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.
Before going on: Check out the PriceScope Diamond Buying Guide
E Color Described
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.
Let’s Get Practical
E color diamonds are not the most popular choices, 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.
Will an E color diamond show any tint?
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.
Three Factors which can Influence Color
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:
- An E color diamond will continue to be completely colorless, regardless of shape.
- An E color diamond will not have any color reduction due to sub-par cut quality. Nevertheless, read our section about diamond cut which unarguably has the most influence on overall beauty.
- As mentioned above, the presence of fluorescence could cause an E color diamond to have visible tint.
Shapes and Precious Metals
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.
Real World Information
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.
Intermediate E Color Diamonds
Where does an E color diamond rank?
The internationally accepted grading scale and terminology for diamond color in the normal range consists 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.
Standards, Subjectivity and Value
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.
Value and Over Grading
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.
Value and Under Grading
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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