A diamond’s body color (from colorless to yellow) is determined by the Gemological Institute of America’s color scale, which ranges from D (colorless) to Z (yellow).
Like the other 4Cs of diamond quality, color is a matter of preference. Some people insist on colorless diamonds for their breathtaking purity and radiance, while others prefer near-colorless diamonds for a warmer look. With higher grades (such as E color, F color or G color) a yellow color is so slight it’s very difficult to see with the eye. Diamonds of H color, I color, J color or below may appear near-colorless.
What causes different diamond colors? The answer is chemistry. A diamond is made up of pure carbon. During its development, other natural elements may be incorporated into the carbon, causing a chemical reaction that changes the color. For instance, traces of nitrogen cause yellow diamonds, while boron gives diamonds a blue color.
Over time, diamonds will never change color, but a diamond’s setting can often influence its appearance. A yellow gold setting makes a light yellow diamond appear whiter. Platinum and white gold settings, however, may make the yellow hue in a diamond more apparent. Similarly, a colorless diamond set in yellow gold may reflect the setting’s yellow tint.