Updated: Feb 6, 2022
Here's what you need to know about the color of a diamond...
What Does The Color Of A Diamond Represent?
The color evaluation of most gem-quality diamonds is based on the absence of color.
When jewelers speak of a diamond's color, they are usually referring to the presence or absence of color in white diamonds. Color is a result of the composition of the diamond, and it never changes over time.
Because a colorless diamond, like a clear window, allows more light to pass through it than a colored diamond, colorless diamonds emit more sparkle and fire. The formation process of a diamond ensures that only a few, rare diamonds are truly colorless. Thus the whiter a diamond's color, the greater its value.
A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, and consequently, a higher value. The Color Grading System measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a stone, under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions. Many of these color distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye; however, these distinctions make a very big difference in diamond quality and price.
NOTE: Fancy color diamonds do not follow this rule. These diamonds, which are very rare and very expensive, can be any color from blue to green to bright yellow. They are actually more valuable for their color.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What color grade is the best?
A: For the purist, look for a colorless diamond with a grade of D-F and a fluorescence rating of faint, inert, none, or negligible.
For an excellent value in a diamond with no noticeable color to the unaided eye, look for a near-colorless grade of G-I, and a fluorescence grade of medium or strong blue.
Or, if you'd rather not compromise on color but would like to stay on budget, choose a diamond with a good cut, SI1–SI2 clarity, and consider going with a strong fluorescence. It will still be beautiful to the unaided eye and you may prefer the unique effect of a strong fluorescence.
Q: Why does the GIA Color Grading System start at D?
A: Before GIA established the D-to-Z Color Grading Scale, a variety of other systems were used loosely, from A, B, and C (used without clear definition), to Arabic (0.1.2.3) and Roman (I, II, III) numbers, to descriptive terms like "gem blue" or "blue white," which are notorious for misinterpretation.
So, the creators of the GIA Color Scale wanted to start fresh, without any association with earlier systems. Thus, the GIA scale starts at the letter D. Very few people still cling to other grading systems, and no other system has the clarity and universal acceptance of the GIA scale.
Q: How is diamond color evaluated?
A: Light source and background can have a significant impact on a diamond's appearance, so grades color in a standardized viewing environment against color masters.
Depending on the agreement of these grades and the weight and quality of the diamond, Additional graders may enter their own color opinions. The grade is not determined until there is sufficient consensus.