Importance of Diamond Color

The color, or in actuality the lack of color, is another factor to examine when selecting a diamond. While it is often difficult to make subtle distinctions in color with the naked eye, these different grades have a significant impact on value and quality. The less body color a diamond has the more desirable and rare it becomes.

Grading a Diamond’s Color

The size of a diamond will have an impact on the perception of color in the diamond because it is more difficult to see color in diamonds that are less than a half-carat. The way that the diamond is mounted and the metal type will also have an impact on the perceived color. Colorless diamonds really come to life in white gold and platinum settings. Lower color grades are typically showcased best in a warm metal color such as yellow gold or rose gold.

The standard grading systems for color were developed by the GIA and the American Gem Society. The GIA grading system is based on a scale of D (colorless) to Z (light color) and the AGS uses scale from 0 (colorless) to 10 (light color).

Diamond Color Scale by AGS

Colorless (D-F)

These color grades are the most desirable because of their lack of color. Certified Gemologists can detect the subtle differences between D, E and F by evaluating the diamond while it is un-mounted and through the back to give the clearest impression of its actual body color. A colorless diamond is truly a stunning sight to behold, and sure to make any piece look extraordinary. Grading Diamonds by Color - Colorless

Near Colorless (G-J)

Diamonds that fall into the near colorless category contain small traces of color, but the color is still somewhat difficult to detect to the naked eye. Still considered above average, diamonds in this range are often found as accent diamonds in finished jewelry and as center diamonds in rings.

Diamond Color Scale - Near Colorless

Faint Color (K-M)

When reaching the K color grade it becomes easier to detect color with the naked eye. These diamonds will have a more noticeable warm tint than diamonds in higher grades.

Faint Color Diamonds Scale

Very Light Color (N-R)

Diamonds that carry a grade between N and R contain visible color with a yellow or brown tint that can be easily seen. These lower grades are not to be mistaken with fancy yellow color.

Diamond Color Scale

Light Color (S-Z)

With a grade between S and Z, these diamonds have an obvious visible color.

Color Scale of Diamonds - Grades S through Z

Fancy Colored Diamonds

Fancy Colored diamonds are graded on a completely different scale. At a certain color level, diamonds become desirable for yellow to shine through. There is a distinct difference visually between a “yellow” diamond in the S-Z range and a yellow diamond that is considered a ‘Fancy’ color. GIA has developed a specific set of parameters to help gemologist determine one from the other.

» DOWNLOAD: Diamond Color Scale

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