All About Diamond Color

by Bob Mullen February 24, 2018

All About Diamond Color

Everyone has heard of the 4 C's when it comes to diamonds: cut, clarity, carat, and color. And they're all important when picking the right diamond for you.  The 4 Cs will affect your perception, the look, and the value of a diamond stone in a number of ways.

Today we're going to focus on diamond color.  The color of a diamond contributes significantly to its look and value. While diamonds can come in a variety of colors (think of the amazing Hope Diamond), we will focus on the most popular diamond color choice: white or colorless!

If you are looking for a white diamond, you are most likely looking for a  “colorless” or “near colorless” diamond, free from traces of yellow or brown hues.

The truth is, a true colorless diamond is very rare and very expensive. Most "colorless" diamonds on the market today have some traces of color in them.  And even with traces of color in them, white or colorless diamonds still look amazing and something that you would be proud to wear on your finger! When considering color in a diamond, it all comes down to what level of color is found in the diamond and your personal preference, as some individuals will not mind a little more yellow hue as it gives the diamond a warmer tone.

So, how does a diamond get color in it, and how is its value determined based on the level of color?

The Science of Diamond Color

Let’s take a moment and dive into the science behind a diamond's color.

A diamond’s color is determined when it's formed—more specifically, when the carbon molecules are forming their bonds and structure. Don't worry—we won't spend too much time on the chemistry behind a diamond's color!

During diamond formation, carbon molecules commonly bind with nitrogen, which will give the diamond a yellowish hue. So, more nitrogen, more yellow color, less nitrogen, less yellow color! And, generally speaking, the more yellow you see, the less expensive or valuable the diamond will be.

Now, if you really want to get a good understanding of how much yellow or "color" is in a diamond beyond what your eyes can see, you should look into its lab grading and understand what is behind this grading.

Color distinctions in diamonds can be so imperceptible that they are often not noticed by the untrained eye. And these subtle distinctions can really affect diamond quality grading and value.

How Diamond Color is Graded or Judged

GIA Diamond Color Grading ScaleThere is more than one scale for grading diamond color, but the one most referred to is the Gemological Institute of America's (G.I.A.) D-Z Color Grading Scale. It consists of letters from D to Z, and these letter grades are grouped into color ranges.

Diamonds Graded D, E and F: These diamonds are at the top of the color grading scale and form the Colorless range.

Diamonds Graded G, H, I, and J: This next group of diamonds in the is the Near Colorless range.

Diamonds Graded K to Z: This group of diamonds have a faint to light yellow color.

And while these color gradings are helpful, it's important to find someone who can guide you through the maze of color gradings, diamond certifications, etc.  This is an incredibly complex topic and you'll want to find someone you trust and can help you find the perfect diamond for you and your budget.

Why The Metal Matters When It Comes to Diamond Color

Another thing to consider when looking at diamond color is the metal you choose to go with it. This is very important because the metal you choose will affect how the color of your diamond is perceived.

You see, the color of your metal band is picked up by the diamond and reflected. A platinum or white gold band will highlight the white color of the diamond giving it the appearance of perhaps a better grade, whereas a gold band will tend to highlight any yellowish hues.

Now some individuals love the warmer tones of their diamond being brought out by the diamond's setting, where others desire the bright white look achieved with platinum or white gold. It's all about what you like!

And remember if you are  purchasing a loose diamond, be sure to look at it in different metal settings to see what you like best and how it affects the color of your diamond. The differences can be subtle, but it's worth taking the time to check it out.

Finally, you should remember that the cut of the diamond is very important for how obvious the diamond’s color will be. A good diamond cut can bend and reflect light in a way that hides yellow tints, while a poorer cut can make them more prominent.

Bottom line: Diamond shopping is a very personal experience and ultimately your choice. We always recommend that you do your homework but don't be afraid to choose with your eyes and what you love!

Some Diamonds WE Love

All About Diamond Color

All About Diamond Color

All About Diamond Color

All About Diamond Color

All About Diamond Color


We're honored that Mullen Bros. Jewelers ranks #1 in overall customer ratings among all jewelry stores in Southeastern Massachusetts and we will continue to take care of our neighbors and friends, one jewel at a time.

All About Diamond Color

Bob Mullen
Bob Mullen


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