The 4 C’s: Color

The term ‘color’ in grading diamonds actually references their lack of color. Generally speaking, the less color a natural diamond has, the more valuable it is.

The color grading system for the Gemological Institute of America, which is considered the standard, starts with the letter D and ends with Z. D is considered the best color. There is a master set of stones that loose diamonds are compared to and graded based on which they match best:

  • D-F = Colorless. These stones have no appearance of color, no matter what metal they’re set in. Colorless stones are rare, and their price always reflects that.
  • G-J = Near Colorless. These diamonds have very little color. Interestingly, when mounted in jewelry, these diamonds will usually appear colorless.
  • K-M = Faint Color. These diamonds may have visible color, although slight. Smaller diamonds, less than approximately 0.50 carat, may appear colorless or near colorless when in jewelry. In a larger diamond, a little color may be discerned.
  • N-R = Very Light Color. The color is seen more easily as the grades move down the scale, giving more of a yellow or brown glow.
  • S-Z = Light Color. The diamonds in this range will have a visible hue or tone of light yellow or light brown. If you are looking for a diamond that looks warmer, this might be the range for you!

Fancy color diamonds, such as yellow, are not measured on this scale. Fancy color diamonds are either yellow or brown diamonds that have more color than a Z master stone, or they exhibit a color other than yellow or brown.

With so many different options for color in a diamond, there’s something for everyone! Let us know in the comments which color grade you prefer!