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Diamond Color Chart: Diamond Color-grading Scale

Diamond Color Chart: Diamond Color-grading Scale

Knowing what the gem color indicates aids in the selection of the ideal diamond. But surprisingly enough, the majority of gem-quality diamond color evaluations are predicated on the actual lack of color.

Structurally flawless and chemically pure gem, like a drop of pure water, has no color and hence a greater value. So, while searching for your perfect precious stone, have you bumped into something called the Diamond Color Chart: Diamond Color-Grading Scale?

The diamond color grading scale assesses the diamond’s colorlessness by matching the stone with “master stones” of defined color value under special lighting and viewing circumstances.

Most of these diamond color differences are so minor that the casual observer would miss them. These variations, however, create a significant impact on the diamond’s quality and price. 

Stay with us to learn more about diamond color and the color-grading scale!

Diamond Color

Diamonds are frequently thought to be perfectly transparent – but that’s not necessarily true. The color of a diamond is determined by what you cannot see. You see, diamonds can have delicate colors because they include trace elements.

Although the color is one of the four C’s used by jewelers to evaluate diamonds, it’s really about quality and rarity. As a result, gems are valued based on how near they are to colorlessness. So, the more subtle the hue, the greater the value. 

Colorless diamonds are the most precious since they are the rarest.

Due to the obvious impurities that they might gather in the soil, diamonds that originate from the ground – natural diamonds, that is – frequently have yellow, gray, or brown tones. These diamonds are graded according to tone, color, and saturation – and, indeed, the diamond color scale takes these aspects into account.

Diamond color refers to the stone’s true color, which might be white, yellow, brown, pink, or blue. Tone represents the amount of color in a diamond – ranging from bright to dark. And finally, the gem’s saturation refers to the intensity and depth of those hues.

It’s helpful to know that colorless diamonds generally lack saturation. Instead, they are full of fire and sparkle.

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What Is The Color-Grading Scale?

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the most trusted diamond certifying lab in the world, has created the International Color Scale to ensure uniformity in diamond color identification. With a judicial system that examines each diamond, this scale handles clarity and color.

Related Read: Diamond Color Vs. Clarity: What’s More Important?

For the stone to acquire GIA certification, the five-person panel must unanimously approve the grade. Whether or not a diamond is verified by the GIA, nearly every diamond purchased today is graded using the GIA color scale.

The authorized GIA scale assesses the extent of brown, yellow, or grey in white diamonds utilizing letters spanning from D to Z. 


Gemologists examine color faults by laying gems face down on a clear white sheet to highlight imperfections. Gems with a “D” grade must be colorless and ice white, whereas gemstones with a “Z” grade should have a yellow tint. Diamonds with an N to Z grading are rarely used in jewelry, in case you were wondering. 

Note that even though they feature variable degrees of hue, all D-Z diamonds are classified as white. Genuine fancy colored stones, like pink, yellow, and blue diamonds, are graded separately and aren’t part of this grading scale.

So, by now, you’re probably asking yourself why the color grading chart starts at the letter D?

Well, prior to the GIA’s adoption of the D-through-Z Color Grading Scale, there was no defined standard for defining diamond color. A, B, and C (employed without clear meaning), Arabic (0, 1, 2, 3) and Roman (I, II, III) numerals, and descriptive phrases such as “blue-white” or “gem blue,” known for misunderstanding, were all used loosely.

As a result, the designers of the GIA Color Scale intended to start from scratch – with no ties to the previous systems. As a result, the GIA scale begins with the letter D. A small number of people still use other grading systems – but no other method has the clarity and universal recognition that the GIA scale has.

Related Read: What Diamond Color Is The Best Value?

Diamond Color Chart

We choose colorless and near-colorless stones for jewelry pieces because they have far more fire and brilliance. Although colorless gems are uncommon and gorgeous when set against platinum or polished white gold, near-colorless diamonds are still an excellent option – and can provide exceptional value.

Colorless Diamonds

While taking a close look at diamond hues, it might be difficult to spot the differences between groups. D, E, and F are the colorless gem grades. However, these tiny differences might represent the diamond’s quality and price.

As previously noted, the grading system starts at D since the GIA has former grading systems that employed the first three letters of the alphabet as well as Arabic and Roman numbers. GIA began with D in order to create a revolutionary grading system. 

Even though this is a somewhat unusual way to start a grading system, diamond buyers have become used to it pretty quickly.

Diamonds of a D, E, or F rating are entirely colorless, with no visible color remains – even under ten times magnification scrutiny by a well-qualified specialist. Only an electric colorimeter would be able to detect the minor changes.

Customers are unable to distinguish between the three colorless classes of gems since none of them contain visible or undesired yellow or brown tints. 

Nonetheless, gems graded D are the most colorless, whereas grades E and F have comparable characteristics, with no color traces even after examination. The costs of colorless diamonds are similar, irrespective of the D, E, or F rating.

Because of the delicacy of the colorless diamond’s color, it’s essential to embed them on silver or platinum pieces of jewelry to preserve their radiance. Golden objects would instead reflect their yellowish tone, causing a colorless grade D-F gem to appear more K-to-M-like.

Near-Colorless Diamonds

Near-colorless diamonds are rated from G to J. 

Diamonds are tinted by substances trapped within them, such as nitrogen. The nitrogen traps blue and violet light, giving the diamonds a warm appearance – although any hue is difficult to discern until they are placed next to colorless diamonds. 

The G-graded diamond is among the most common ones near-colorless gems since it has the slightest tint and is less costly than colorless choices.

H diamonds are the first to show a distinct hue, with a faint yellow tone perceptible to the human eye. 

The I and J diamonds have a yellowish tone – although the colors are usually more visible than the H tone. A stone in the I-J range may cost half of the cost of a diamond in the D range.

While G-J diamonds have traces of hue, they are ideal for platinum or white gold settings, which would ordinarily reveal any indication of color in a diamond. Within the G-J category, the price of each diamond class tends to climb by 10-20%.

Related Read: Platinum Vs. White Gold: Which One Is Better?

Faintly Colored Diamonds

The grades of faintly colored diamonds range from K to M. These gems feature a light yellowish color that is popular with individuals who fancy yellow shades. 

Smaller diamonds, just under 0.50-carat, may seem colorless or near-colorless if set in jewelry. By following these tips when buying a diamond, you might save money – and eventually, end up with a diamond that seems to be of a higher color class.

Colorless and near-colorless gems are more costly than faintly tinted diamonds. Customers prefer the delicate, surprising color combined with the toughness and durability of diamonds. Thus, the popularity of softly colored diamonds seems to be growing.

Related Read: What Are The Most Popular Diamond Colors And Clarities?

Diamond Shape And Diamond Color Connection

Certain diamond shapes conceal flaws better than others. The cut or form of the diamond can boost its brightness since the facets reflect color instead of displaying any defects in the gem.

Does the form of the diamond you’ve cast an eye on conceal the flaws effectively or display a lot of undertones? How far down the stone color grading chart should you go?

If you’re searching for a diamond in one of the following shapes, you should emphasize color above clarity to acquire the best-looking diamond within your price range.

Here’s a quick rundown of diamond shapes and their color-hiding properties:

  • Round Shape: Due to the way round diamonds are cut, they reflect more light than some other popular shapes. Therefore, they conceal poor color grades better. So, as long as you pick a round-cut gemstone with a color rating of J or higher, there should be no visible color.
  • Princess Shape: If you’re looking for a princess-cut diamond, it’s best not to go below an I color grade.
  • Emerald Shape: The emerald cut was designed to bring out the inherent hue of emeralds, hence the name. Your diamond should be in the D-H color range to prevent highlighting any yellow tinge.
  • Cushion Shape: As cushion-cut diamonds have the tendency to maintain a lot of hues, the color rating is pretty essential. If you don’t want any color implications, go for a cushion diamond with a color class of H or higher.
  • Pear Shape: Because pear diamonds reveal more color than most other forms, color must be your top focus. If you want white metals, seek a color rating of H or higher. But if you want rose or yellow gold, you can go lower – down to a K grade.
  • Oval Shape: Although indications of color are difficult to discern in oval diamonds, color should nonetheless take precedence over, for instance, clarity. So, seek an oval diamond with an H color rating or higher.

Fancy-Colored Diamonds

Yellow, pink, brown, and gray are typical diamond hues covered by the GIA rating. Some brown and yellow gemstones with tones that stretch beyond the Z grade on the GIA scale, on the other hand, are termed “fancy-colored.”

Fancy-colored gems have their own rating system since they come in colors that aren’t included in the standard color spectrum. These exceptionally rare diamonds appear in every shade of the rainbow. 

White diamonds may also be fancy, particularly if they have an opalescent gloss rather than the conventional clarity seen in white diamonds.

Do note that fancy-colored diamonds are frequently manufactured in laboratories. These gemstones have the identical quality, endurance, and hardness as genuine diamonds – but lab-generated fancy-colored diamonds are less costly than natural diamonds. 

Due to their scarcity, though, they might be more pricey than white or colorless diamonds.

How Does The Diamond Color Determine Its Value?

Slight color variances, as previously stated, might alter the cost of a stone when it enters retail outlets, mainly if the hue is noticeable to the human eye. 

Diamonds with little flecks of color are more prevalent than colorless gems, anyway. 

The colorless ones are more precious than colored diamonds since they display less color, have greater brilliance, and are incredibly rare.

Color variations – even within grading systems – can alter the price by more or less 10%. 

A minor color defect may sometimes change the diamond’s value by hundreds or thousands of dollars – especially once the cut, carat, and clarity are taken into account, as well.

Does Carat Size Impact Diamond Color?

The hue of a diamond can also be affected by its carat weight. Because the color is generally contained within the diamond, a bigger diamond exhibits its color more vividly than a tiny one. 

When a two-carat J diamond is placed beside a half-carat J stone, the larger diamond seems to have a more visible color. Pairing the carat and setting can indeed help to conceal the hue, especially with smaller gems. If you want to purchase a huge diamond, pick a stone with a better color grading. 

Most importantly, find a diamond that you like at a price you are comfortable with; that’s the only way to be happy with the purchase.


So, let’s sum up this whole Diamond Color Chart: Diamond Color-Grading Scale discussion.

All of the four C’s can have an effect on the look and elegance of a diamond. Color is regarded as the most essential aspect in diamond selection, second only to its cut. That’s due to the fact that the human eye detects a diamond’s brilliance first and color second.

The diamond color chart described in this article might assist you in determining which category to emphasize above the others to discover the ideal diamond.

Seek G-J diamonds for the best value in what appears to the human eye to be a colorless gem. As color is easier to notice in bigger diamonds, choose G-H in those weighing more than a carat and I-J in those weighing less than a carat. 

Trust us; these diamonds will appear just like better color-graded diamonds when put in a ring.

Related Read: What Are The Characteristics Of A Diamond?