Everything about the diamond color scale

October 25, 2022

An Introduction to Diamond Color Scale

A standardized grading system, the diamond color scale evaluates the absence of hue in the gemstone. Introduced by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), diamonds are graded on the scale of D to Z, where D represents transparent diamonds.

Before shopping for an engagement ring, know the importance of 4C's, especially the diamond color. Most stones have a small dash of color inside their crystal structures, and though it may not catch attention as cut or carat, the color of the stone influences the value and price of the diamond in a unique way.

Often referred to as “pure”, colorless diamonds are expensive and rare, which is the primary reason most people choose diamonds possessing no color. However, it is important to remember that it is hard to assess color with the naked eye without receiving gemological training.

In addition to influencing the look of the engagement ring, the color chart guide also helps to plan your budget.

Complete Guide to Diamond Color Scale

Kwiat CEO Greg Kwiat explains how the GIA developed the unique D to Z color scale by skipping the letters A, B, and C. The three letters were intentionally skipped to differentiate the diamond color chart from other grading systems.

The grading scale is divided into five categories:

  • Colorless (D to F)
  • Near Colorless (G to J)
  • Faint (K to M)
  • Very Light (N to R)
  • Light (S to Z)

Diamond color grade beyond Z is rare in nature and is known as fancy-colored diamonds. They are also incredibly expensive.

If you are looking for visually beautiful lab grown diamonds and available on a good budget, you can opt for G, H, I, and J grade diamonds. Despite the color of a J color diamond being slightly visible, some couples prefer it because it maximizes other factors such as size and cut.

TIP FOR YOU - If you are in doubt, take recommendations from a gemologist to determine the color and quality of the gemstone. Review the certificate and request high-definition photos and videos when shopping for diamonds.

Sometimes the difference between the two grades is often indistinguishable. For instance, diamonds between the grade of D to J most often appear ‘white’ when crafted in a piece of jewelry.

Diamond color scale very carefully grades each piece of gemstone. Although they are face-up in an engagement ring, they are graded in a face-down position. This is why a well-cut gemstone appears whiter than its real color when studded in a piece of jewelry.

How Color Influences the Price of the Diamond

Since transparent diamonds are incredibly rare, they are also the most expensive. The price goes down as you move down the scale, and the tint becomes more noticeable. However, this does not apply to fancy color grades. Since they are so rare, it carries a lot of weight. Pink, green, blue, and red diamonds are thus quite special. We must also examine the depth of saturation and hues in a fancy color stone.

GIA Color Diamond Chart

Let us now understand the diamond color scale in detail.

D – It comes under the highest color grade and is nearly transparent. When put under magnification, it will appear colorless to the naked eye. They are the rarest and the most expensive among all other grades of diamonds.

E – They look almost similar to D grade diamonds. Most of the time, the differences in the color grade of D and E are visible only to an expert gemologist when they are put under magnification.

F – F grade diamonds look similar to D and E grade gemstones with no appearance of visible color. Even when put under magnification and side by side, D, E, and F appear similar other than to an expert gemologist.

G - G grade diamonds have no color and appear almost colorless to the naked eye. The G grade is the best grade in the “Near Colorless” range of the GIA’s scale, which covers diamonds between G to J.

H – Under magnification in bright lighting, H grade diamonds usually appear colorless, with a faint yellow hue that can be seen under close inspection, especially when compared with diamonds of a higher color grade.

I – I grade diamonds are the perfect combination of near-colorless looks and providing good value for money. They have a slight yellow tint, but it appears only when placed beside diamonds of a higher color grade.

J - J grade diamonds appear mostly colorless but have a faint yellow tint that is easily noticeable under magnification and bright lights.

K – K grade diamonds come under the category "faint tint" on the diamond color scale, meaning they have a visible slight yellow tint.

L – In normal lighting conditions, L grade diamonds have a yellow tint that is visible to the naked eye. They provide a good value for money as they are much more affordable than diamonds between the G to J range.

M – Diamonds in this grade have a definite yellow tint visible to the naked eye. If you compare M colored diamonds with near-colorless or colorless diamonds, you will find that M colored diamonds offer fantastic value for money.

N to R – Diamonds in this grade have a noticeable brown and yellow tinting. They are available at a more cost-effective price than near colorless or faintly tinted diamonds.

S to Z – Diamonds in the grade of S to Z have easily noticeable brown or yellow tinting.

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