What Is Diamond Color?

Maybe I start with my memories from school:
Color is nothing but a material allowing a certain wavelength of light to pass through it. Let´s transfer to diamonds:

Mostly you see diamonds as white, which is the pure diamond’s color. In fact, any color or tint you see in a diamond is due to impurities in it. So when you see a diamond with a yellow tint, it’s because of the impurity and not a different type of diamond.

There are some exceptionally rare diamonds like a pink diamond, green diamond, and other colored diamonds that also get their distinct color due to impurities.

“So which diamond color should I buy? They are looking quite similar!”

For that, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) has set a scale ranging from D for pure white diamonds to Z for diamonds with the most yellowish or brownish color. Although the GIA score helps categorize diamonds based on a specific color, sometimes the difference between two grades can be so minute that the human eye can’t detect it.

Overview of the GIA color scale:

GIA Color Scale

And to compare with AGS Color Scale:

AGS_GIA Color Scale

How does the color effect the price of a diamond?

The more white a diamond is, the higher is its price because of two main factors:
- A white diamond has a minimum impurity level and
- reflects light in the most exquisite way.

(To learn more about the impurity level and its effect on the price read my Diamond Clarity)

If you were to place a grade D diamond, from the GIA scale, right across an H grade diamond, you would visibly see the difference in the light reflected.

James Allen - H Grade
James Allen - D Grade

D graded diamond would be more reflective as compared to an H graded one. This impacts the demand of a diamond significantly and thus its price. But before you order a D graded diamond, let me tell you a harsh truth.

The purer a diamond is, the less available it is. So a D graded diamond would be rarely offered and hard to come by. So let´s talk about the “normal ones”:

Which Diamond Color Should You Choose?

If it were up to me, I would suggest going with a slightly lower graded diamond. Let me tell you why:
When GIA grades diamonds based on their color, it pays great attention to even the minute difference in color. But that’s not the case for regular people. If you were to place an F graded diamond on your ring and place another diamond of G grade on another ring, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Both will look almost the same, but the prices will vary much.
So yes, if you are buying a diamond, try to go with mid-graded diamonds as they have a great value to price ratio.

With all of this, I can’t skip one important detail. Diamond color largely depends on the type of material it’s been put in. If you were to wear a diamond ring with a gold body, you could easily go with a lower graded diamond because the yellowness of gold will more than compensate for the flaw. The diamond will shine with a bright white glow without any tint of yellow.
However, if you had placed the same diamond in a platinum ring, the results would be less than satisfactory. The white background of platinum will not help your case, and the yellow tint will be visible to the naked eye.

Another thing that affects how your diamond will appear is its cut type. The diamond cut determines how the light will be reflected from the edges, so a round brilliant cut diamond with a lower GIA grade will be noticeably whiter than an emerald cut diamond. For a deeper understanding read more about the diamond cut.

Overall, the GIA scale is useful in determining the price of a diamond, but you need to consider a lot more to get the best diamond for your special occasions. And do not forget: color has always had a huge impact on what we eat, what we wear, and many other aspects of our lives. So it would only be natural to pay special attention to the diamond color. After all, one buys a diamond for its characteristic elegance and aesthetic appeal.

Conclusion To A Colorful Discussion

Diamond color is a very important factor when buying a diamond. It’s one of the 4 Cs of a diamond, but unlike a diamond cut, diamond color is very subjective. If you choose the right cut and the right material for your ring, you could easily get away with a lower graded diamond, which will cost significantly less. The money you save can be spent on buying other stuff for your special ones! (or more Carat)