Diamond Color Scale

What are the ranges of diamond color, and what do they mean? Here's what you need to know about the IGI diamond color scale.

D
D  COLOR

Absolutely colorless or icy white. The highest color grade—extremely rare and most expensive.

While there are differences in color between D, E, and F diamonds, they can be detected only by a gemologist in side by side comparisons, and rarely by the untrained eye.

D-F diamonds should only be set in white gold / platinum. Yellow gold reflects color, negating the diamond's colorless effect.

E COLOR

Colorless. Only miniscule traces of color can be detected by an expert gemologist—a rare, high quality diamond.

While there are differences in color between D, E, and F diamonds, they can be detected only by a gemologist in side by side comparisons, and rarely by the untrained eye.

D-F diamonds should only be set in white gold / platinum. Yellow gold reflects color, negating the diamond's colorless effect.

E
F
F COLOR

Colorless. Slight color detected by an expert gemologist, but still considered a “colorless” grade—a high-quality diamond.

While there are differences in color between D, E, and F diamonds, they can be detected only by a gemologist in side by side comparisons, and rarely by the untrained eye.

D-F diamonds should only be set in white gold / platinum. Yellow gold reflects color, negating the diamond's colorless effect.

G COLOR

Near-colorless. Color noticeable when compared to diamonds of better grades, but offers excellent value.

While containing traces of color, G-H diamonds are suitable for a platinum or white gold setting, which would normally betray any hint of color in a diamond.

G

Faintly Colored Grades

Faintly colored diamond grades are between K and M. These have a subtle yellow hue, which is popular with people who like yellow. Faintly colored diamonds are less expensive than colorless and nearly colorless diamonds. The popularity of faintly colored diamonds is growing as customers like the subtle, unexpected color with the hardness and durability of diamonds.

  • K Color

  • L Color

  • M Color

Should keep in mind regarding the color of a diamond

  1. It isn’t easy to assess color after the diamond is set on a piece of jewelry because the color is influenced by the color of the jewelry, compared to that in common light settings.

  2. Color plays a greater visible factor in large diamonds or diamonds with large carat weight. This is one of the reasons small diamonds are a more preferred choice than large ones. 

  3. The Cut of a diamond is very important in determining its color. In a well-cut diamond, light passes through it and reflects on shorter ray-paths with greater intensity, making the diamond appear less colored. On the other hand, if the diamond cut is shallow or deep, the light rays become concentrated at the bottom, giving it an exaggerated look from the top. 

  4. As mentioned earlier, the color difference is minuscule that it is almost invisible for an unaided eye. So, resorting to a lesser grade would not make a very huge difference in the overall appearance but will surely make a difference in the budget. Grade Subgrade/Description D, E, and F Colorless G, H, I, and J Near Colorless K, L, and M Faint Yellow N, O, P, Q, and R Very Light Yellow S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z Light Yellow 

  5. Finally, yellow diamonds are no less of diamonds so if you have a piece of jewelry like a necklace or a right which really contrasts or goes well with yellow more than white, you should definitely choose it over the other.