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All You Need to Know About Diamond Color

Published date: November 15, 2018

The second most important factor when purchasing a diamond – just after brilliance – is color. Though it is nearly impossible to determine with the naked eye, the color grade is an important factor in the value of a diamond. The purer it is in terms of color, the higher its price. So, how can you be sure that you are getting a high-quality gem?

Learn more about the diamond color grade scale and how color can be enhanced with subtle jewelry design techniques.

Diamond Color Scale

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) developed a color scale for diamonds to help the average person better understand the true value of their purchase. This scale gives the gems a grade from D to Z. Gemologists determine the grade by examining a loose diamond with controlled lighting and using a 10X loupe. The stone is then compared to a master set with precise color values.

On this scale, D is considered perfectly colorless. D stones are pure with no hue and has the highest appraisal. Z is given to diamonds that have a more noticeable yellow or brown hue throughout.

Diamonds Graded K-Z – Light Color

Stones that are given a K grade or lower have a noticeable warm color. They tend toward yellow or brown hues and are considered to be of low quality. Most reputable jewelers will not use diamonds with these low grades.

Diamonds Graded G, H, I, J – Nearly Colorless

Stones in these grade categories have a slightly warm, yellow tinge that is only visible when compared directly to a higher-grade diamond. They are continued to be average to good quality diamonds.

Diamonds Graded E, F – Colorless

Stones that are determined by a gemologist to have E and F grades are very white. These high-rated diamonds are more rare and are considered to be of excellent quality.

Diamonds Graded D – Absolutely Colorless

Stones which earn a D grade are the most rare. They have the best color grade, and therefore, are considered extremely valuable.

Fancy Color Diamonds

Real fancy colored diamonds aren’t graded according to this scale used by the GIA. Naturally colored stones which have pink or blue hue, for example, are graded according to separate scales.

Diamond Jewelry Design

A few factors affect how noticeable the hue of your diamond is; this is when the jewelry design becomes very important in enhancing the look of your stone. Buying fine diamonds is an investment, that’s why you want to be sure that you understand how the color of the stone influences the value of the jewelry.


The color of a diamond becomes more apparent as the size of the stone increases in terms of carat weight. For this reason, it’s preferable that larger diamonds also be relatively colorless. We recommend that diamonds greater than 1 carat have a color grade of H or higher.


A diamond’s color is also more noticeable, even by an untrained eye, when it is mounted on a ring or other jewelry with a contrasting hue. Our expert jewelry designers recommend that stones with a G grade or lower have a yellow gold setting. By pairing them with a metal that has similar hues, it helps neutralize the warm color of the diamonds.

For the best visual impact, stones with an E grade or higher look great mounted on white gold or platinum. Using yellow gold isn’t advisable with these nearly colorless stones. This is because the warm color can be reflected by the diamond and actually make it appear to be of a lesser quality.


Experienced jewelry designers know that the cut of the stone can improve the look of a diamond. If the stone has a warmer color grade, a round or princess cut can help make the hue less apparent because the facets reflect more light. On the other hand, emerald or marquise shapes are great at showing off colorless diamonds.


When purchasing diamond jewelry, most buyers are looking for the perfect point between price and quality. To get the best value stone, we recommend selecting from those in the J to G color grade categories. These diamonds are not so rare or near perfect that they are extremely expensive, yet they are still considered to be good quality stones. You and your friends won’t be able to see the warm hues of the diamond and smart jewelry design will ensure the best visual result.

Learn More About Diamond Selection

Talk to the experts at Janvier Jewelers about how to select the best quality diamond for your budget. We are glad to help guide customers in choosing fine jewelry of all kinds.
Visit the Janvier Jewelers store in Newark, Delaware to see our wide selection of engagement rings and diamond jewelry, or call (302) 565-4861.