The 4 C’s: Color

The Color Rating of a diamond signifies the absence of color within a stone. Stones range from yellow to colorless. The less color in a diamond, the higher value it has.

In this educational series from The Diamond Room, learn about how gemologists rate the color o fa diamond, the GIA color scale, and how the color of a diamond affects its value, reflectiveness, and more.

How is a Diamond Color Graded?

Diamonds are rated on color using the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) color scale. This scale classifies each stone with a letter between D and Z. D means the least color, increasing in color to Z, meaning the most color.

Gemologists have a set of master stones that contain a diamond that represents each rating in the scale. When they are rating a diamond, they will compare it to the set of master stones until they find the right color. This takes a lot of expertise to be able to master the process. Diamonds are graded for color on their side, and compared to the master set stones also on their side.

The GIA Diamond Color Scale

It is very rare to find a diamond that does not have any color at all. Because of that, they are very expensive. Going down in the color scale (less pure), is a way to save some money without compromising too much beauty.

5 Colour Grades

  • Colorless: Any diamond rated between D – F
  • Near Colorless: Any diamond rated between G – J
  • Faint Yellow: Any diamond rated between K – M
  • Very Light Yellow: Any diamond rated between N – R
  • Light Yellow: Any diamond rated between S – Z

Lab Grown Diamonds FAQs

Why does the color rating system start at the letter D?

Many people are asking whether or not lab grown diamonds will hold their value over time. This is a very tricky answer, however it is not much different than that answer for mined diamonds; it is as unpredictable as anything else long term. Nobody knows what will happen in regards to the value of anything, including lab grown diamonds. We also must define what kind of value is being referred to; appraisal value, retail value, fair market value, or resale value. While lab grown diamonds can be anywhere from 30-60% less than a comparable mined diamond, there are not many retailers that sell them yet. In the eyes of most that sell lab grown diamonds, there is a high perceived value, where there is a much smaller value to a jeweler that does not sell lab grown diamonds.

What are fancy color stones?

Lab grown diamonds are indeed diamonds. Just like mined diamonds, although created by man in a lab, they will not change color unless under extreme heat, irradiation, or high pressure high temperature treatment.

How does a stone get color?

Lab Grown diamonds can be certified and graded by diamond grading laboratories. In fact, most lab created diamonds over 1/2ct come with diamond grading reports. International Gemological Information (IGI) and GCAL are the two laboratories most commonly hired to grade lab grown diamonds.

What do I need to know about precious metals for settings?

The term lab grown diamonds refers to the process in which diamonds are created by man in laboratories. Lab grown diamonds are indeed diamonds and maintain the same quality ranges and characteristics as mined diamonds. While they are valued 30-60% less than mined diamonds, the product is the same. Lab grown diamond means a diamond was created above ground, and mined diamonds were created in the ground.

Diamond Educational Series

Click the below areas to learn more


Diamonds come in all shapes and sizes. But how are you supposed to know which one to choose?


Protect your investment with a full appraisal report ready for your insurance provider.


Clarity is an important factor in determining a stone’s value. In this article you will learn more about diamond.


A stone’s carat is determined by weighing the stone and calculating the carat from there.

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