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Diamond Color: Everything You Need to Know

by Sophia Huxley
Posted January 21, 2022

Last updated on August 24, 2022

the most expensive diamond cut

Diamond color is one of the 4C’s of diamonds. Those are the four standard ways that all diamonds are graded and valued. If you are curious whether your diamond’s color is right and whether you are overpaying for your diamond, start here! Whether you prefer white H diamonds or need answers about diamond color in general, we have it all.

Do Diamonds Have Color?

Short answer? No. Colorless diamonds are rare, but pure carbon diamonds are white diamonds with no color. Colorless diamonds are incredibly rare, though, as most

diamonds, especially natural diamonds, have trace amounts of other elements in them. This means that a diamond’s color can range and that while there are colorless diamonds, there are also diamonds with a typical color range and fancy colored diamonds.

Why Do Diamonds have Color?

Trace elements in their chemical structure impact a diamond’s color. Rather than being pure carbon, some diamonds include more or less other elements, which change the diamond’s appearance. Even a diamond that is colorless to the naked eye may have a yellow tone when graded. The color grade is an important jewelry factor because of this, as you may not know whether your diamond is truly a colorless diamond or simply so light yellow that you cannot perceive it without it.

Is Diamond Color Bad?

The color scale for white diamonds has the highest quality color grade and a low-quality color grade at each end. The highest quality color grades are valued higher, as they are not light yellow but instead pure white. A diamond’s color will impact its price, but you will find that the look is similar within some normal color range. A low color grade can be bad, but not all diamond colors are bad.

What are Fancy Color Diamonds?

Fancy-colored diamonds are a perfect example of valuable diamond colors. Fancy-colored diamonds are valued highest when they are true, deep colors. They are graded differently from white diamonds and put on a particular GIA diamond color scale to give them a proper rating.

Grading: Colorless Diamonds Versus Fancy-Colored Diamonds

Diamond jewelry requires strict regulations to keep prices at a norm. Things like a GIA color scale help regulate most diamonds by value on the market. It also gives people a way to describe diamonds in much the same way as we describe the diamond shape or diamond clarity. We cannot put colorless diamonds on the same scale as fancy colored diamonds when we consider color. The grades would become misleading and no longer tell customers what the highest quality color grade is. So instead, color grading has been split into a diamond color scale for each type of diamond. Colorless diamonds have a separate color chart than fancy colored diamonds. Each chart type accounts for color grades within that color diamonds color grading scale.

The GIA Diamond Color Scale For White Diamond Color

For a white diamond or other near colorless diamonds, there is a general scale that assigns diamond colors to a different letter grade. Diamonds graded on this scale, used by The Gemological Institute of America, uses this diamond grading scale are assessed for white diamond characteristics. It can be hard to see the difference from one color grade to the next to the untrained eye. Even a faint color in an otherwise perfect diamond can affect the value and look of the stone, though. Stones with the same quality grade on the GIA scale will have the same color.

The Grading Scale for Colorless and Nearly Colorless Diamonds

Diamond color chart for knowledge

The actual scale runs from the letter D through J. Each grade on the scale represents a color range. People love to use a grading scale to help them find near colorless diamonds for engagement rings. They can find a nearly colorless stone that looks colorless to the naked eye, but that is not a D color diamond price tag. So what do all the letter grades mean?

D Color Diamond

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

E Color Diamond

Colorless. It takes a Gemological Institute expert to find the faint color in this diamond. Very rare and incredibly high quality.

F Color Diamond

Colorless. This is still a high-quality grade, but it would be easier for an expert at the Gemological Institute of America or other diamond graders to find the color in it.

G Color Diamond

Near colorless. While still valuable diamonds, you may see the color of this diamond when you put your diamond jewelry next to other engagement rings of higher color grades.

H Color Diamond

Near colorless. An excellent value for diamond jewelry, but visually you can see that H color diamonds are near colorless, not colorless diamonds.

I Color Diamond

Near colorless. You will detect the slight color in these diamonds, but they are a great value.

J Color Diamond

Near colorless. a great value, but their natural color may be visible.

The GIA Fancy Colored Diamonds Diamond Color Scale

The grading scale for fancy colored diamonds is a little different. Each type of colored diamond is compared to its own color group. That way, color grades are not trying to put blue and red diamonds in the same categories. Fancy-colored diamonds use a scale that rates the depth and intensity of their color as a positive on their color scale.

Unlike white diamonds, naturally colored diamonds are highly prized for their natural color—the more intense and pure the color, the better the diamond. Like how there are H color diamonds, there are lighter colored diamonds with impure hues, such as additional yellow or brown in red diamonds. They are still gorgeous and highly sought after, but they are of lower value from a diamond standpoint. Someone may prefer blue diamonds with a slight yellow hue, so they have green diamonds, but that personal preference is not reflected in the colored diamonds scale. The scale, with each color only compared to its own, is explained below!

Fancy Light

This is where you will see the light yellow or light blue stones in colored diamonds. Any blue-white diamonds or other pastel-type combinations are Fancy Light.

Fancy

Fancy is a mid-tone fancy color. The color will be true, and generally, any diamond at this point on the color scale is naturally extremely rare.

Fancy Intense

This is one of the highest quality color grades colored diamonds can receive. It is also extremely rare. Fancy color diamonds in this range do not share the cooler, darker tones of the Dark and Deep grades. This is the grade that we see yellow diamonds get referred to as canary diamonds. They are an actual, intense yellow color at Fancy Intense. The highest grade is not necessarily the highest value, as the higher you go, you could be more yellow or brown diamonds in true color.

Fancy Vivid

This is another of the highest quality color grades that colored diamonds may have. Fancy Vivid is a step up from intense in its color, and they will never have a brown tint. It would be tough to see the key difference between Fancy Vivid and Fancy Intense to the untrained eye.

Fancy Dark

This grade is for colored diamonds with darker tones in them, but flawless and intense color as well. They may have a yellow or brown tint, making the intense yellow of a yellow diamond more of a cool-toned grey.

Fancy Deep

This grade is for the darkest toned color diamonds. The fancy color here will be profound, with cool tones and possibly some black or grey look to the stone in certain lightings.

Which color diamond is the most expensive?

Red diamonds per carat weight are the most expensive. They are incredibly rare and high value, to the point that they run expensive on the market. They are around $1 million dollars per carat, so keep an eye on your carat weight for your engagement ring! Pink diamonds are actually a lighter version of red diamonds, and while the pricing is different, they are still a part of the rarest gems in the world. Pure, intensely colored pink diamonds look red and are red diamonds.

What is the best color in diamonds?

While red diamonds are the highest value, people tend to shop for other types of diamond colors. In her recent engagement ring, Even Cardi B had a pink diamond center stone! Pinks, greens, and blues tend to be most popular with buyers. Diamond experts and diamond wearers will often prefer different jewelry, so do not worry if you want a gem blue diamond. Diamonds of all colors need love, and by opting for a lower-value diamond on the market, you can get a larger diamond of high quality.