A Comparison of Different Diamond Color Grades and Their Impact on Value

What is the color of a high-quality diamond? Diamonds with a high color grade are actually colorless. Colorless diamonds are considered to be the highest value, and diamonds that have yellowish or brownish tints are considered to be of lower value. So while you’re shopping for a diamond, you’ll want to consider the color grade as it affects the diamond’s appearance, value, and price.

How do you know what color grade is right for you? Picking out the right color grade for your ring can be confusing. We’ll go over what diamond color is, the grading scale, and helpful tips for choosing the best color for your budget and ring.

What Is Diamond Color?

When talking about color in the context of diamonds, the scale is actually measuring the lack of color in a diamond. Why are colorless diamonds valued higher than diamonds with color? Translucent diamonds are able to reflect light better. The lack of color can return a rainbow of colors back to the viewer, which is a beautiful and highly desired trait of diamonds.

However, completely colorless diamonds are incredibly rare. At the “D” grade (the highest rating), you won’t find hardly any diamonds that meet this criterion. Most diamonds have some degree of color present.

What Is the Color Grading Scale?

Gemologists use a color-grading scale that ranges from the letter “D” (highest) to “Z” (lowest). They only use their eyes as tools and compare diamonds to established grades in order to place them on the scale.

  • D-F (Colorless): With this range, you can expect the most value. These grades indicate a colorless diamond. These rare diamonds will appear to have absolutely no color in all lighting situations.
  • G-J (Near colorless): These diamonds have very little noticeable color, if at all.
  • K-M (Faint): With this grade, diamonds may have slight visible color. However, if you opt for a smaller diamond, this color will not be noticeable. Larger diamonds will show the color more distinctly.
  • N-R (Very Light Color): The color is more noticeable than in the previous category.
  • S-Z (Light): The diamonds in this grade will have visible color. You may notice shades of warm yellow or brown.
  • Fancy Yellow diamonds: These diamonds are vivid shades of yellow that are popular and expensive.

What Is the Difference Between the Color of White Diamonds and Fancy Colored Diamonds?

Though white diamonds are graded based on their lack of color, fancy-colored diamonds are a bit different than regular diamonds. You may be wondering why diamond color is sometimes a good thing. Fancy-colored natural diamonds are rare and, therefore, expensive. They are different than white-colored diamonds with a tinge of yellow. Their appearance can range from vivid colors like yellow, green, blue, purple, red, etc. In the case of fancy-colored diamonds, they will not be graded based on how colorless they are.

How Do You Choose Between Different Color Grades?

Diamond color is an important factor to consider when choosing a ring. But with so many options in the color grading system, it can be challenging to figure out which color grade is right for you. Should you go for the highest color grade available when you’re on a budget? Should you prioritize other elements of the diamond instead, like cut or carat?

High color grades mean that a diamond will be expensive. However, color can visibly alter a diamond’s appearance, so it’s important to go with high-quality color grades.  If you’re on a budget but still want a beautiful ring with great fire and brilliance, considering other factors like the size and shape of the diamond or the best cut can help you save money without sacrificing the diamond’s appearance.

If you want a high-quality diamond ring, then prioritizing the 4Cs can help you stay within budget and get an incredibly beautiful diamond. Going with a smaller-sized diamond can work with lower color grades, which can save you a bit of money.

In addition to size, choosing the shape of the diamond can also affect the color. Step facets like the emerald, baguette, or Asscher cuts require a high clarity grade because color tends to be more visibly noticeable. In contrast, good-cut brilliant round diamonds can have lower color grades without much difference in the appearance of the diamond. So for certain shapes of diamonds, it may be more beneficial to go with a higher cut grade and opt for lower color grades to save money.

You should also consider the setting of your ring. A white gold, silver, or platinum setting will look best when paired with a near-colorless diamond. For diamonds with a hint of yellow or brown, however, yellow gold will look best, as the warm colors will complement each other. A white gold setting, when paired with a noticeably yellow diamond, will emphasize the yellow color of the diamond.

Overall, diamond color is an important aspect to consider when picking out a diamond. Color can significantly impact the price and visible appearance of a diamond, which is why it’s important to understand the grading scale. As you shop for a diamond that fits your budget and preferences, it’s helpful to remember the ways color can impact a diamond’s appearance. Certain shapes, sizes, and settings can emphasize color, so you’ll need to think carefully about how the diamond will look as a finished ring. We offer premium diamond color that ranges from very light to colorless. If you’re looking for an amazing diamond, check out all of the different options available that can fit varying needs and ring styles.