Diamond Color

Learn how to find a diamond with the right color for your situation. We’ll explain the color scale and discuss what color a quality diamond should be.

About Diamond Color

Whether you’re talking about diamond jewelry or loose diamonds, a diamond acts as a prism. Diamonds can divide light into a spectrum of colors, and this light is then reflected in colorful flashes called "fire." The color in diamonds serves as a filter, which will diminish the color spectrum reflected. The less color a diamond has, the more colorful the fire will be, and the higher the color grade will be. In short, less color is better with diamonds.

The Color Scale

The color of diamonds is determined by comparing it under controlled light to the color scale of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The most valuable and desirable diamonds are those with no discernable color. On the color scale, such diamonds are given a D rating. The color scale ranges from D to Z, as you can see below.

The diamond color scale as defined by the GIA Institute.

Color Grading Scale

D E F - Colorless
G H I J - Near Colorless
K L M - Faint Yellow
N O P Q R - Very Light Yellow
S - Z - Light Yellow

Explanation of Diamond Color Scale

Here is a guide to understanding the color grading scale for loose diamonds.

  • D Color Diamonds
    Absolutely colorless. The highest color grade. Extremely rare.
  • E Color Diamonds
    Colorless. Only minute traces of color can be detected by an expert gemologist. Very rare.
  • F Color Diamonds
    Colorless. Expert gemologist can detect slight color, but still considered "colorless" for grading purposes. Very high-quality diamond.
  • G Color Diamonds - H Color Diamonds
    Near colorless. Noticeable color when compared to higher-grade diamonds. Excellent value.
  • I Color Diamonds - J Color Diamonds
    Near colorless. Color slightly detectable. Very good value.
  • Diamonds with Color K-M
    Noticeable color. Not carried by most upscale diamond retailers.
  • Diamonds with Color N-Z
    Noticeable very light to light yellow color. Not carried by most upscale diamond retailers.

Fluorescent Diamonds

Fluorescent diamonds produce a unique effect that some people like, while others avoid it. A strong fluorescence grade can make a near-colorless diamond look whiter. Diamonds with strong fluorescence are usually a better value for customers because they are usually priced slightly lower than diamonds with faint or negligible fluorescence.

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