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E Color Diamond – Basics
An E color diamond sits in the middle of the rare colorless range, well above the border of near-colorless. It benefits from icy visual whiteness without commanding the premium of D color.
PriceScope Pointer: A difference of 2-3 color grades is hard to detect unless you hold the diamonds next to each other. The most purchased diamond colors are graded F-G-H or I, set in white gold or platinum.
Before going on: Check out the PriceScope Diamond Buying Guide
Diamond color is typically graded on a scale descending from D, which means no hint of color, to Z, which means light yellow or light brown.
An E color diamond is high on this scale, in a range described as “colorless” by gemologists which includes D, E and F colors. There is only 1 color grade higher than E color, while there are 21 grades lower than an E color diamond.
Considering its position in the scale, a grader giving a diamond E color is really describing an absence of color: Most of the world’s diamonds have some traces of yellow or brown, caused by chemicals in the earth where they formed. Diamonds with stronger levels of yellow and brown, as well as colors other than yellow or brown are categorized as fancy colored diamonds and graded using a different scale.
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E color diamonds are not the most popular choice, primarily because of the expense of the colorless range. The most purchased diamond colors are graded F-G-H or I, set in white gold or platinum. A difference of 2-3 color grades is hard to detect unless the diamonds are held next to each other and directly compared.
No. An E color diamond will be completely colorless. The only exception might be an E color diamond with medium or stronger fluorescence when exposed to ultraviolet light. When excited, any visible tint will be the same color as the fluorescence.
Diamond color is analyzed with the stone in the upside-down position, analyzed from the side. This is done because three factors may influence diamond color appearance when seen from the top: The diamond’s shape, the way it was cut, and the presence of fluorescence.
As it relates to E color:
Check out our section on color evaluation for advice and information on which cuts show less color, depending on shape, and precious metal colors we recommend.
An E color diamond will not sparkle better than a diamond with lower color. A diamond’s observable brightness, fire, sparkle, and contrast are all attributable to its cut-quality. A diamond’s optical properties are not influenced by its color grade, except for variance in spectral absorption minutia which is rarely relevant.
An E color diamond, when paired with FL/IF, VVS1 or VVS2 clarity and a top cut grade, is considered to have collection quality. Such diamonds, with the purest natural color and clarity grades, have typically held their value best over time and have special status in the eyes of many diamond professionals, collectors, enthusiasts, and auction houses.
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The internationally accepted grading scale and terminology for diamond color in the normal range consist of 23 grading levels. Grading is performed with the diamond upside down. An E color diamond lands in the colorless range, which is the highest on the scale.
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While the descriptive scale above is universally applied, standards can vary between individuals and organizations that decide a diamond has E color.
Variance between reputable graders and organizations may be attributable to standard deviation. Color and clarity judgments are matters of opinion and diamonds often sit on the border of two grades. The only time this becomes an issue is when a buyer and seller disagree about which set of grades establish the diamond’s value.
Intentional over grading has been a historic issue in the diamond trade. Over grading is a willingness to purposely deviate from internationally accepted standards to inflate the perceived value of a diamond. Certain locations of the EGL (now closed) became infamous for over-grading loose diamonds, by 3-4 grades in some cases, permitting unscrupulous sellers to overcharge consumers.
Under grading occurs when a jeweler examines a diamond and claims it was over graded to create fear-based doubts in the diamond owner’s mind. The most frequent example of under grading is when one jeweler implies a consumer overpaid a competing jeweler, hoping the consumer will return the diamond and purchase there, instead.
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