that anybody has ever laid eyes on.

In the 5 short months I''ve been looking at diamonds and their grading, not one person has been able to give me an adequate definition of the difference between a D and an E or an E and an F or a D and an F for that matter. What gives?

It''s easy to say, "You know it when you see it." Or, "The untrained eye can''t tell." I say, BS.

Somewhere there is a description. To play a variant on Gertrude Stein, "Colorless is colorless is colorless." Or, "A D is an E is an F." Anybody care to disagree?

Here''s your chance to enlighten me. Sell me on a D. What the hell is so special about D? Why is it a different category? This is your chance to be poetic and shine that clear pure D light all over a very murky subject.
 

Lugus

Shiny_Rock
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Jan 17, 2003
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213
I'm not a poet, and hopefully I'm not missing your point, but I will share with you my thoughts on color and why I chose the color I did. When I went shopping, my fiance was very, very adament about getting a clear-white diamond. Like, the color of ice made from pure water. I looked at Ds, Es, Fs, and Gs. For me, a G stone wasn't near the mark at all. With an F color, I still saw a hint of yellow. D stones obviously lacked this yellow, but so did the E I looked at. I bought the E because I saw no hint of any yellow whatsoever. It looks icy white, and shines like nothing else I've ever seen.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
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31,003
I have seen color charts where they layout the D-Z scale in varying shades of champagne and yellow, etc. Will try to find a copy of one online. If I recall correctly the D and E are pretty much colorless on the scale, the F maybe has a tiny tinge of an ivory and the G a slightly more tinge of buttercream ongoing.

In my mind...a D is an E. I am sure there are high D's and low E's (some people refer to the color ranges in high and low to make it even more of a differentiation), for example our earrings were sold to us as G/H and our appraiser says they are a high G...meaning they are a very very good G as opposed to a G bordering on an H. But an untrained person's eyes..no matter how good in my mind...will not detect a difference between a D and an E.

If a D is an E...then in my mind, an F is closer to a G. I know that F is in the colorless range, but as Lugus said..he could detect a bit of a difference between an F and an E..and an even bigger difference between an E, F and a G. My stone is a G and it faces up so white that when compared to an E, unset, we could detect NO color difference. Maybe it was a low E and my stone is a high G...but it was very interesting. Both appeared pure icy white. I get compliments on how white my stone is all the time.

There obviously IS a color difference between D/E/F even though they are all in the colorless range, as otherwise they would all be graded as a D or similar. There would only be a D as the range for colorless...with the E starting to show a bit of color and landing itself in the 'near colorless'.

Also to further confuse things, color is graded by the eye of a trained gemologist...so it's a completely subjective thing...someone has better eyes than another person and that diamond is a different color grade. That is why it is not unusual for a color grade to be off one grade when appraised or similar.

Is any of this helping? Probably not.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Okay I found the following two images. Will post in 2 messages.

The first is from dirtcheapdiamonds.com and is the typical color grading scale I have seen before such as my GIA course materials.

The second was filched from diamondtutorials.com and is pretty intereresting in that it simulates the stone at a certain color mark.



colorscale.gif
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Oct 30, 2002
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This one is interesting because it shows a marked visual difference between the D and G stones. Could be simulated....and also it depends on your monitor calibration.

colorscale_img.gif
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
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31,003
Rhino's site has a section on color which has actual pictures of stones face down on a white background at colors D E F G H I J N O Q (yay Rhino!)

You can save the D to your desktop and then the E F G and compare on your own. But the pictures are a very good way to see if you can tell a difference (again taking into consideration the monitor calibration of color)...you can see a diff in the pix between D and G but not quite as much with D-F.

http://www.goodoldgold.com/color.htm

Click on Colorless at your left to see D E F
Near Colorless has G H I J
Tinted has N O Q

Am I getting warm?
 

mike04456

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 20, 2002
Messages
1,441
----------------
Somewhere there is a description. To play a variant on Gertrude Stein, "Colorless is colorless is colorless." Or, "D is an E is an F." Anybody care to disagree?
----------------
When I took the Diamond Grading course at GIA, my instructor put it this way. Think of three glasses of water side by side. One is distilled water; that's a D. One is tap water; that's an E. The last is sea water; that's an F.

Believe it or not, when you put a D, an E, and an F stone side-by-side, *face down*, the differences are not that subtle. It's face up that it gets tricker. Because brilliance tends to interfere with color grading, diamonds are graded face down, and when you do some comparisons, you can see why.

It's honestly not a conspiracy.
There really is some difference in color in the D-E-F range, though it takes some practice to see it.
 

Rank Amateur

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
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1,553
I can imagine that in those rare stones in which the modifier is grey (rather than yellow/brown) color grading gets very tricky!
 

Iceman

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 25, 2000
Messages
1,374
Those are great pictures , but they are from the side under ideal conditions. They
prove the point. But in the real world face up, at a distance , by its self, no
florescence ~ D to E you can not tell the difference.

Remember you will be wearing this in the real world.

Just my 2 cents
 

Dana

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 24, 2003
Messages
10
----------------
On 3/4/2003 3:40:27 PM Mara wrote:

This one is interesting because it shows a marked visual difference between the D and G stones. Could be simulated....and also it depends on your monitor calibration.
----------------
I can't see the differences being nearly as dramatic as that chart when you look at stones in real lfe. I compared an ideal cut D to an ideal cut H (same size, each about 1CT ) and honestly ,I couldn't tell a bit of difference in the two stones.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Messages
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Dana..I agree..my G stone looks nothing like that picture in that chart...but I just thought it was an interesting view...esp in light of the original question.

Also to throw another wrench in....clean diamonds vs. dirty ones make a difference too. If you don't clean your stone, over time it will take on a yellowish sheen from the dirt...or gray or whatever. My coworker never cleans her stone and we compared mine to hers and she said 'wow mine looks yellow', the other day I cleaned her stone for her with windex and my baby toothbrush (yes i know im obsessed) and her stone now looks alot closer in color to mine than originally. Amazing the difference a clean stone makes. This is why I clean mine daily. Why buy a colorless stone or a near colorless if over time it just looks like a J?
 

Lugus

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 17, 2003
Messages
213

----------------
On 3/4/2003 5
0:15 PM Iceman wrote:

Remember you will be wearing this in the real world.

Just my 2 cents----------------
I would think that in the real world, size would play a factor as well. With the 1.73 ct I bought, you see a lot of the side of the diamond, as well as the top. Turns out, the side of diamonds isn't so sparkly
. True, color is harder to judge from the top, but when you're displaying a larger diamond, I would guess that color might be more of a factor.

Also, when you put my E diamond up next to others, you can easily tell that its's a whiter color than a G or higher. Less so with an F, though there is a difference.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Oct 30, 2002
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31,003
Lugus next time you and your sweetie are in the Bayarea...lets compare stones! I wanna see this!
(color that is...I am sure that your SuperbCert's arrows will make me very jealous)
 

Lugus

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 17, 2003
Messages
213

----------------
On 3/4/2003 5
8:11 PM Mara wrote:

Dana..I agree..my G stone looks nothing like that picture in that chart...but I just thought it was an interesting view...esp in light of the original question.

----------------

The first chart seemed to be more accurate. The second seem more like marketting material

 

Caratz

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 4, 2002
Messages
222
Not all colorless diamonds are created the same! So says the author of this article:

http://www.precious-stonelab.co.uk/D%20colours.htm

Maybe some our GGs will be able to comment on this.

A brief synopsis: The yellowness of the diamond depends on the presence of nitrogen, and *what form* of nitrogen is present. Nitrogen can be present as groups of two atoms (N2), three atoms (N3), or four atoms (N4). When nitrogen is clustered together as N3, the molecule absorbs blue light and makes the diamond look yellow. A little N3 gives you D-E-F colors. A lot of N3 gives you a canary diamond. The N2 clusters and N4 clusters do not absorb light and do not affect the color (at least not with respect to yellow), but the presense of lots of N4 clusters causes the diamond to fluoresce. Did I get it right?
 

Lugus

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 17, 2003
Messages
213

----------------
On 3/4/2003 5:12:16 PM Mara wrote:

Lugus next time you and your sweetie are in the Bayarea...lets compare stones! I wanna see this!

(color that is...I am sure that your SuperbCert's arrows will make me very jealous)

----------------
You mean you can't see the amazing sparkles from here?


Mara, what about the low light situations, where there are few light rays actually reflecting, but you can still see the diamond? It is these situations that I appreciate the E color the most. Maybe I'm wrong, but are there any conditions that bring out more color in a stone?
 

dimonbob

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 12, 2000
Messages
670
Hello rbjd;

This is copied from: http://www.precious-stonelab.co.uk/D%20colours.htm

"Diamond graders utilize a set of diamond master stones to compare colour and decide the grade of a loose diamond. Each of the master stones represents the colour at the junction between two colour grades. hence the first master stone in the set will be at the border between D and E colour grades. This master stone possesses a very faint hint of colour that experienced diamond graders can readily distinguish. Diamonds having less colour than this master stone will be graded ‘D colour’. Various D colour diamonds will have less colour than other diamonds of the same grade. So there exists a subtle range of colour within the D grade, as there is within any other colour grade. This variation of colour within a colour grade becomes wider in each colour grade as one progresses down the colour scale to the off-colours"

This is why a good diamond grader has a good set of Master color grading diamonds. Can most people tell the difference in a D and a G color diamond in a setting at arms length that was touched by someones fingers when it was put on...Not likely. Can I see the difference in a D and an E in the table down position in a white tray under a diamond grading light...You bet I can. Can I easily see the difference in a low D and a high E under the same conditions...Maybe not.

This question can extend to the Flawless, IF, VVS1, VVS2 clarity grades. Can anyone see the difference in a set or unset diamond at arms length or close up without a loupe...Not a chance.

It gets down to how much you think your lady (or yourself) is worth and what your priorities are. My priorities are in cut then color then clarity. My lady is worth a High D VVS2 or VS1 with a super symmetry hearts and arrows cut with an ideal or excellent polish. Can I see the difference...You bet I can, and her friends can see the difference also. Her only job is to keep them clean and wear them. Of course everyone that knows my wife knows that her husband gets her "special" jewelry that most others rarely ever see. Love is wonderful!!! Can I toot my own horn?:))
 

Rhino

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Mar 28, 2001
Messages
6,272
In short.

Each letter represents a small range of color. Instruments like the (erp, I forgot the name of Marty's machine, Iceman you can fill in the blank here) and the Gran Colorimeter can tell you where the diamond lies within it's color scheme. Attached is a sample pic I took of a stone which we graded before seeing it's lab report which was also a G color and fell dead on within the color grade it received from the lab. Supposedly less than 1% of the diamonds that make it into rings are D or E color. In the face up position however color is not the most important factor contributing to the beauty of the stone. I can put an H color next to many D or E colors that'll simply blow em away due to the nature of their cut quality alone.

I can appreciate your question concerning color but the single most factor affecting the beauty of the diamond more than anything is it's cut. If you are looking for colorless diamond and you have before you D, E and F colors purchase the one that is cut the finest as this will affect it's face up appearance way more than 1 color grade which can only be distinguished against a flat white background.

My .02c

Rhino
 

canadianice

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 4, 2003
Messages
82
DimonBob -

"It gets down to how much you think your lady (or yourself) is worth..."

You are a marketer's dream...

If anybody thinks that I bought my girlfriend an F VVS2 because I thought she wasn't deserving of a D VVS1, but she did deserve more than a G VS1 --
they can find a short pier and take a long walk.

It is about how much you want to and can afford to spend on a symbol -- a SYMBOL -- of something that has much deeper meaning than what somebody "is worth". Items of conspicuous consumption don't reflect self-worth or how much you value somebody else.

What a joke. Toot your own horn some more.
 
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