Diamond Color

Diamonds occur in a variety of colors from jet black to colorless. Colored diamonds contain usually contain some form of impurities while others are completely colorless and highly prized. Some colored diamonds are considered valuable as well. Blue, pink, canary, and red are especially thought after.

For the sake of this article we will concentrate on colorless diamonds that are popular in jewelry and engagement rings. No diamond is completely devoid of color, however, there are some that contain less color than others and therefore are more valuable.

Below is an explained GIA color scale:

Colorless (D,E,F): these diamonds are considered colorless. Only a trained gemologist can tell the difference during a side by side comparison. The color of these diamonds is rarely noticed by an untrained eye. These diamonds should be set in platinum or white gold.

Near Colorless (G,H,I,J): these diamonds contain a barely noticeable trace of color and are suitable for platinum or white gold setting. G-J colored diamonds are more common and retail for half the price of a D-F color diamond.

Faint Color (K,L,M): these stones have a yellowish tint that is easily detected by the naked eye without the need for side by side comparison. These diamonds should be set in yellow or rose gold and can prove to be a bargain for those that prefer a warmly colored diamond.

Very Light Color (N,R): these stones have a yellow or brown tint and are significantly less expensive than higher grade stones. These stones are not a popular choice.

Light Color (S,Z): Definite color noticeable by the naked eye. These stones are not a popular choice.

When shopping for diamonds, remember that color becomes harder to detect once the stone is set in the right setting. Most people and even some gemologists can’t distinguish the color grade of a D-f and G-J diamonds without a side by side comparison. Most untrained eyes won’t be able to tell if a stone has color at all.

Color becomes more important with the increase of carat weight since color is easier to perceive in a larger stone.

Some Shopping tips:

  • Color is harder to detect in a round, princess or other versions of a brilliant cut due to the higher number of facets. So, if you are on a budget and would like a stone that appears larger and more brilliant consider diamonds in the cuts mentioned above.
  • If you are concerned about carat weight and have a fairly tight budget you can get away with a diamond of N, R color grade set in the yellow or rose gold.
  • If you are shopping for a diamond and are only given the range (for example: D-F) the diamond isn’t officially certified by GIA and the seller is merely using the GIA terminology.