Diamond Color Grades
Diamond Color: What are the
different color grades and what do they mean?
COLOR in the diamond trade usually
refers to the amount of yellow in a stone, but can also indicate
brown or gray and sometimes all three. The most treasured diamond
color is actually the "colorless" grade -- one without
any color at all.
Today's standard color
grading scale was first developed by the Gemological Institute
of America (GIA). Other color scales are still used in other
parts of the world. If you are looking at diamonds with non-GIA
certificates, see our comparison
chart of the major color scales.
The GIA scale starts
with D for perfectly colorless stones, and gives a Z color grade
to diamonds having a noticeable yellow tint, with every letter
between indicating the many gradations possible. Most people
find colors D through L to be the most attractive, and they are
the most rare as well. This means they are also more expensive.
Some people prefer the pronounced yellow tints, so their chosen
diamond will be much less expensive.
Below are samples
of several diamond colors (with variations depending on your
monitor). Note the subtle differences among colors as you go
down the alphabet from D (perfect, colorless) to Z (the most
yellow and least expensive).
Most people never imagine
that diamonds of other colors, called "fancies," are
also available in very limited supply. Diamonds with more color
than the Z shown here include fancy yellow, canary yellow, and
others. The more expensive and treasured stones have pure tints
with very little brown or gray tones to wash the fancy color.
Colors such as "intense purplish pink," perhaps the
most rare and treasured of fancy diamond colors, might sell for
as much as $125,000 per carat for 1-carat stones, wholesale!
Knowing the 4 Cs is NOT enough to price a diamond accurately.
Use our Diamond Pricing Tutorial to learn the easiest and most accurate way to calculate the best possible price for any
diamond you want. That will take you through the process step by step, and it's easy. The only other thing you will need, is a totally honest jeweler to show you about diamonds, help you find a diamond like you want, and put it in the ring of your choice. If you cannot find a good jeweler, we rate the top dealers for you.