Diamond Colors

Contrary to popular belief, diamonds come in many colors, but when it comes to fine jewelry, diamond color is described in terms of “whiteness”. Usually, precious pieces such as engagement rings are adorned with white diamonds, yet their perceived color can be affected by the diamond’s shape and setting metal.


Understanding the GIA’s Diamond Color Scale

While fancy-colored diamonds are valued for their color intensity, white diamonds are valued for their lack of color. Thus, lower-grade white diamonds usually have a yellow tint, ranging from light yellow to rich yellow gold.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has developed a diamond color grading scale (known as the GIA Color Scale) which is widely used in the diamond industry to grade a diamond’s color on a scale from D to Z. Most retailers do not carry diamonds below L grade, since these stones begin to show signs of faint color in the form of a light yellow or brown tinge. The GIA’s diamond color grade scale can be simplified into a diamond color chart like the one below for non-professional gemologists and regular people to use as a guide for choosing diamonds.

Color Of A Diamond 2923 Diamond Color Clarity Chart 2920 X 870 Copy
Color Of A Diamond 2923 Diamond Color Clarity Chart 2920 X 870 Copy

Note that the differences between diamond color grades are often very subtle and cannot be detected by the naked eye. For example, a J color diamond will appear “colorless”, but a closer inspection usually reveals a slight yellow tint. However, the color of a diamond becomes easier to detect as the size of the stone increases. Thus, the larger the stone, the more important the diamond’s color grade becomes.

Another factor that makes it hard to distinguish between the various color grades is the cut of the diamond. For example, brilliant cuts make a diamond’s color less noticeable due to their many facets. Step cuts, on the other hand, tend to be more revealing of a diamond’s natural color.

The GIA’s Diamond Color Scale

Color vs White Diamonds

Diamond color tends to be less noticeable in brilliant cuts due to their high number of facets. Step cuts, such as emerald, radiant, and Asscher, on the other hand, are more revealing of natural color.

Diamond Color Def1
Colorless Diamonds

The most valuable of all color grades, the difference between D, E, and F color diamonds can only be distinguished by experts.

D color diamonds to F color diamonds should be set in white metals such as platinum or white gold since a warm or dark metal setting can affect the perceived color of these diamonds, undermining their value.

Diamond Color Ghij1
Near Colorless

Near colorless diamonds have a very slight trace of color but are still suitable for white gold settings.

I and J color diamonds are excellent choices for diamonds under one carat, while G color diamonds and H color diamonds are recommended for stones that are over one carat.

Diamond Color Nr1
Faint Color

Faint color becomes more visible to the naked eye from the K color grade down. K to M color diamonds offer unbeatable value to those who don’t mind their faint yellow hue.

Warm metals work best with diamonds in this grade since they can help hide the yellow or brown tinge that these diamonds tend to have.

Diamond Color Sz1
Very Light Color

Jewelers rarely use N to R color diamonds due to their noticeable color.

Light Color

Sometimes mistaken for fancy-colored diamonds, S to Z color diamonds have clearly visible color.

Yellow diamonds, which do not fall within the normal color range for whiteness, are known as fancy-color diamonds. These stones cannot be mistaken for white diamonds since they display a distinctive yellow hue. They also come in a variety of other colors, from fancy dark to fancy light.

Setting Metal

Setting Metals 1

Once a diamond is set in jewelry, it becomes more difficult to see its actual color. For lower color grade diamonds, yellow and rose gold can help make the traces of color less apparent. White metals, on the other hand, make hints of color more visible and are therefore perfect for showcasing colorless diamonds.

Learn more about your options.

Frequently Asked Questions

What color are diamonds?

Contrary to popular belief, diamonds come in a range of colors besides white, including gray, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, pink, purple, brown, and black. However, the coloration you see in these fancy colored diamonds is usually a result of structural impurities or defects. Thus, flawless diamonds are typically colorless.

What are natural diamond colors?

Diamonds can appear in any color in their natural state. In fact,many diamonds have a light brown or yellow tint that is lightened by applying a type of heat treatment, which can make the finished gem appear colorless to the untrained eye. However, naturally-occurring colorlessdiamonds are rare, which is why they are so highly valued.

How much does a 2 carat diamond cost?

Carat weight is one factor that influences the price of a diamond. Other factors include cut, clarity, and color. Together, they make up the four C’s of diamond grading. But because no two diamonds are the same, the cost of a 2-carat diamond can range between $5,000 and $60,000, sometimes even more. Likewise, a fancy colored diamond of the same carat weight can cost between $16,000 and $30,000.

What is the best color grade for a diamond?

A D color diamond is the highest quality color grade on the GIA color scale. Unfortunately, a D color diamond is exceptionally rare, making it the most expensive color grade money can buy. Only around 8 percent of customers can afford a D color grade diamond.

Is an I color diamond a good choice for an engagement ring?

The I color diamond is a good choice, say for a high quality diamond engagement ring. It has the great combination of near colorless aAn I color diamond is one of the most common color grades used in diamond engagement rings. It is nearly colorless to the naked eye and offers excellent value for money. The same can be said for a J color diamond, which also falls within the near-colorless range.

Where do colorless diamonds fit in on the diamond color scale?

Colorless diamonds are marked D, E, and F on the GIA diamond grading scale. D-F color diamonds are rare, especially D color diamonds, due to their unparalleled brilliance. In addition, D-F color diamonds are more likely to be flawless since colored diamonds result from imperfections and impurities present within the stone.

Is an H color diamond suitable for an engagement ring?

H color diamonds are marked near-colorless on the diamond color scale, making them an excellent choice for engagement rings. An H color diamond also offers value for money since its faint yellow tint is almost indiscernible unless placed beside another diamond of a higher color grade. Thus, only a trained eye can perceive the difference between an H color diamond and a G color diamond.

What is the diamond color scale?

The GIA evaluates diamonds according to a color grade scale. The scale grades diamonds based on their “whiteness”, beginning with D color diamonds (colorless) and ending with Z color diamonds (lightly colored). Thus, even though S-Z diamonds display varying degrees of color, they are still considered white diamonds.
Note that the GIA color scale is not used to evaluate colored diamonds (also known as fancy color diamonds). Instead, fancy color diamonds are rated on a separate color scale. These include fancy yellow diamonds, pink-colored diamonds, blue-colored diamonds, and many others.

Is a D color grade good for a diamond?

D is the highest color grade money can buy, that is, if you can afford it. Otherwise, you might be better off buying a near-colorless G grade diamond or a fancy vivid color diamond in a similar carat weight. This way, you may be able to purchase a larger diamond for less money.

What color diamond is the rarest?

Red-colored diamonds are the rarest.

What color diamond is the most expensive?

Fancy deep red diamonds are the rarest colored diamonds and are thus the most expensive.

What color is a high-quality diamond?

D color is the highest color grade and extremely rare. Thus, only a small percent of customers can afford to choose a diamond of D color gradeHigh-quality white diamonds appear colorless to the naked eye and are generally rated between D and J on the diamond color scale. High-quality fancy color diamonds, on the other hand, are prized for their vivid colors.

What does diamond color mean?

Diamond color refers to the hue that the stone exhibits after being cut and polished. The GIA diamond color scale grades a diamond’s color based on its whiteness. The letters D-F are awarded to colorless stones, while letters G-Z are given to stones that display varying degrees of light yellow or brown hues.

What colors are diamonds?

There are 12 basic diamond colors: red, yellow, orange, green, blue, pink, purple, brown, violet, gray, black, and white, with other shades and hues in between.

Which color grade diamond should I get?

It depends on your preference and your budget. You can also use the diamond color chart and the information provided above to help you make an informed buyer’s decision.

How are diamonds graded?

Diamonds are graded on a color scale, starting at D (colorless) and ending with Z (lightly colored). Professional diamond graders put the diamond in a standard viewing environment and compare each stone to color masters – special diamonds used in defining another diamond’s color.

What are the different diamond grades?

According to the GIA diamond color scale, which sets the industry standard, the diamond color grades are as follows:
D, E, F: Colorless
G, H: Near-colorless
I, J: Near-colorless, slightly tinted
K-M: Faint color
N-R: Very light color
S-Z: Light color
D-F color diamonds are the rarest and highest quality diamonds money can buy. These diamonds should be set in platinum or white gold to accentuate their brilliance.
G-H and I-J color diamonds have no discernible color to the naked eye and are graded near-colorless, therefore offering great value for money.
K color diamond grades display faint color and are the budget-friendly option. These color diamonds look stunning in yellow or rose gold settings, which can help to reduce their yellowish appearance.
L-Z color diamonds have a noticeable yellow tint and therefore do not meet the quality standards of high-end diamond dealers.

Is a colorless diamond good quality?

Diamonds that are colorless possess the most highly valued quality of all other diamonds, namely, the absence of color. Thus, diamonds rated colorless are the most valuable, rare, and expensive stones on the market.

Is near colorless diamond good?

Yes, besides being so close in grade to the colorless diamond, the near colorless is more affordable but not so far behind in beauty or quality.

Is a near-colorless diamond good quality?

Yes, near-colorless diamonds are of good quality and are a more affordable alternative to colorless diamonds.