The second of the Four Cs: Color

High-grade diamonds aren’t really colorless, or what is often called ‘white’. However, ‘colorless’ is the standard of optimal whiteness that is used to grade color, according to the set of guidelines devised by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). A totally colorless diamond allows white light to pass effortlessly through it, so that it can be reflected as rainbows of color.

Only loose stones can be graded. Diamonds that have already been set or mounted cannot be accurately color graded, because the metal colors may affect the color of the diamond.

The GIA grades diamonds as follows:

D, E, F – exceptionally white

G, H – rare white

I, J – nearly colorless

Most diamonds usually have tinges of brown and yellow and are graded lower down the scale, as follows:

K, L, M, N – Yellow tinge

O, P, Q, R, S – Very light yellow

T, U, V, W, X, Y – light yellow or with a brown tinge

The Z grade is reserved for rare fancy colored diamonds. These include pink, purple, blue, and intense yellow stones (also called yellow or ‘canary’ diamonds), which are very rare and extremely valuable.

Useful tip

Although a diamond's color grade affects its price, it isn't the most important of the Four Cs to consider before you purchase a diamond. If your pockets aren’t deep enough for a D to F-graded diamond, you can still own a beautiful diamond with fire and sparkle.

Color grading is only one of the Four Cs that you should evaluate before you buy a diamond. We recommend that you take some time to understand more diamond basics before you start shopping.

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