September 23, 2020
Diamond color refers to the absence of detectable color in a diamond. It is one of the 4Cs used to determine diamond quality and value. This guide covers GIA's color grading scale, how color affects appearance, and how to choose the ideal color grade.
Diamond color grading assesses the presence of color, or rather the lack of it, in a diamond. Most diamonds used in jewelry show some degree of yellow or brown hue. The closer to being colorless a diamond is, the higher its value.
Color is evaluated by gemologists face-down against master comparison diamonds for consistency. Diamonds are assigned a letter grade from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow/brown).
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) developed the universally accepted D-Z diamond color grading scale used around the world today.
The finest and rarest diamonds fall into the colorless D-F category. These diamonds have essentially no detectable yellowish hue to the naked eye.
As the scale progresses, the presence of a yellowish tint becomes more apparent in diamonds graded G-Z. However, near colorless grades still face up white and are popular diamond choices.
Whiter diamonds are exponentially more rare, driving up their value. For example, an H color diamond may cost 30-50% less than a comparable D color diamond.
That said, once a diamond is in the near colorless range (G-J), differences are difficult to detect. Many buyers opt for excellent cuts in a G-I at significant savings.
Diamonds over 1 carat start showing perceptible color, so larger diamonds over 3 carats face steep premiums for better colors.
While D-F is the pinnacle, excellent sparkle and beauty can be found in more affordable near colorless diamonds graded G-J. Work with your jeweler to find the ideal balance for your needs and budget.
Choosing the right diamond color grade for your budget and style is key to getting the beauty you desire. Let us know if you have any other questions!
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