Colored diamonds have been smashing sales records at auction houses the past few years, but here’s one that hasn’t gotten a lot of press: the white diamond. Yes, white! Get ready to fall in love with this remarkable beauty.
You’ll often hear the term “white” applied to colorless diamonds that fall within the GIA D-to-Z color scale or chart. But diamonds in the D-to-Z range are not white at all. Their hues can range from colorless (like a drop of pure water) to having tints of light yellow, light brown or gray. The rarity, and therefore the value, of these diamonds is based in part on how closely they approach colorlessness. All things being equal, the more colorless the diamond, the more rare and expensive it is.
Then there are diamonds whose colors fall outside the D-to-Z color range, and these diamonds have distinct colors. The geological conditions required to produce them are rare, making natural colored diamonds scarce and highly prized. Colored diamonds come in almost any color you can imagine: yellow diamonds and brown diamonds are the most common, followed by pink and blue diamonds. Red, green, purple and orange are generally considered the most rare, but there are also white diamonds.
A White Diamond Is not Colorless
White diamonds are not color graded according to the GIA D-to-Z color scale because they are not colorless: they are white. White does not appear on the color spectrum, because white is the sum of all colors.
What Makes a White Diamond?
The presence of sub-microscopic inclusions scatter light passing through the diamond, giving it a translucent “milky” white face-up appearance.
White diamonds are also sometimes described as “opalescent,” because of the flashes of color that can be seen when viewing the diamond face-up. In some cases, white diamonds are reminiscent of a white opal with weak play-of-color.
White Diamonds: Opalescent Beauties
White diamonds are infrequently submitted to GIA, however a few that GIA has examined came from the Panna mine in India. So, if you spot one during a shopping expedition or a museum visit, consider yourself fortunate – and enjoy the treat!
Determining the color grade of a fancy color diamond is no easy task and there are a number of factors that make it especially challenging. If we’ve whetted your appetite for these beauties, be sure to learn all about GIA’s color grading system for Fancy color diamonds, before you begin your search for them.