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To determine the quality of a diamond's colour, they are graded on a scale from D-Z. A diamond scoring D contains no colour. Whereas Z will contain colour.
4 Mins

Diamond Four Cs Guide: Colour

Lewis Findley
Lewis Findley

Diamond Colour Guide

When it comes to a diamond's colour, it's ranked as high as second out of the 4Cs!

Less is more when it comes to colour so diamonds with the least amount of colour are worth the most. 

Finding these colourless diamonds are quite hard though. It's claimed that diamonds at the top of the colour scale account for less than 1% of all diamonds found!

Despite all of this, the diamond you're looking for does exist and this guide is designed to help you get there.

What you'll learn is the best place to start, how diamonds are graded, what these ratings mean and how to find the right balance between price and colour.

What is the best diamond colour to buy?

As you know, diamonds with the least amount of colour are worth the most and this has a dramatic effect on the value of the diamond. 

In regard to which colour is best, it's recommended to start at the G-H range because it's considered to be the midpoint between the absence of colour and price.

But what are all of these ranges? What do they even look like? Check out this diamond colour scale inspired from the GIA.

How are diamonds graded?

Diamond Colour Scale

Image via - Petra Gems

The GIA created a diamond colour scale to grade diamonds on their lack of colour. 

The sliding scale starts at D, which is a colourless diamond, and finishes at Z where the appearance of colour is visible to the naked eye.

To identify the colour grade of a diamond, they are placed side by side with diamonds of a particular grade and then scrutinised under lighting.

As you can see, the diamond colour ranges are banded which illustrate subtle differences. To get a greater insight into these differences, check out these descriptions.

Colourless Diamonds (D-F)

The most desirable out of all diamonds because of their lack of colour.

Within this band, there are subtle differences between D and F.

This unknowability has prompted assessors to use controlled environments to identify the correct grade. Why? The final colour grade given will have a huge impact on the price of the diamond.

Near Colorless Diamonds (G-H & I-J)

Near colourless diamonds will contain traces of yellow but they still require a controlled environment to see.

One thing that you need to take into account is how broad this banding is.

Diamonds graded G-H are considered near colourless. However, diamonds graded I-J show hues of yellow that are visible without the need of magnification.

Faint Coloured Diamonds (K-M)

This is the point where you can see traces of yellow without putting the diamond under magnification. 

However, there are ways to accommodate this. For example, metals like yellow gold can limit the visual appearance of a yellow diamond because it matches the overall aesthetic.

Despite the appearance of yellow, this banding can be fantastic value for those on a budget as they can cost up to half of near colourless diamonds.

Very Light Coloured Diamonds (N-R)

Any diamond with this grade will contain a presence of yellow or even brown.

The demand for these diamonds are not as high as other bands so they may be hard to find in reputable stores.

Similar to faint coloured diamonds, the yellow gold metal can be used to balance the yellow of the diamond. 

Light Coloured Diamonds (S-Z)

At the bottom of the chart are S-Z diamonds whose presence of colour is extremely visible.

The hue of yellow should not be confused with fancy-coloured yellow diamonds as they are not the same.

Final Words

When profiling the diamond you want, it's necessary to have a clear idea of the metal that you want to use. 

The metal can have a huge effect on the appearance of the diamond.

As mentioned before, G-H is the best place to start and from there, you can go up or down the scale to find the diamond with the right amount of colour.

It's important that you profile the diamond you're looking by exploring the Four Cs and not focusing solely on one aspect. The goal is to find the perfect diamond and not the perfect diamond of a particular C.

For more stories and guides, check out our journal page!