Learn What Diamond Color Is and What it Means

Learn What Diamond Color Is and What it Means

Posted by Koorosh Daneshgar on May 26th 2020

Diamond Color Chart

Learn what diamond color is and what it means

One of the first questions you may ask me the moment you enter our jewelry store in Chicago is about the best color diamond. Since you are a unique person,“the best” is also unique in your choosing between all the existing stone s in Chicago. In this post, you will get the chance of knowing “the best” in diamonds for you.

What is the best color for a diamond? There are many factors involved in “the best” color of a diamond for you including your taste, the setting, the shank, the shape, and the other Cs of the diamond. Your budget is the first factor that determines the listed criteria above. However, if the best for you means the rarest and most expensive, then a D colorless one is your answer.

Although choosing the color of your engagement ring seems mostly a matter of taste and budget, several factors will affect the color of the ring. You have chosen an engagement ring for its sparkle, so the information about how diamond color and clarity affects the appearance of the stone is necessary for choosing the best color. I have dedicated the subheadings below to answer your questions about the best color for a diamond ring.

What is the Color of a Diamond?

In gemology, the diamond color refers to one of the 4 Cs of a diamond, which is the physical color of the gem's material. AGS and GIA appraise the color grade within the framework of a spectrum. The color of diamonds falls into two main categories, fancy colored stones , and colorless diamonds, each possessing their own color spectrum for appraisal.

To evaluate the color, GIA, AGS, and other laboratories put the stone upside down against the flat. By looking at the sides of a stone rather than its top view, the color is more noticeable. You probably have noticed that most of the engagement rings in the market are colorless. In other words, the most accessible and common color for diamonds has its place among the colorless spectrum. Laboratories appraise the color based on a ranged color scale, starting from the letter D and finishing in the letter Z. each of the color labels associated with a particular amount of yellow tint in the diamond color.

Fancy colors include red, pink, gray, orange, violet, blue, yellow, white, black, and green, and brown, just like different colors in a rainbow spectrum. Fancy colors are extremely rare in their natural form. Only one out of ten thousand precious stone s have one of the natural fancy colors. If you intend to buy an engagement ring with a natural fancy color diamond, you must count on a high budget. You will probably encounter some inexpensive stone s in the market with fancy colors. They are irradiated, and they do not possess the value of a naturally colored diamond coming from the earth.

Diamond Color Chart

GIA uses the diamond color chart below as its standard grading for appraisal:




Price Value

Appropriate Metal

D - F


  • The rarest category
  • Icy color

Most Expensive

Platinum and White Gold

G - J

Near Colorless

  • Tints of yellow or brown
  • The most popular and used
  • Resembling the colorless group and can be
  • better substitution with a lower price


Platinum and White Gold

K - M


  • Visible yellow color
  • Warm


Yellow Gold

N - R

Very Light

  • Very noticeable yellow and brown color

Much Less Expensive

Yellow Gold

S - Z


  • Obviously yellow or brown
  • Not very much wanted

Almost Half the Price

Yellow Gold

As you can see, the GIA diamond color grade starts with the letter D and ends in the letter Z. The reason for this choice of grading is that it was a brand new system for grading. In other words, other systems had chosen alphabet starting from A or numbers, but CIA Color Scale was such a unique innovation, which is now universally accepted as color grading.

The grades in the diamond color chart starting from D, is "absolutely colorless" and to the last alphabetic letter, which is Z, with an obvious yellow tint. Looking closely at the chart, you will notice that the design of the chart follows the expense amount. When you take your stone for appraisal to the GIA laboratory, the experts appraise it by comparing its color with an assembled set of stone s, each representing a specific color grade. If you wish to see the process in which GIA assesses the diamond color grade, watch the video. 

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What Color Grade is Best for Diamonds?

The answer to this question is “it depends”. If you have an unlimited budget, I can tell you that the best color category for diamonds is the colorless group, which is extremely rare. However, if you have a limited budget, other color grades can be as good as a higher grade with a wise color choice of the metal for both the setting and the shank.

There is a huge price difference between two colors of different grades and more importantly, two categories. That is the reason we cannot declare one “the best color” for everyone. It is indeed a fact that the highest color grade, the more radiant it is.

For example, a diamond with a D color grade reflects the light better and is more radiant. Besides, there are so many people after a higher color grade. However, the radiance your gem reflects does not depend only on stone color and clarity since the color of the metal band and the setting are also important in the way your diamond looks.

The colorless group, especially the D color, has an icier look, especially if you choose white gold or platinum for the metal band. Another key factor is the size of the stone , which indicates the amount of yellow or brown color involved. The bigger a precious stone, the more it shows that yellow or brown tint color in the stone . Furthermore, the shape of the stone is also important, for a round diamond hides the yellow color while an emerald or pear magnifies it.

However, many people are into warm colors, and they choose K/M grades, which belong to the category of “faint”. One other very important factor is the engagement ring you intend to buy, and whether it is a solitaire or something with more than one stone . the importance lies in the fact that every person seeing your diamond engagement ring, they will notice the color difference, so you have to choose the same color for both the center stone and the pavés. Briefly speaking, the matter of taste that determines “the best” for different people.

Which Color Diamond is the Most Valuable?

The D color diamond possesses the most price value. The D color, which is the first diamond color grade we encounter in the Diamond color Scale Chart, is absolutely colorless, so it is the most expensive color grade for a precious stone. The E and F grades fall into the category of “colorless”, which is the most valuable group color in the scale of GIA diamonds.

If by “the most valuable” you mean the most luxurious, glamorous, and expensive, the first color group is what you are looking for. Among the first category, the first color grade, which is the D color, is the most expensive and valuable one. In the GIA color diamond scale, the more a stone looks colorless, the more it is well-wanted.

In other words, the slight yellow or brown color involved in colorless diamonds causes the natural color light to reflect less. The faint yellow or brown tint in the colorless stone represents the involvement of nitrogen in the chemical mixture of the stone that happened hundreds of miles under the crust of the Earth.

Therefore, it is a very different color compared to a fancy yellow or brown diamond, which is even more expensive than a colorless diamond. Fancy colors, of which we can refer to pink, blue, yellow, green, orange, white, gray, brown, red, yellow, and violet, have separate scales for appraisal. Their price is high due to their rarity, for one in every ten thousand diamonds possess a natural fancy color. Therefore, when you speak about the most valuable color for a precious stone, your word is interpreted as the most expensive color grade among the colorless diamonds.

Does the Diamond Color Affect Diamond Sparkle?

The answer is negative. Color grade has a different significance in the beauty of the diamond engagement ring, which is its rarity. In fact, the main factor that affects the sparkle of a stone is its cut quality. Therefore, an engagement diamond ring with a D color is more, for it is the rarest and least colored among the colorless diamond chart.

The reason why so many people are after a higher color grade is due to its price value and rarity. It is a universal rule that the less common an object is found, the more valuable it is. Since colorless diamonds are more scarce they are highly demanded and more expensive. However, the rarest does not mean the most beautiful and sparkly. For example, a D color diamond with a good cut is by no means more sparkly and reflective than an H color diamond with an ideal cut.

Especially in the case of round brilliant shapes, the color grade does not affect much the appearance of the diamond, for this particular shape hides the yellowish color of the stone from the top. However, an excellent or ideal cut plays a significant role in the sparkle and beauty of your diamond. In addition to that, if you clean your ring as many times as you are supposed to, you will maintain its sparkle. In conclusion, if you want a beautiful and sparkly stone, save a portion of your budget by choosing a lower color grade, but be cautious about the cut quality.

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Can you Change the Color of a Diamond?

We can change the color of a diamond artificially. There are several ways to treat or enhance the color of the diamond. These methods are not all permanent, nevertheless. Therefore, if you are enchanted by a fancy color diamond, but you have also a limited budget, color treatment or color enhancement is one of your possible options.

You might be one of those ladies who adore fancy color diamonds. Fancy color diamonds are tremendously beautiful, yet they are very much rare. That is the reason even a D color diamond is less expensive than its counterpart is in a fancy color. For that reason, technology tried to find a solution for so many ladies in want of a fancy color diamond engagement ring with color treatment and color enhancement methods. These methods include:

  • Dyeing: Ink staining is one of the most popular and oldest methods. It temporarily changes the diamond.
  • Coating: you can choose the color you wish your precious stone to be with this method. It is also temporary and changes with washing and wearing.
  • HPHT: High pressure-high temperature helps you correct the color diamond by increasing or decreasing its faint brown or yellow. In other words, you can take away the yellow tint and change an M color to a G color or just accentuate the yellow or brown to make it a fancy color.
  • Irradiation: Using high energy rays, irradiation changes the color diamond into your desirable fancy color.
  • Setting: You can affect the color diamond by your choice of metal color. If you choose platinum or white gold, your near-colorless diamond looks colorless. If you choose yellow gold, your faint color diamond looks yellowish.

How Do I Make my Diamond Ring Sparkle?

The below tips will help you maintain the premier sparkle of your engagement ring:

  • Have a separate box for your diamond ring
  • Do not touch the stone while taking off and putting on the engagement ring
  • Take the ring for checking two times a year
  • Do not have it on while busy with harsh chemicals
  • Clean it four times a year

Which Clarity is the Best for Diamonds?

Although the answer to this question is complex, the rarest clarity grade is a Flawless (FL). A diamond with an FL clarity grade represents a diamond with almost no inclusions (internal flaws) and blemishes (external flaws). Since only 1% of all diamonds have flawless clarity, they are more expensive than other stones.

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Why should I come to you to design my ring?

We involve you in every step of the process. At first, we will sit next to you and go over any concerns you have and any specific design elements you mind the ring to have. Once we have established exactly how you want the ring looks like, we will proceed with the design process. Once you see this design, if you want to make any change or if you have any questions or concerns we will be happy to address them for you. Our role is to help you to create the perfect ring and that means we will listen to you and make sure that your ring is indeed one of a kind.

We'll help you to design your dream engagement ring without stress and spending countless hours searching for your perfect ring. All you need to do is click on "Free Consultation" to get started.

Koorosh Daneshgar. Founder of Wedding Bands and Co.

By: Koorosh Daneshgar CEO/Design Chief