The Four C’s of Diamonds: Color

Rick Terry Jewelry / Diamonds  / The Four C’s of Diamonds: Color

The Four C’s of Diamonds: Color

The diamond color scale:

  • Colorless: D, E, F
  • Near colorless: G, H, I, J
  • Faint yellow or brown: K, L, M
  • Very light yellow or brown: N, O, P, Q, R
  • Light yellow: S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z
Diamond color is all about what you can’t see

Diamonds are valued by how closely they approach colorlessness – the less color, the higher their value. (The exception to this is fancy-color diamonds, such as pinks and blues, which lie outside this color range.)

Most diamonds found in jewelry stores run from colorless to near-colorless, with slight hints of yellow or brown.

GIA’s color-grading scale for diamonds is the industry standard. The scale begins with the letter D, representing colorless, and continues with increasing presence of color to the letter Z, or near-colorless. Each letter grade has a clearly defined range of color appearance. Diamonds are color-graded by comparing them to stones of known color under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions.

Many of these color distinctions are so subtle as to be invisible to the untrained eye. But these slight differences make a very big difference in diamond quality and price.

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