4C’s Diamond Colour

Wednesday, 14 July 2021
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color scale diamonds

4Cs Diamond Colour

The 4Cs of diamond grading, cut, colour, clarity and carat, colour is a very important element. The 4Cs relate to white diamonds, the best of which is colourless rather than white. See below for a description of each colour classification. Diamonds are graded for colour from D to Z, where D is classified as totally colourless and Z has very visible yellow or brown tinges.

Why is diamond colour important?

Well, it is not really the colour of the diamond but how colourless it is. The more the lack of colour the higher the value. When light is reflected through the facets of a diamond it is referred to as the fire in the stone. The less colour within the stone means that the diamond can reflect more light than a stone with a higher level of colour. So the more colourless the diamond the higher the level of scintillation and sparkle.

What is the best colour for a diamond?

white colour diamondA “D” colour grade is colourless, the most highly desirable, which would look stunning in a diamond ring.  D colour diamonds are rare and therefore the most expensive for a comparable carat weight with other diamonds of the same size. However, for many price is a large consideration and a small sacrifice in terms of colour can result in a significant saving. For example, an F or G diamond would look to the untrained eye almost the same as a D but with a 20- 25% saving on the purchase price. This may allow a larger diamond to be purchase if you are looking to maximise size. However, for a diamond larger than 2 carats a D – F grade would be best. Check out our range of diamonds here.

How can I optimise my diamond colour options?

Diamond Colour ChartIf you choose to have your diamond set in yellow or rose gold then the diamond will take on some of the hue of the colour of the gold. In this instance a diamond which is less than colourless can be an attractive and less expensive option with diamonds in H – L band looking gorgeous in a rose or yellow gold mounting. If white gold or platinum settings are used then a diamond in the D – G range will have the best look. The white setting will extenuate any colour in the diamond so the closer to colourless the better the appearance.

How does a Diamond’s Colour Affect its Value?

There are a number of things which affect the value of a diamond and colour is one of them. For a diamond connoisseur a D colour rating is the preferred grade as this is ultimate colourless stone grade. However, for every step down the colour scale the cost of the diamond will reduce. Colour is only one of the 4Cs and cut and clarity will also have a significant impact on the value and therefore price of a diamond. If diamond size (carat) is your most important factor then reducing the emphasis on colour to a H or J grade will allow you to purchase a significantly larger diamond compared to a D grade with little appreciable loss of visual appeal. Still not sure about buying a diamond check our diamond buying guide here.

Diamond Colour Grading

Under the GIA Diamonds range in colour from D to Z. A description of the qualities and colour for each grade is detailed below:

diamond colour grading
Colourless Diamonds D – F

diamond colour dD is the top colour, which means it is colourless and the rarest and most expensive grade of diamond. D coloured diamonds command a significant premium. To maximise the beauty of D coloured diamonds, they are best set in platinum and white gold rather than yellow gold which can make the diamond take on a yellow tinge.


diamond colour grading chartE coloured diamonds are very similar in looks to D coloured diamonds and often they can only be distinguished by a gemologist with the necessary knowledge and equipment. As with D Coloured diamonds, E coloured diamonds are best set in platinum or white gold for the same reasons. They are priced less than D coloured but still they are priced at a premium.


diamond colour f

F coloured diamonds are almost identical to D and E colour diamonds, with nearly no visible colour. F coloured diamonds are difficult to distinguish between D and E coloured stones and are best set under the same settings.

Near Colourless G – J

diamond colour eG coloured diamonds are virtually colourless to an untrained eye and are an excellent and cost effective substitution for a D to F diamond. Although G coloured diamonds exhibit some evidence of colour it is not visible to the naked eye and are best set in platinum or white gold to make the most of the near colourless appearance.


diamond color scale chartH coloured diamonds are almost colourless to the naked eye, however they have a faint yellow colour when viewed under bright lights, and when in the company of diamonds of a higher grade. H coloured diamonds are the minimum colour grade that perform well with platinum or white gold settings despite the slight yellow tinge.


colour h diamondI coloured diamonds combine a near colourless look with good economy, as they are more reasonably priced than G and H grades. The yellow tint is more visible in I coloured diamonds although it tends to be more visible when compared to other higher grade stones. The I colour stones are ideally suited to yellow or rose gold.


color diamond clarity chartJ coloured diamonds have a faint yellow tint but can look nearly colourless to the naked eye. The yellow colour is most prominent under bright lights. This grade can be a good value for money proposition as they are cheaper than of the other “Near Colourless” grades and in the right setting they can appear almost colourless. Recommended to be set in yellow or rose gold, or if cut as a round, brilliant cut diamond as a solitaire setting they can be set in platinum or white gold.

Faint Tint K – M

diamond colour kK coloured diamonds are in the category known as “faint tint” which means they have a slight yellow tint which is visible in normal conditions and can easily be seen with the naked eye. There is a significant price saving for diamonds in this category when compared to diamonds within the “Near Colourless” classification. If set in yellow gold solitaire diamonds can look stunning. These stones would not be suitable for white metals due to obvious yellow hue.

color scale diamondsL coloured diamonds have a yellow colour which is stronger than K and that is visible to the naked eye. Again they represent good value for money when compared to diamonds with less colour and can be very attractive in the right setting especially when set in yellow gold. The preferred shape for this grade is round brilliant cut, with other diamond shapes avoided.


diamond colour mM coloured diamonds have a significant yellow colour which is obvious to the naked eye. Like all “faint tint” diamonds, M colour diamonds are significantly cheaper than and offer fantastic value for money in comparison to colourless. M colour grade is generally the lowest colour grade sold by most jewellers.

Light Yellow Colour Diamond N-R

diamond ring colour

Diamonds in the N to R range are less desirable due to the higher level of yellow or brown colouration. In terms of use for jewellery we would recommend diamonds in the N-R colour range.

Yellow Coloured Diamonds S-Z

j colour diamond

Diamonds of an S-Z range have a higher level of noticeable yellow or brown colouration. They are not really jewellery grade diamonds and for that reason we do not recommend diamonds in this range.

Best Diamonds For Engagement Rings

The diamonds most readily used for engagement rings, which tend to be round cut solitaire diamonds would be as close to near colourless as the budget will allow. For most bridegrooms the purchase of an engagement ring is the visual expression of love for their bride and consequently they want the best they can afford. Realistically.an F – J diamond should make any bride very happy and cement their union beautifully. Check out our range of diamonds here.

If you need expert advice on any aspect of diamonds and how the various 4C’s impact on cost and value please contact us on email showroom@anastasiasbroome.com.au or call us +61 8 9468 8116 at Anastasia’s of Broome.

Author Bio

Jill Hansen runs Anastasia’s Of Broome and is a highly recognised expert in both the fields of South Sea Pearls and Diamonds. Jill trained in seeding pearls in the Cook Islands by Japanese Pearl Technicians, and established a wholesale pearl business selling pearls all over the world. She pioneered the combination of pearls and diamonds to create Lust™ Pearls, a unique fusion of these two beautiful gemstones. Jill holds the prestigious recognition of being an Antwerp Diamond Broker for selecting and sourcing Diamonds direct from the diamond capital of the world, Antwerp. She is a diamond expert and is happy to use and impart her knowledge to help customers make informed decisions.


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