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Diamond Color

Learn about color, an important characteristic to consider when choosing a diamond.

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What Is Diamond Color?

Color refers to the natural color or lack of color visible within a diamond, based on the GIA grade scale. Brilliant Earth only carries diamonds within the “colorless” and “near colorless” range. The closer a diamond is to “colorless,” the rarer it is. Diamond color is a measurement of rarity, not quality, and having color in a diamond is not necessarily a negative attribute. Color in diamonds are caused by different trace elements present while the diamond is being formed. Most diamonds come out of the ground in slight shades of yellow, brown or grey, and the color scale encompasses them all. The color seen in gems is the result of three different components: hue, tone, and saturation. Diamond hue refers to the basic impression of color, whether that is yellow, brown, gray, pink or another color. Tone refers to the relative lightness or darkness of color, and saturation is the term used to describe the strength, purity, and intensity of the hue. Colorless or near colorless diamonds will rarely exhibit vivid saturation.

What Is The International Color Scale?

The International Color Scale created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the standardized language for discussing diamond color. The world’s foremost in gemology, the GIA created the standardized scale for color and clarity that we use today. They use a jury system for evaluating each and every gem in which every stone is evaluated by at least 5 gemologists who must give a unanimous grade for the gem in order for it to receive GIA certification. The full color scale ranges from D through Z, with D grade diamonds appearing icy white and Z diamonds featuring a pale yellow hue.

International Color Scale

Diamond Color Chart

At Brilliant Earth, we only carry colorless and near colorless D through J diamonds. While colorless diamonds are rare and exquisite when set against lustrous white gold or platinum, nearly colorless diamonds are also a brilliant choice and can offer a great value.

d Absolutely colorless or icy white. The highest color grade—extremely rare and most expensive.
e Colorless. Only miniscule traces of color can be detected by an expert gemologist—a rare, high quality diamond.
f Colorless. Slight color detected by an expert gemologist, but still considered a “colorless” grade—a high-quality diamond.
g Near-colorless. Color noticeable when compared to diamonds of better grades, but offers excellent value.
h Near-colorless. Color noticeable when compared to diamonds of better grades, but offers excellent value.
i Near-colorless. Slightly detected color—a good value.
j Near-colorless. Slightly detected color—a good value.

Diamond Color Scale

Yellow, pink, and blue diamond rings

What are Fancy-Colored Diamonds?

Fancy colored diamonds are diamonds that exhibit color outside of the normal color range. Colors in diamonds are caused by different trace elements present while the diamond is being formed. Diamonds come in every color of the rainbow, but colors outside of fancy yellow, brown, gray, or pink diamonds are very rare and can be more expensive than white diamonds of similar carat weight and quality. Our lab created colored diamonds offer the high quality and brilliance of natural diamonds and require no mining, making them a beautiful and responsible choice.

White gold halo oval diamond engagement ring.

How Is Color Impacted by the 4 C’s of Diamonds?

Human eyes all see color differently. Some people will notice color in a diamond immediately, while others will never see it. For those who are not color sensitive, color may be one of the 4C’s to compromise on when budgeting for and choosing your diamond. Diamonds will reflect the colors around them, so some people prefer near colorless diamonds over colorless diamonds when choosing a yellow gold or rose gold ring setting. Diamond color is all about personal preference, so there are no wrong choices! However, diamonds with less color allow more light to pass, releasing more brilliance and fire. Similar to looking through colored glass, color in a diamond will diminish the spectrum of color, or fire, emitted by acting as a filter. A diamond with a higher color grade, i.e., one with less color, demonstrates more colorful fire.

Diamond Color FAQ
D is the highest diamond color grade and is absolutely colorless and icy. It is extremely rare and the most expensive color grade.
Diamond color refers to the natural color of the diamond and will affect how light passes through. Diamonds with less natural color will pass through more light and allow for more brilliance and fire.
Fancy-colored diamonds, diamonds with color outside the normal color range, can come in every shade of the rainbow. The most typical fancy-colored diamonds are yellow, brown, gray, and pink.
The best diamond color is a personal preference. The highest color grade is D, which is colorless and the most icy-white. For those who are not color-sensitive, color may be one of the 4C’s to compromise on in order to optimize clarity, cut, and carat weight.