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Did you know that it’s very rare to find a diamond that doesn’t have any color at all? In fact, diamonds are found in almost any naturally occurring color, including gray, white, yellow, green, brown, and pink.
Like all of the 4Cs, diamond color is an important consideration when buying a diamond. While color affects price, there are a number of factors that can help you decide which color grade is right for you.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) color scale is the industry standard for diamond grading. The GIA diamond color grades range from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). Many people ask why the GIA diamond grading scale starts at D. Arcane systems used grades of A-C, 1-3, and I-III, etc. The GIA set out to standardize these diverse systems and started their scale fresh with a grade of D.
From L color diamonds on, a warm tint is visible to the naked eye. L color diamonds are usually half the price of G color diamonds. Diamond BAYOU does not carry L-Z color diamonds.
A great value, K color diamonds provide a great value as you look into larger carat weights. Their faint color is hard to differentiate even compared side by side to J color diamonds.
A good value, the naked eye can’t easily detect the light yellow tone unless compared side-by-side with diamonds of I grades or higher. J color grade diamonds pair well with yellow gold ring settings. Eight percent of customers choose a J color diamond.
Still a great value, the slight yellow tint of I color diamonds are only detected when compared side-by-side with diamonds of H grades or higher. This color grade also pairs well with yellow gold. Fifteen percent of customers choose an I color diamond.
H color diamonds are an excellent value with a faint yellow hue that is difficult to detect unless compared side by side with other diamonds of a higher color grade. Typically, only a trained eye can see the difference between H and G color grades. Fifteen percent of customers choose an H color diamond.
G color diamonds have a very slight warmth to their tone that is difficult to detect unless compared side by side with diamonds of better grades. G will face up bright and white. Eighteen percent of customers choose a G color diamond.
Only a gemologist can detect the minute color differences between E, F, and D color diamonds. F color diamonds are comparable to D or E color diamonds. The whitest of white diamonds, D-F color diamonds, pair well with white gold or platinum settings. Twenty percent of customers choose an F color diamond.
Like D color diamonds, E color diamonds are quite rare. The minute variance between E color and D color is virtually undetectable to an untrained eye. And even then, the difference can only be seen with a side-by-side comparison of loose stones. Sixteen percent of customers choose an E color diamond.
D color diamond is the highest grade and is extremely rare—the highest color grade that money can buy. Eight percent of customers choose a D color diamond.
Colorless diamonds: The rarest and highest quality with a pure icy look.
Near-colorless diamonds: No discernible color; great value for the quality.
Faint color diamonds: Budget-friendly pick; pairs beautifully with yellow gold.
Helpful Hint: Diamond prices decline or increase in alphabetical order. For example, a diamond with a G color grade is less expensive than a diamond with a D color grade.
Diamonds in the L-Z range have a noticeably warm yellow hue which do not meet the quality and value standards at Diamond BAYOU. We do, however, sell fancy colored diamonds that are graded on a different scale and are highly prized.
The absence of color in a diamond is the rarest and therefore, the most expensive. While the majority of our customers choose a D or E color grade, many go with a beautiful near colorless grade to make the most of their budget and allocate more on the best cut that they can afford (which gives them more sparkle).
Deciding whether or not you want to spend more on diamond color grade is partly related to the size and shape of the diamond that you are considering, and your setting preference. You can save by knowing how color affects these attributes.
If you’re buying a diamond under 1 carat, you might consider choosing an I, J, or K color diamond. Going over 1 carat? We recommend H color-grade diamonds or higher.
Certain fancy-shaped diamonds hide color better than others—and can cost up to 25% less than a round-cut diamond. It’s also smart to consider the color of precious metal for your setting that best compliments the color grade of your diamond. For example, yellow gold casts a warm glow and looks best with diamonds with faint color. Platinum or white gold will make a near-colorless diamond look icier.
When is color a good thing? As mentioned before, diamonds occur in the natural rainbow spectrum of colors—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink, purple, and more. These are known as colored diamonds. Only 1 in every 10,000 diamonds possess natural color, and the more intense the color, the rarer and more valuable the diamond. Fancy-colored diamonds are graded on a separate color scale and can be even more valuable than white diamonds.