Diamond Color: Understanding What It Is and What It Means

A diamond’s color is about more than just the hue—there’s a grading system. But what is a G-color diamond? You won’t learn about diamond colors, hues, or shades in an art class. So what are they, exactly?

Both the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS) have ranking systems for diamond color. There’s some overlap, but the GIA uses letters D through Z, while the AGS uses a scale of 1 through 10. The AGS scale’s 0 to 1 rankings are similar to the GIA’s D through F grades, with these rankings and grades representing completely colorless diamonds.

However, there’s more to color grade than this—in fact, it’s quite complex! Two diamonds could receive the same a G grade but appear completely different!

What Is Diamond Color?

Everyone loves a beautiful diamond. Many brides want their definition of a perfect gem. They want one that shines dazzlingly anytime the light reflects off it. The problem is, there’s a misconception about the diamond color scale. So when you go into a jewelry shop, you can’t just request a G-grade diamond and expect perfect results.

The Color Scale

When you talk about the 4 Cs (color, clarity, cut, and carat), “color” doesn’t refer to a color itself— there’s no such thing as a G-colored car, for example. When you talk about diamond color and understand what it is and what it means, the letter refers to a grading system. In fact, sometimes, the color difference is so subtle, the average consumer may not notice it.

As we mentioned, the GIA uses letters D to Z to measure color. The letter grade refers to the amount of color, or the degree of shade, rather than to the color itself. The rankings on GIA’s color scale and their meanings are:

To some people, a D grade represents the ideal diamond because, according to the grading chart, it has the least amount of color in it. Of course, due to this, these diamonds are also unaffordable for many people. Many jewelers recommend buying a G-grade diamond since it’s beautiful and affordable.

Each subsequent letter represents more body of color until you get to Z. A Z grade is the lowest, as the diamond has the most body of color. Typically, this is undesirable, since most brides don’t want a yellow or brown diamond.

The Color Range

Interestingly, each grade or letter represents a range rather than a specific measurement. In other words, two diamonds could receive a G grade but look very different. This is because there are high G, middle G, and low G.

A high-G diamond is entirely different than a low-G diamond—there’s a full grade between the two. The difference between a high and low G is as much of one as that between a high G and high H.

Why Is Diamond Color Important?

So why is hue important? How does it affect the color grade of a diamond? In truth, hue matters quite a bit because it affects the stone’s sparkle. Most everyone wants a gem with beautiful brilliance that dazzles. A diamond with a yellow tint will appear brighter than one with darker hues of gray, green, or brown. This is one of the many surprising truths about diamond color.

What Are Fancy Color Diamonds?

When we think of diamonds, we think of the typical colorless diamond. However, a diamond may have color and still receive a good ranking. Diamonds outside the normal color range are known as fancy color diamonds. They come in beautiful deep blues, reds, and every other color!

Fancy color diamonds are unlike the typical colorless diamond in various ways. Perhaps the most important aspect is that the more color a fancy color diamond has, the better it ranks. Contrarily, the less body of color a normal diamond has, the higher it ranks.

If you’re shopping for a fancy color diamond, you want it to have more saturation or body color. For example, one of the most famous diamonds in the world, known as the Hope Diamond, is a beautiful deep blue.

Hue Is Important

As you learn about diamond color and begin to understand what it is and what it means, know that hue is important to both colored and normal-range diamonds. Diamonds with hues of yellow rank higher than those with darker hues. But why is this? Diamond with darker hues typically suffers from poor transparency than those with lighter hues, such as shades of yellow. Often, diamonds with hues of green, gray, or brown appear “sleepy” compared to those with brighter hues.

This is also the case when it comes to fancy color diamonds. Lively yellow diamonds have much better transparency than chocolate brown diamonds. A diamond with more transparency pops and sparkles more than one that does not.

Buying a diamond is a long yet important process. Understanding color allows you to pick the perfect gemstone. Color grade isn’t as simple as a letter, and there’s a range to each letter grade. High G and low G diamonds have as much difference between them as high G and high H diamonds. Any two diamonds could have the same color grade but appear completely different because of this range and hues. Diamonds with brighter hues have more transparency, and they therefore pop and sparkle more than those with darker hues. The color of a fancy color diamond gets listed on its grading, but only the amount of color is listed for normal-range diamonds.

Because of their colors, hues, or grades, no two diamonds are the same. These beautiful, one-of-a-kind gems are like snowflakes—you’ll never find two that are exactly alike. But that’s what makes diamonds so attractive.

At Fire and Ice Diamonds, you can get gorgeous halo-cut diamond engagement rings that tell the story of your love. Like your love, every diamond holds a unique beauty, and you should buy one that speaks to you.

Diamond Color: Understanding What It Is and What It Means