Diamond Carat with Loupe and Gia Certificate | Lisa Robin



Diamond color is graded using a scale from D (colorless) to Z (slightly colored). Find out which color grades to choose and which to avoid, with the help of a diamond color grade chart.


What is Diamond Color?

Understanding what diamond color means is very helpful when evaluating and selecting a diamond. Most diamonds used in engagement rings are near-colorless, with hints of yellow or brown. The more colorless a diamond is, the rarer it is, and its price will reflect this rarity.

There are two categories for diamonds; 'colorless' or 'fancy colored.' Colorless diamonds are graded from D, completely colorless, to Z, tinted light yellow-brown. Fancy colored diamonds, like blue and pink diamonds, are not graded on a color scale like colorless diamonds are.

The color is an important factor in the diamond quality. When we evaluate most gem-quality diamonds, they are actually evaluated based on the absence of color. When chemically and structurally perfect, a diamond has no hue and is more valuable. Under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions, the D-to-Z diamond color-grading system compares a stone's colorlessness to master stones to establish a color grade.

When considering a diamond, colorless (D-F) or near colorless (G-J) are most desirable for engagement rings.

Although many of these diamond color distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye, they significantly differ in diamond quality and affect the diamond price.

4C's Diamond Color Chart | Lisa Robin
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Fancy Diamonds

Colored diamonds can fetch millions at auction due to their rarity, which affects the price. A fancy-color diamond is, for the most part, far rare than a diamond in the D-to-Z color range. Only two percent of all rough diamonds produced are fancy colored, according to some experts.

Color is arguably the most impactful factor in colored diamonds, referred to as fancy diamonds. Diamonds can be yellow, brown, pink, red, blue, orange, purple, green, gray, or black. Diamonds in the normal color range that are slightly yellowish, slightly brownish, or slightly grayish are not considered fancy diamonds.  

Colored diamonds are graded differently from colorless diamonds by the GIA. In contrast to GIA's D-to-Z grading system for colorless to light yellow diamonds, which grades diamonds based on their absence of color when viewed table down, colored diamonds are graded based on their presence of color when viewed face up. Terms used by certifying laboratories to describe colored diamonds include Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Dark, Fancy Intense, Fancy Deep, and Fancy Vivid.

Fancy colored diamond chart | Lisa Robin
What should you look for in a fancy diamond?

A colored diamond is more valuable when it has more color. For instance, Fancy Deep and Fancy Vivid diamonds have more color and are usually more valuable than Fancy Light diamonds. The tone of a diamond is also important: For example, a dark diamond may be less desirable than a lighter stone graded Fancy Intense.

Rustic Diamonds

Rustic diamonds are diamonds featuring an abundance of inclusions. Inclusions are small characteristics internal or external to the diamond gemstone that are caused by extreme heat and pressure while forming deep within the earth. The inclusions determine the characteristics and colors of rustic diamonds.

The reddish tones are usually iron inclusions although truly red diamonds take their color from a defect in their growth structure bending light to appear red. Yellow most commonly comes from Nitrogen in the diamond. Blues and grey without inclusions are from Boron, and greens are usually a natural irradiation deep inside the Earth. Each rustic diamond has a unique, one-of-a-kind pattern and look.

Alternative Diamond Engagement Rings?

Interested in colored or rustic diamond engagement rings?



In the past, there was no clear standard to define diamond color before the Gemological Institute of America or GIA developed its D-to-Z Color Grading Scale. Different systems were used, including A, B, and C (used without clear definitions), Arabic (0, 1, 2, 3) and Roman (I, II, III) numbers, as well as terms like "gem blue" or "blue white," which were easy to misinterpret. To avoid any association with earlier systems, the creators of the GIA Color Scale created a new system from scratch. As a result,
the GIA scale begins with the letter D. No other grading system has the clarity and universal acceptance of the GIA scale.


No. A fancy-color diamond is a naturally colored diamond that does not fall within the normal color range. Although the Federal Trade Commission doesn't provide guidelines for using the term "fancy color" in the US, there is general agreement about what diamond color range is customary for fancy-color diamonds internationally. A yellow or brown diamond with more color than a Z master stone or a diamond with a different color from yellow or brown is considered a fancy color diamond.

Are Rustic Diamonds as durable as clear diamonds?

Diamonds with rustic characteristics are as resistant to scratches as diamonds with clear or white characteristics. The inclusions, however, may cause some rustic diamonds to have more internal weakness if they are not polished properly. 

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