Diamond Colour: Grade Chart and Buying Tips | Blue Nile
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Diamond Colour

After diamond cut, diamond colour is the second most important characteristic to consider when choosing a diamond. The highest quality diamonds are colourless, while those of lower quality have noticeable colour, which manifests as pale yellow in diamonds.

The Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) grades diamond colour on a scale of D (colourless) to Z (light yellow or brown). D-Z diamonds are also known as white diamonds, even though most diamonds, including H colour diamonds and G colour diamonds, have varying amounts of colour.

Diamond Colours According to the Diamond Colour Chart

The GIA diamond colour scale is the leading industry standard of diamond colour grading. Before this was the standard, other colour grading scales used A, B and C, so GIA started their scale at D to avoid confusion.

There are six categories on the GIA diamond chart, with colour grades that range from absolutely colourless to light in colour. Diamonds rated D are the most devoid of colour and very rare, whereas G colour diamonds and H colour diamonds are near colourless, and since they’re priced lower they are excellent value diamonds. The more you move down the colour chart, the lower the colour grade is, and the more noticeable the light yellow hue becomes.
D Diamond Example
K-Z
J
I
H
G
F
E
D

D Colour Diamonds (Absolutely Colourless)

D colour diamond is the highest grade and is extremely rare—the highest colour grade that money can buy. Eight percent of customers choose a D colour diamond.
See D Graded Diamonds

Diamond Colour Buying Tips

If you're looking to buy fine diamond jewellery such as an engagement ring, it's important to understand how diamond colour affects price. Here are a few buying tips and things to know about diamond colour.

Diamond Colour is The Second Most Important Factor

When it comes to diamonds, less colour means higher quality. While brilliance is the first thing you notice about a diamond, colour is the second. The higher the colour grade, the less colour there is, and the more expensive it will be.

Near Colourless Diamonds are the Best Value

For the best value, choose G-J diamond colour grades in the Near Colourless category. With these diamonds, the naked eye can’t discern any colour. The visible difference between diamonds of one colour grade (G-H or I-J) is so minor it's difficult to detect with the unaided eye, but the cost savings can be significant. Keep this in mind when choosing your diamond colour grade.

In general, to avoid a pale yellow colour, choose a diamond grade H or higher. For the purist, look for a D to F grade colourless diamond, which will have no discernible colour under magnification.

Diamond Shape, Size and Ring Metals Matter

Diamond shape, size and your ring’s metal setting can visually impact diamond colour.

Ring Setting — Pairing diamonds with similar toned metals can neutralize colour in the diamond. Consider setting higher colour grade diamonds like Near Colourless diamonds (G-J) in yellow gold and Colourless diamonds (D-F) in white gold or platinum. A gold setting may show through a colourless diamond.

Diamond Shape — Some diamond shapes may show or mask colour to varying degrees. For example, brilliant-cut shapes such as round and princess reflect more light, which means more colour is masked. Step-cut diamonds (emerald and Asscher cuts) may show more colour because they are cut with fewer facets, resulting in bigger "windows" through which to see the colour.
Fancy shaped diamonds, like pear and marquise may also show slightly more concentrated colour at their points.

Diamond Size — Colour is easier to see in larger diamonds. If you want a diamond above 1 carat, choose a G or H coloured diamond. I-J colour diamonds are best when just under a carat.

Shop Blue Nile Diamonds by Colour Grade

Blue Nile offers only Colourless and Near-Colourless diamonds to assure that any natural colour present is typically undetectable to the naked eye. We offer:

  Colourless Diamonds   Near Colourless Diamonds

White Diamonds vs. Coloured Diamonds

When is colour a good thing? When it refers to the rainbow spectrum of colours – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink, purple, and more – that diamonds come in. These are known as Coloured Diamonds. Only one in every 10,000 diamonds possess natural colour, and the more intense the colour, the more rare and valuable the diamond. Coloured Diamonds are graded on a separate diamond colour scale and can be even more valuable than white diamonds.
  Learn More about Coloured Diamonds

Next: Diamond Clarity

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