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Diamond colour explained

Diamond colour

The diamond colour has a big impact on its appearance. Due to the many prismatic facets a colourless diamond will have much more "fire" ( will reflect more light ) . If colour is present in the diamond this ability to reflect light will be reduced.

This is the main reason why the most valuable diamonds have little to no detectable colour.

Find below our tips to select the best colours for your budget

Colour grading

Diamond are graded under very precise viewing conditions and often compared to diamond of a known color grade to ensure very few differences within a color grade.

A diamond absent of color is grade ‘D’ and the more color that is present in the diamond, the further along the alphabet it’s grade travels. Diamond with grade ‘Z’ will have a light yellow or brown tint, and therefore will not reflect light as well as a colorless diamond.

Fancy colored diamond, although most are irradiated and color enhanced, do not follow this grading scale, and often are more valuable because when naturally colored they are extremely rare. The most common color grades are G through I, as they are more abundant in nature, and much more affordable.

Although diamonds of these grades does have a hint of color, it generally isn’t visible to the naked and untrained eye.

Likewise, diamond graded J through M may have a very faint hue of yellow, but with the right jewelry piece and diamond cut, the color may look less obvious (although it barely is to begin with). White gold or platinum settings usually require higher grade color diamond, whereas a yellow gold setting takes away from the yellow tint of a lower grade diamond.

Most jewelers use the GIA Diamond Color Grading Scale, and it’s recommended for customers to do the same to better understand the subtle differences in color a diamond may have, and to better assess the quality and value of a diamond.

Diamond colour chart

The diamond colour scale begins at D (colourless) and ends at Z (light yellow)

D and E Colours are considered 'Exceptional White + ( D) and Exceptional White ( E). To the naked eye, any colour above (I ) Colour can be considered Colourless. I and J Colours carry a slight trace of colour ( generally a slight yellowish tint ).

Any colour below J has a Clear trace of colour ( a non negligible yellow tint ).

It is imperative to have comparison brilliants in order to grade colours visually. It is important to have the low ( or high ) end of each colour, in order to match the diamond in question to its right colour. It is also important to compare diamonds under 'white light' and against white background, in order to be accurate.

Diamond color chart

D coloured diamonds are the rarest and totally colourless. Also the most valuable ( expensive ).

E coloured diamonds are jut slightly lower than D. Almost colourless, pretty much non-distinguishable from D in broad daylight.

F is the whitest of colours which contains a very slight tint of yellow. Again not noticeable to the untrained eye. Still a premium colour at a discounted price when compared to D or E.

G is considered Top White. Does have a tint. A perfect compromise and very popular choice. 

H is the last of the White colours. Not detectable to the naked eye, but will be noticed when compared to the higher colours. Commercial white is its common name.

I is Tinted White. Much less rare and inexpensive than the Whites. Will not put a dent in your wallet.

All ratings below I  are considered Yellowish.

Diamond colour : our advice to select a quality diamond

Compared to other shapes , brilliant round-cut diamonds appear brighter due to greater light reflection.

If you prefer a colourless diamond you should choose a stone in the D-F range with fluorescence rating of none or faint.

Near colourless diamonds with a rating between G and J provide excellent values as their colour is undetectable for the untrained eye. These diamonds are perfect to set in a platinum or white gold metals.

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Learn how to save money with our diamond buying guide at the bottom of this page

Diamond fluorescence

Fluorescence, the effect ultraviolet (UV) light has on a diamond, is an important consideration when selecting a diamond. When UV light strikes a diamond with fluorescent properties, the stone emits a glow (usually blue) ranging from very faint to quite strong.

Diamond colour : a GIA education video

Further diamond education

Our diamond education pages help you to understand the 4 C's of diamond quality so yo can choose your next diamond wisely.

Learn more about : the 4 C's of diamond quality - The different diamond shapes - Diamond certification

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