May 31st 2023
E Color Diamonds: Are They White Enough?
By Devin Jones
Let's see why these icy white diamonds are so wildly popular...
What Is An E Color Diamond?
E color diamonds are the second-highest color grade on the GIA color grading scale, which has been adopted by almost all other grading agencies to describe how white or not-white a diamond may appear. Perfectly white diamonds receive a color grade of D.
Let's be clear, E color diamonds are going to look totally white in any color jewelry setting. Period. The below diamonds range in color grade for D to K, can you tell which is the 2nd whitest (the E color)?
Click on a diamond for more details
But wait a second - if E color diamonds look totally white, why aren't they graded as D color?
Good question. What the average person can see with their naked eye and what a trained gemologist (or computer vision algorithm) can see when grading diamonds are two very different things.
For the average person, differences in color are only noticeable when comparing loose diamonds side-by-side and typically only when those diamonds are at least 2 color grades apart. Differences in color grade are least noticeable when diamond's are viewed from above, as they are in an engagement ring setting.
And when that diamond is set in an engagement ring, earrings, or other jewelry setting it is even harder to tell the difference or pick up on any natural color in the diamond. For that reason, we typically recommend near colorless diamonds for the average diamond shopper, but if you or your significant other has your heart set on a colorless diamond then E color is a great choice as we'll explain further below.
E Color vs. F Color Diamonds
E color and F color diamonds are right next to each other on the grading scale and look basically identical to the average person. Take a look at the diamonds below, can you tell which one is an E color diamond and which is an F color?
Click a diamond for more details
If you study diamond shopping data as much as we do, you'll begin to notice on some interesting trends. One of them is the differences in search volume for D color, E color, and F color diamonds. D color and F color diamonds are searched for at approximately the same rate, but E color diamonds are sought out 25% less often than either of these other colorless grades.
Why is that? The average person might expect that these diamonds would rank in popularity in sequence: D then E then F (or in reverse order). But here's the thing, D and F have special advantages that E does not. At least that's how shoppers see it. People shopping for D color diamonds are super picky and aren't willing to settle for less than the best (and most expensive).
F color diamond buyers are a little less concerned with perfection, they're basically searching for the least expensive diamonds that are still considered "colorless" by the GIA's grading scale. E color diamonds? They're neither the most expensive nor the cheapest, they're just right.
If you're on the fence between an E and an F color diamond, I would personally recommend you consider F color since the differences in color are so minimal that you will likely never perceive them. The exceptions to this rule would be very large diamonds or fancy cut diamonds with large facets and a large flat table, as these tend to show off color more easily. In that case it makes sense to improve the color grade just to be safe.
Just know that color grade is the most expensive upgrade you can make in your diamond purchase (more expensive than going up a grade in clarity, cut, polish, or symmetry). Our popular diamond price calculator shows that E color diamonds tend to be about 7% more expensive than F color diamonds, all else held equal.
Which Clarity Grade Goes Best With E Color Diamonds?
It might not come as much of a surprise, but people who are picky about color grades are also pretty picky about clarity grades. As you'd expect, diamond shoppers who are considering E color diamonds also tend to seek out better clarity grades than average. The most popular clarity grade for an E color diamond is VS1 clarity which is a clarity grade higher than the most popular clarity grade fall all diamond color grades, VS2 clarity. VS1 clarity makes up 24% of diamonds searched for E color diamonds in StoneAlgo's popular diamond search engine feature.
The most popular clarity grades for E color diamonds are:
- VS1 Clarity E Color Diamonds (24%)
- VS2 Clarity E Color Diamonds (22%)
- VVS2 Clarity E Color Diamonds (20%)
- SI1 Clarity E Color Diamonds (15%)
- VVS1 Clarity E Color Diamonds (13%)
- IF Clarity E Color Diamonds (5%)
- SI2 Clarity E Color Diamonds (4%)
- FL Clarity E Color Diamonds (2%)
Which Fluorescence Grade Is Best For E Color Diamonds?
A little fluorescence can help to mask some of the natural color in a diamond, but this is unlikely to make any sort of meaningful difference in an E color diamond since there is almost no tint to speak of. Overwhelmingly, people prefer none fluorescence when shopping for an E color diamond as you can see from the diamond price chart below.
According to our Diamond Fluorescence Guide, Faint fluorescence E color diamonds cost 8% less than none fluorescence which is due to the lack of demand for these diamonds. But, fluorescence doesn't make the diamond look worse at all. In fact, faint fluorescence is not going to impact the appearance of the diamond to the average person and can only be evaluated well under UV lighting (like a black light).
Generally speaking, I recommend choosing a none or faint fluorescence grade for your E color diamond since the fluorescence doesn't offer any real advantages and these tend to be the most popular types of E color diamonds searched for on StoneAlgo.
Is E Color Worth It?
E color diamonds will look totally white in any color setting (white gold, rose gold, platinum, yellow gold) and are less expensive than D color diamonds, giving you a slight bonus for going down one color grade from the absolute best of the best. Generally speaking, most people will not appreciate the quality of an E color diamond relative to that of an F or even G color diamond, especially when the diamond has already been set in an engagement ring setting. If you're considering a yellow or rose gold setting, we would definitely recommend you go down to a near colorless diamond like a G color diamond since the darker setting color helps to mask some of the natural color in a diamond anyways.
If you are shopping for a platinum or white gold setting, an E color diamond is a great option that will take full advantage of this setting color. A lower color grade like an I color or J color may look slightly yellow in a white gold setting, but an E color diamond will always look icy white.
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