Blog Series: What the 4Cs Mean in 2020 - Part 3: Color Grading

Natural diamonds occur in many different colors, from pink and yellow, to brown, blue and even black. But that’s not what is meant by diamond color.

Color, one of the traditional 4Cs gradings, refers to the natural hue that occurs in white diamonds. White diamonds are not really white. Rather, they are colorless. Pure colorless diamonds are rare, and that is why they are so prized and valuable. Most mined diamonds inevitably develop a tinge or hue during the long formation process deep in the earth.


Why White Diamonds Have a Color Tinge

This tinge, or color, is caused by the unique chemical makeup of the diamond or defects to the crystal lattice of the diamond’s structure. Sometimes, a white diamond will have an obvious tinge that can be easily seen by the naked eye. Other diamonds may seem colorless and pure, however when examined closely and professionally, it is evident that they do not have the highest color grade. Evaluating the color of a white diamond is a very fine process. Even the slightest hard-to-see tinge can have a significant impact on a diamond’s value.

Read: What The 4Cs Mean In 2020 | INTRODUCTION

How Color Grading Traditionally Works

The color grading scale commonly in use rates diamonds from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). Diamonds are traditionally graded by visual inspection by a professional gemologist who compares the diamond to a master set of sample diamonds representing the color scale. The gemologist identifies which color the diamond most closely resembles compared to the master set and assigns a grade according to this.

Manual color grading methods must rely on the visual perception of the individual gemologist. Tasked with grading dozens or hundreds of diamonds manually, no human is capable of being consistently accurate 100% of the time. There are too many mitigating factors that can have an impact. Like all assessments made by humans, the color grade will inevitably be subjective. For today’s consumers, who are looking for transparent diamond information, traditional color grading methods may not be reliable enough.

There are several technologies available to help gemologists better grade diamond color, with varying levels of accuracy and efficacy. Even so, due to the unreliability of these devices, color grading is often conducted manually, with no help from technology. Yet in 2016, the color grading process entered a new era with the launch of Sarine Color™, the world’s first device to incorporate machine learning, or artificial intelligence, to automate the process of color grading.

Read: What The 4Cs Mean In 2020 | PART 2: Cut Grading

AI-Based Color Grading Technology: The Next Frontier is Here

That’s where machine learning comes in. Machine learning, or artificial intelligence, is a method by which the technology gathers data and continually learns from it, perfecting its output over time. Sarine’s color grading technology uses automated optic analysis of diamond color to assign a color grade according to the international color grading scale.

As the technology scans more and more diamonds, it refines and perfects its ability to assign an accurate color grade. This ensures absolute consistency, unencumbered by the subjectivity inherent in human manual grading. Apart from eliminating subjectivity, the AI-based technology is automated, meaning it can grade more diamonds at the same time that it delivers higher accuracy.


Accuracy that Exceeds Standard Lab-Level Color Grading

Offered as part of Sarine Lab grading services, AI-based color grading is transforming the process to automated, objective, consistent and - therefore - much more reliable.

Since the advent of traditional 4Cs grading over half a century ago, there is finally a technology that takes color grading to the next level of precision, while improving on efficiency as well. For today’s new consumers, Sarine’s AI-based color grade gives the diamond story a new true dimension, based on the objective trustworthiness of advanced technology. For diamond retailers, AI-based color grading is a tool to drive confidence among customers, and to boost sales.

Download our 4Cs guide