The Four Cs - Color

Color is the Four C that correlates specifically to the presence or absence of color or the tint of a diamond. Color is considered to be an extremely important Four C after Cut that contributes to the beautiful appearance of a diamond.


Diamonds range from colorless to light yellow to fancy color (any color). The color scale begins with the letter D (colorless) and continues through the alphabet to Z (light yellow). Colors are segmented into color ranges by the GIA, AGS and other laboratories. The "colorless" range is comprised of the colors D-F. The "near colorless" range encompasses the colors G-I. The colors K-M are termed the "faint" color range. Further down the line, the colors N-R are called the "very light" range. The final range in color for white diamonds approaching fancy colors are the colors S-Z which are coined the "light" range. Beyond the Z-color range, a diamond is considered a “fancy color” diamond and its color is assessed differently. A diamond's color has a substantial impact on its value, therefore, the whiter a diamond's color (D-J) is, the greater its value. Keep in mind “fancy color” diamonds do not follow this rule. Fancy colored diamonds come in a startling array of colors and are prized and valued based on their color intensity.

Transition of Color from E-J
Loose Diamonds from E-J Colors under Fluorescent Lighting

Of all the diamonds quality determining factors; Color, Clarity , Cut , Carat – Color is considered the second most important with Cut being the most important factor. The reason for this is because the human eye tends to detect a diamond's sparkle (light performance and scintillation) first, and color second. When one speaks of a diamond’s color, they are usually referring to the presence or absence of color in white diamonds. To properly assess a diamond's color, the diamond must be loose, because once its set into a jewelry setting, the metal might slightly affect the color perceived. For instance, a K-color (faint yellow) diamond could look more yellow if set into a yellow gold setting. The same K-color diamond (faint yellow) can look less yellow if set into a white gold or platinum setting.

Color has minimal impact though in terms of actual performance when the tint of a diamond can be overlooked. In other words, an E color or a J color can perform equally well having a good combination of brilliance fire and scintillation. From a scientific aspect, a very high colored diamond may have slightly more fire compared to a very low colored stone that, because of its tint, can potentially limit the range of dispersion in the visible light spectrum.

Fancy Color Diamonds

A fancy color diamond’s grade is based on three factors; the hue, tone and saturation of its color. Natural fancy color diamonds can vary in color saturation or strength from very faint to an intense vivid color. One of the most important factors in determining the value of a natural fancy color diamond is the intensity (strength) of color. The value typically increases as the strength (intensity) of the most prominent color within the diamond increases as well.

Which Color to Choose

Diamonds in the D-F color range can be amazingly white, colorless with costs commensurate with their status as premium colors. Fortunately, anyone can still obtain very attractive diamonds that are graded slightly less than colorless. Diamonds in the G-I range show virtually no color that is visible to the untrained viewing eye with only a very faint hint of yellow being apparent when the diamonds are viewed unmounted. For their price, G-I diamonds offer a great value and appeal. As you progress down the color range from J and lower diamonds will reflect a faint to light yellow color which can be detected by the unaided viewing eye. However, a well cut lower colored diamond with proper proportions can still achieve high levels of brilliance, sparkle, and appeal for anyone desiring a beautiful one-of-a-kind stone.

It's advisable to have a plan when shopping for a diamond and set priorities in the Four Cs minus one. We do not recommend ever compromising on Cut as that will negatively impact the brilliance of a diamond. Setting a budget is a good way to start and then we recommend that you prioritize the remaining 3Cs based on your preferences such as color over clarity or carat over color or clarity or a combination of the remaining 3Cs. Take into account the diamond's design and faceting. Experience has shown us that modern, brilliant faceted diamonds will reveal any hint of color quicker than other types of stones. On the other hand antique, broad faceted diamonds such as the Canera European Roundor the Canera Antique Cushion will "face up" whiter owing to their broad facets and their excellent light performance. Consider the final ring design the diamond is to go into. If the diamond is intended to be set into a solitaire, without any side diamonds that would serve as a basis for comparison of color, you may go down slightly in color and possibly not notice the change. If the diamond is to go into a halo design, color may play a more important role. The melee on the halo surround the center stone and serve as a basis for comparison of color and some color contrast might be visible to individuals that are color sensitive.

If you have any questions regarding Color, the Four Cs, or anything else that comes to mind please Contact us or Call (888)860-6430, we will be happy to assist you.