Diamonds Education

Color Grading Scale: How a Diamond’s Color Affects its Value

To determine the quality and value of a loose diamond, each of the “four Cs”—cut, color, clarity, and carat weight—is individually evaluated by an expert gemologist. Each of these characteristics has a significant impact on the overall appearance of the stone.

In the fine jewelry industry, the designation of a loose diamond’s color is actually used to refer to the presence or absence of color in the stone. An ideal diamond is colorless and pure white, although these are extremely rare and typically very expensive. Most stones are colored with a slight yellow or brown tint. Diamonds with some amount of color can be attractively set in a classic yellow gold band, while near-colorless stones usually look best when mounted in a white gold or platinum setting.

The less amount of color in a diamond, the more desirable and valuable it is. An exception to this rule is the “fancy diamond,” a term used to describe a stone with a naturally occurring tint, such as pink, blue, green, black, champagne, or (most rarely) red. With fancy diamonds, darker, more intense colorations increase their beauty and value.

The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) uses a very precise color grading scale to evaluate loose diamonds:

D, E, F: These high color grades indicate diamonds that appear colorless to the naked eye.

G, H, I: Also a high grade, these near-colorless diamonds appear white to the naked eye, but include very trace amounts of yellow when viewed under magnification.

J, K, L: These grades may appear colorless to the consumer, but a trained jeweler will be able to distinguish a slight yellow tint.

M, N, O: These grades indicate a light yellow tint, which can usually be detected by the untrained eye.

P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Z: These grades are used to indicate stones with a darker yellow tint.

At Brilliance, we offer only premier certified loose diamonds rated “M” and above. Each of our certified diamonds is appraised by an expert gemologist, arriving with a document detailing its quality characteristics and overall value. For more information about diamond color, visit our Diamond Education section.