Diamond Color

Diamonds with different colors
Photo: Dmitry / Adobe Stock
At this point, there’s only one of the Cs left to discover; color. You know just as much as us about carat, cut, and clarity, and now we need to complete the set. Which is the best color? Which has the best value? How does the color scale work? Should you stick with a white diamond or get one with a fancy color? By the end, you should have all the answers!

What is the Best Color for Diamonds?

Thanks to the GIA’s color scale, which has become the industry standard, we know that the very best color is called Absolutely Colorless (D). Much like the Flawless group for clarity, it’s extremely rare for a diamond to qualify as Absolutely Colorless. With this in mind, only 8% of all diamond transactions involve a D diamond.

Which Color is the Best Value?

Again, we’re going to refer to the similarities with clarity here because the best value doesn’t come from the highest grade. While D diamonds might have the best quality and color, we believe the best value to sit at G/H. As we’re going to see, this the fourth and fifth color in the scale. They both have a slight warmth, but it’s hard to detect by anyone other than experts who know what they’re looking for (and when sat alongside a diamond with a higher color grade).

In the current market, around 18% buy G diamonds and 15% choose H diamonds – both of which are classed as Near Colorless. Once you move below H, the warmth and yellow tinge are more noticeable when compared with diamonds higher up the scale.

Diamond Color Scale

With the color scale for diamonds, it starts at D and then ends at L-Z. If you’re in the market for a diamond, you now understand which color has the best value, but you need more information because you’re likely to find all categories online and in jewelers.

Colorless

  • D (Absolutely Colorless) – Considered the best grade around, these diamonds will be completely colorless. Due to the rarity and the price, less than 10% of people actually get a D diamond when purchasing.
  • E (Colorless) – With E diamonds, we’re still in the rare section of the market and the untrained eye won’t see a difference between these first two options. Instead, we leave it to the professionals to spot differences and categorize them appropriately.
  • F (Colorless) – The same can be said for F diamonds, and we find D-F diamonds to be great partners for platinum or white gold settings.

Nearly Colorless

  • G (Nearly Colorless) – Now, we reach that special middle ground between appearance and budget, and it’s a middle group we discovered with clarity too. There’s a slight warmth to the tone, but it’s only possible to tell when placed alongside a higher-grade diamond.
  • H (Nearly Colorless) – With H, only trained experts will tell it apart from G diamonds and it’s often explained as a faint yellow tint.
  • I (Nearly Colorless) – Sometimes, I diamonds still have tremendous value, but there’s a difference when placed alongside G/H diamonds. When paired with yellow gold, the diamond will shine brightly.
  • J (Nearly Colorless) – Similar to I diamonds, J is perfect for yellow gold and will show a difference compared to those higher up the scale.

Other colors

  • K (Faint) – In our experience, K diamonds should only be chosen when found in a higher carat weight. The color is now faint, but this isn’t to say it would be easy to identify a K diamond compared to a J diamond.
  • L-Z (Faint to Light Color) – From L, we fall all the way down to Z. At this point, you can pick up a warm tint even without magnification and comparison. With many jewelers, they won’t even stock diamonds with L-Z coloring. Also, we should note that G diamonds are around twice the price of L diamonds.

White Diamonds vs Fancy Colored Diamonds

In truth, whether you choose a white or colored diamond normally comes down to personal preference. In case you didn’t know, there are all sorts of naturally colored diamonds including pink, purple, red, orange, blue, and yellow. It’s thought that 1 in 10,000 is colored, and the rare diamonds will have intense coloring.

In terms of grading, colored diamonds actually have a different grading scale. In many cases, due to the rarity, they’re more costly than white and colorless diamonds!

This is the 4 Cs all wrapped up, so now you’re ready to buy a diamond ring for the one you love!