Diamond Color Chart + Complete Diamond Color Guide

    So you're shopping for a diamond engagement ring or maybe just a treat-yourself-because-you-deserve-it diamond prezzie. Whatever the reason behind your diamond search, you'll want to start with the 4Cs - cut, clarity, carat, and today's topic: color.

    Keep reading for:

    • What is diamond color
    • The color grades in detail
    • Diamond color chart
    • Pro-tips for choosing diamond color

    What is diamond color?

    Color is one of the 4Cs that gauge diamond quality. However, the term 'color' might be a bit misleading. In the diamond world, 'color' refers to the absence of color. The highest grades are given to diamonds that are completely colorless, while the lower tiers are home to diamonds with a subtle yellow or brown tint.

    The GIA (Gemological institute of America) grades diamond color on a scale from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). This scale is the industry standard for diamond color grading.

    Is a diamond's color important?

    What's most important is that you love your diamond, and color can play a big role. If you're a fan of the icy, white aesthetic, a higher color grade will be more important to you. If you love a golden glow, the lower color grades will speak to you.

    Ultimately, picking a diamond is about discovering what's important to you personally. Do you want a stone that sparkles shamelessly, a diamond that can be seen from space, a stone with no inclusions even under a magnifying glass, or a diamond that's the iciest block of ice this world's ever seen? Once you know your priorities, you can shuffle around the 4Cs to find the diamond that's meant for you.

    round brilliant diamond ring in white gold

    Generally, if you want the largest, most glittering gem within your budget, 'cut' is the most important C and the rest of the Cs can be fine-tuned from there. Not sure what the 4Cs even are? Read our in-depth blogs on Carat, Clarity, and Cut to learn the ins and outs!

    The color grades in detail + DIAMOND COLOR CHART

    Read more about each color grade below and consult our diamond color chart to see what each color range looks like.

    diamond color scale

    Colorless diamonds

    At the top of the GIA color scale are D - F color diamonds. These colorless stones are rare and unsurprisingly pricey. For that totally transparent ice castle vibe, these high-quality diamonds deliver.

    D Color diamonds

    The highest-quality and rarest color grade, D diamonds are completely colorless in every lighting and environment. Their price tag matches their rarity.

    E Color diamonds

    E diamonds, just a step below D, are almost indistinguishable from their higher counterparts. Only a seasoned Gemologist can spot the minute color differences. They're rare, high quality, and come with a cost to match.

    F Color diamonds

    F diamonds, still considered colorless, have a faint hue only detectable by a Gemologist's expert eye. From the top, they're virtually identical to D and E diamonds. But from the bottom, you might just spot a hint of color.

    Near colorless diamonds

    G-J diamonds are considered near colorless. Generally, these grades look colorless from the top view and almost colorless from the bottom. Usually, it takes a professional to detect color in these stones unless placed directly beside a colorless diamond.

    Significantly less expensive, near colorless diamonds are a great value - you maintain the colorless look and maximize your budget on more important measures, like cut (and carat, am I right?)

    G Color Diamonds

    Considered near-colorless, G color diamonds only have noticeable color differences when compared with higher grade diamonds. When viewed on their own, they appear mostly colorless to the naked eye. G diamonds are a great balance of value and quality.

    H Color Diamonds

    The next level down in near colorless, H color diamonds look mostly colorless to the naked eye but can show a very faint yellow hue against white backgrounds or when compared with colorless stones.

    I Color diamonds

    Still near colorless, I color diamonds have a slightly yellow tint that's not usually noticeable to the untrained eye but will show up against white backgrounds or when compared with higher quality colorless diamonds.

    J Color diamonds

    The last grade in the near-colorless range, J color diamonds have a slight warm tint that's difficult to detect with the naked eye. Differences will show when placed side-by-side with a colorless diamond.

    Faint Color Diamond Grades

    Considered 'faint color' grades, K-M diamonds are where the champagne diamonds scale begins. These stones have warm, honey tones that feel like sunlight. These diamonds are graded C1-C2 or 'light champagne' diamonds on the argyle scale and 'faint yellow' on the GIA diamond color scale.

    Set in a yellow gold, peach gold, or rose gold setting, these stones give off a golden glow that feels deliciously warm and sunkissed. Champagne diamonds are much more affordable, and if you love a golden hue, you can find a much bigger diamond for your budget vs a traditional white diamond.

    For more on Champagne diamonds, read our blog.

    K color diamonds

    K-color diamonds have a warm, golden tint that's visible to the naked eye.

    L color diamonds

    L-color diamonds have a faint yellowish-brown tint that's visible to the naked eye in regular lighting.

    Oval cut light champagne diamond ring

    Pear shaped medium champagne diamond ring

    M color diamonds

    M-color diamonds have a faint (but slightly deeper) golden champagne hue that's visible in normal lighting.

    Very Light Yellow Diamond Grades

    Color grades from N - R are classified as 'very light yellow' diamonds by the GIA. In the argyle color scale, these deeper champagne tones are graded C3 - C4 or 'medium champagne' diamonds.

    Light yellow diamond grades

    Color grades from S - Z are graded C5-C6 or 'dark champagne' on the argyle color scale or 'light yellow' in the GIA diamond color scale.

    Beyond Z: Fancy brown diamonds

    After Z, we leave the normal color range and enter the scales for fancy brown diamonds. Once we're in the fancy colored range, everything flips. Whereas with white diamonds, the price goes down as the color deepens, with fancy colored diamonds, the deeper the tone, the more desirable and expensive they are.

    Fancy color diamonds come in every color of the rainbow - from pink and purple to blue, green, orange, yellow, and red. These stones are incredibly rare and correspondingly expensive.

    Pro-Tips for Choosing Diamond Color

    Don't pay for what you can't see

    The highest color grades cost exponentially more but often look identical to other grades from the face-up view. You can easily find diamonds that look completely colorless in the G - I range that will cost significantly less and leave you more budget to spend on size and sparkle.

    Surprisingly, many people don't love the look of a D diamond color grade - they're so white, they can give off cubic zirconia vibes.

    Decide what's most important to you

    Pick your priorities - if it's sparkle and/or size, you'll want to opt for a lower color grade that still appears white so you can direct your budget to the more important C - cut. If you're very color sensitive and want the brightest, whitest diamond, prioritize color and be prepared to compromise on shine and sparkle.

    Consider your setting

    Diamonds pick up color from their setting, meaning white gold or platinum settings will make your diamond appear whiter, whereas yellow gold, peach gold, and rose gold settings will cast a warmer hue through your diamond.

    So if you're choosing a diamond with faint color, yellow gold, peach gold, and rose gold will compliment that golden warmth. If you want to make a colorless or near colorless diamond appear its whitest, opt for white gold or platinum to play up the icy, clear, bright vibe.

    Diamonds are graded from the bottom

    Did you know the GIA actually grades color from the bottom of the diamond? Often, those color differences don't even show through to the top which can make those letter grades deceiving. If you're trying to maximize your budget, work with an expert who can spot these subtle differences and help you get the most sizeable, stunning stone for your dollar!

    Color shifts with shapes

    Certain shapes camouflage color differences more than others, meaning you can opt for a lower color grade and still maintain a colorless look. Round brilliant cut diamonds hide color the best with their smaller facets, and step cut diamonds like emerald cut or asscher cut show diamond color more.

    Consider carat weight

    Generally the bigger the diamond, the more that color differences will show in a stone. If you're under 1 carat, you can move down the color scale and still keep a colorless look. Once you start to rise above 2 carats, you'll want to move up the color scale to keep your diamond looking colorless.

    Pick what YOU love

    In the end, worry less about the stats and more about what you're personally drawn to. If an icy white energy is for you, embrace that! If you love a golden champagne warmth, you do you!

    If you're thinking of creating custom or want help selecting the most stunning, sizeable stone in your budget, book a free consultwith our Head Chef or send us a message anytime with questions!

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