Help With Choosing A Colorless Diamond

Question sent in by: Marc 
Via Diamond Concierge Service
Type: Natural Diamond 
Cut: Round Brilliant 
Carat: from 1.00 ct to 1.05 ct 
Color Range: Colorless (D-E-F)
Clarity: VS1-VS2
Message: Thanks for this information. 
Very interesting articles you have made here. 
My question is if I am to buy 
a D or E diamond what's the difference? 
Can anyone really tell? 
is it worth paying extra for the D diamond?


Hi Marc, thanks for sending me your question. This one is an interesting one because it’s not a straightforward yes or no.

I don’t want to get too technical but bear with me for a minute and you will see why understanding the peculiar properties of diamonds can help you make a decision.

Diamonds are very special in the way they handle light. They let light through but they also reflect light. When light travels through what is called a high performance diamond the color itself is canceled out. You could easily be forgiven for thinking that it’s a kind of magic, if you want to think of it that way.

Here is a perfect example of this: This diamond has been given a k color grade by GIA. Images from James Allen


The diamond is an oval cut so it gives us an idea how light travels differently in different types of geometric shapes.

Round brilliant diamonds, it was determined about a century ago, are the shape that allows for the best brilliance. This is because light is returned at just the right angles. What happens essentially is that it’s as if the light is amplified.

The same angles which allow for this phenomenon in a round brilliant can also be found in an oval. These angles are only found across the narrowest part of an oval cut.

The color of this k oval cut diamond is prominent in certain areas.

I will show you an an image of the same diamond from the top.

fig3 same diamond viewed through its table

The area where the color is less noticeable is the central band where the angles allow light to travel through it in an efficient manner.

Let me highlight the areas where the color becomes obvious in fig4.

fig4: the shallow angles make the color more obvious

There is no better example with which to demonstrate the importance of a diamond’s cut quality.

So where does that leave us in regards to buying a D diamond?

If you buy a diamond with an E color grade but it is poorly cut then you may be able to tell the difference in color.

The cut grade is more important than getting the highest color grade.

Having said that there’s a psychological element to getting a D color which should also be acknowledged.

You know the story of the mattress salesman who has a $300 mattress, a $3000 mattress and a $10,000 mattress?

When asked if the $10,000 mattress is really 3 times better than the $3000 one he replied: “No, but there’s always someone that has to have the best of the best of the best.”

In the end it really comes down to how you feel about your purchase.

If I were to compromise on color I would look for a super ideal cut diamond.

If I wanted the best of the best I would go with a super ideal cut D color diamond.

I’ve worked as promoter for a number of diamond jewelers and I have a few I recommend for their high quality. One such place is Whiteflash.

The diamonds that Whiteflash has on offer are such incredible balls of fire that you can hardly tell the difference between an E and a D.

Here is an example:

At the time of writing Whiteflash has three D diamonds and one E diamond within the search parameters I entered (1 ct, VS1-VS2).

Which one is the E diamond? Can you tell? click image for enlarged view.

Hit the above button and it will conduct exactly the same search as I have prefilled it for you.

You will then see for yourself. Super ideal cut diamonds return light so efficiently that the color becomes near impossible to discern.

Ok so you are probably hoping I will give you the answer to the above question. Which of the four diamonds is an E?

If I didn’t know I would probably guess the first one. It seems a tiny tiny bit darker than the other ones, though it’s really very hard to tell.

So here’s the exact same screenshot with the color grades included.

The fourth diamond on the far right is the E color! Click to view enlarged image.

Surprised? The E color diamond is the one on the very end, on the right!

Yet it looks like it’s no different in color due to the way it handles light.

Incredible, isn’t it?

That’s the power of an ideal cut. Or in this case a super ideal cut.

Ok I know that the industry says there’s no classification on any diamond grading report that says “super ideal” but if any signature cut is a super ideal then it’s Whiteflash’s A CUT ABOVE®.

So I hope this answers your question.

I will leave it up to you to decide whether you want a D diamond, but the price difference is up to $900 so it’s nothing to sneeze at.

Good hunting!

Thomas J Stevens GIA DG. CSG

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3 Responses

  1. Peter J says:

    Thanks for the advice. I learnt a great deal from reading this article. (still have more to learn though) diamonds seem like an endless ocean of discovery.

  2. jayjay says:

    too many peoiple fuss about color. i went with a k diamond and just made sure it was super ideal. it’s everything i wanted. perfect. my wife loves it and i think it looks super nice too.

  1. August 9, 2021

    […] more on the topic please see my article on choosing a colorless diamond here: Help With Choosing a Colorless Diamond, which talks not only about round brilliants but also shows the way oval cuts handle light which […]

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