What Is Diamond Color?

Diamonds are frequently assumed to be completely clear. However, because diamonds contain trace elements, they can have subtle colours. While colour is one of the four Cs used by jewellers to grade diamonds, it is more about rarity and quality. Colorless diamonds are the most valuable because they are the rarest.

Diamonds are usually yellow, brown, or grey when they are mined because of the impurities they pick up in the earth. The diamond colour scale incorporates hue, tone, and saturation ratings for these diamonds.

Diamond hue refers to the stone’s actual colour, which can be white, yellow, pink, brown, or blue. Tone is the degree of colour in a gem, ranging from light to dark. Finally, saturation refers to the depth and intensity of a colour. Colorless diamonds lack saturation. They have fire and brilliance instead.

What Is The International Color Scale?

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created the International Color Scale to ensure consistency in diamond colour labelling. With a jury system that evaluates each diamond, this scale addresses colour and clarity. For the diamond to receive GIA certification, the five-person jury must unanimously agree on the grade.

The GIA scale measures the degree of yellow, brown, or grey in white diamonds using letters ranging from D to Z. Gemologists evaluate colour flaws by putting diamonds face down on pure white paper. Diamonds with a D rating must be icy white and colourless, whereas those with a Z rating must have a yellow hue. Diamonds rated N to Z are rarely used in jewellery.

Diamond Color Grading & Diamond Color Chart

We carry colourless and near-colorless diamonds at St Diamont because they have the most brilliance and fire. While colourless diamonds are rare and exquisite when set against gleaming white gold or platinum, nearly colourless diamonds are also a brilliant choice and can provide excellent value.


Absolutely colorless or icy white. The highest color grade-extremely rare and most expensive.


Colorless. Only miniscule traces of color can be detected by an expert gemologist—a rare, high quality diamond.


Colorless. Slight color detected by an expert gemologist, but still considered a “colorless” grade-a high-quality diamond.


Near-colorless. Color noticeable when compared to diamonds of better grades, but offers excellent value.


Near-colorless. Color noticeable when compared to diamonds of better grades, but offers excellent value.


Near-colorless. Slightly detected color—a good value.


Near-colorless. Slightly detected color—a good value. 

Colorless Grades

When looking closely at diamond colours, it can be difficult to see the distinctions between categories. D, E, and F are the colourless grades. However, subtle differences can reflect the diamond’s quality and price.

Because the GIA had older grading systems that used the first three letters of the alphabet as well as Arabic and Roman numerals, the grading system starts at D. GIA began with D in order to create a novel grading system. Despite the fact that this is an unusual way to start a rating system, diamond buyers have grown accustomed to it.

Diamonds with a D, E, or F grade are completely colourless. The subtle differences could only be detected by an electric colorimeter. Customers are unable to distinguish between the three colourless grades because none of them have distracting or unwanted yellow or brown hues. The prices of colourless diamonds are comparable regardless of the D, E, or F grade.

Near Colorless Grades

Diamonds that are near colourless are graded between G and J. They have a warm appearance, but any colour is difficult to see unless they are placed next to colourless diamonds. Because it has the least amount of colour and is less expensive than colourless options, the G diamond is one of the most popular near colourless grades.

H diamonds are the first to show a noticeable hue, with a subtle yellow tone visible to the naked eye. The I and J diamonds have a yellow tone as well, but the colours are more visible than the H tone.

Faintly Colored Grades

The grades of faintly coloured diamonds range from K to M. These have a subtle yellow hue that is popular among yellow fans. Colorless and nearly colourless diamonds are more expensive than faintly coloured diamonds. Customers like the subtle, unexpected colour combined with the hardness and durability of diamonds, so the popularity of faintly coloured diamonds is growing.

    • K Color
    • L Color
    • M Color

How Diamond Color Affects Price

Minor colour variations can affect a diamond’s price when it reaches retail stores, especially if the colour is visible to the naked eye. Diamonds with minor flecks of colour are more common than colourless diamonds. Colorless diamonds are more valuable than coloured diamonds because they reflect more colour, have more brilliance, and are rarer.

Color variations, even within the same grading scale, can alter the value by 10% or more. A minor colour flaw can sometimes affect the price by hundreds or thousands of dollars, especially when the carat, cut, and clarity are also considered.

How Diamond Shape Impacts Diamond Color

A diamond’s shape can either highlight or conceal a colour flaw. Because the facets reflect colour rather than showing any imperfections in the diamond, the cut or shape can increase brilliance. If the diamond contains colour, the colour will filter the brilliance and reduce the fire that attracts so many people to diamonds in the first place.

The round, brilliant diamond, in general, hides colour better than any other cut. They have many small facets that dilute the underlying colour. Color is more visible in diamonds with broad facets, such as emerald, oval, or pear shapes.

How Ring Settings Impact Diamond Color

The colour of a diamond can be affected by ring settings. When diamonds are colourless or nearly colourless, their brilliance is enhanced when set in platinum or white gold. The silver tint of the setting enhances the stone’s white hue.

Stones with a slight colour and a grading higher than J look better in traditional yellow gold settings. The yellow gold cools the diamond’s yellow hue, as the stone appears to take its colour from the gold in the setting. Diamonds with higher grades appear nearly colourless when set in gold.

How Carat Size Impacts Diamond Color

The colour of a diamond can also be affected by its carat weight. Because the colour is usually contained within the diamond, a larger diamond will display its colour better than a smaller one. When a two-carat J diamond is placed next to a half-carat J diamond, the larger diamond appears to have more colour.

Combining carat and setting can also help to hide colour, especially in smaller diamonds. If you intend to purchase a large diamond, consider a stone with a higher colour rating. Most importantly, choose a diamond that you like at a price that you are comfortable with.

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