Diamond color

Color grading
from D to Z

Diamond color chart

Color is one of the 4Cs and a key quality factor to be considered as it is a very important diamond characteristic. As opposed to what you might expect, the ideal color is in fact the total absence of color, referred to as a colorless diamond. The GIA has developed a diamond color chart that helps to grade diamonds on scale. The diamond color chart ranges from the letter D to Z and is universally used today in the diamond trade. The color grade D represents the rarest and most desirable colorless diamond, whereas as Z at the other end of the spectrum has a slight hint of yellow or brown. All diamonds ranging from D to Z are considered white diamonds, although they may contain various degrees of color. Diamonds are color graded by comparison with master stones under controlled lighting and strict viewing conditions.

GIA diamond color scale

  • loose diamondsColorless | D, E, F: the most rarest and desirable colorless diamonds. D-F diamonds should only be set in white gold as yellow gold will influence the diamond’s colorless beauty.

  • Near Colorless |G, H, I, J: Although these diamonds will contain minute traces of color, they are still suitable to be set in a platinum or white gold setting, which could normally betray any hint of color. I-J diamonds can be half the price of a D diamond.

  • Faint Color | K, L, M: Diamond classified as K-M will have a faint yellow color, which is only just noticeable to the naked eye. They are best set in yellow gold diamond rings.

  • Very Light Color| N - R: Diamonds in this color range have a yellow or brown tint that is easily visible to the naked eye.

  • Light color | S - Z: These diamonds will have a relatively obvious yellow or brown color hue.

Picking the right color grade

Once a stone is set in a diamond ring and placed in an environment that contains color – instead of the all-white background used in diamond color – the color grade becomes much less apparent and harder to detect. A J color diamond may look as colorless as a D color diamond when set in a diamond ring and viewed in normal lighting conditions. The diamond’s apparent color is also affected by the color of the mounting itself. White metal mountings make the color in lower grade diamonds more apparent, whereas yellow gold makes it less obvious. The diamond shape you pick also influences the color grade as some shapes like the Emerald cut show more color. Lastly, color becomes more apparent as carat weight increases. Due to the size, it will be easier to see a J color grade with a 5 carat diamond than with a 2 carat diamond.

Get an accurate
pricing NOW
GIA Jewelers Board JBT Website