Diamond Color

A diamond's color has a significant impact on its appearance. With its many prismatic facets, a colorless diamond reflects light into a spectrum of hues, a characteristic often referred to as "fire". The presence of noticeable color in a diamond may reduce its ability to reflect light. Consequently, diamonds with lower color grades will not show the same luminosity and fire as those with higher grades. The most valuable diamonds have little to no detectable color.

At Brilliance, we offer a large assortment of high-quality diamonds in color grades ranging from D (colorless) to M (faint yellow). A majority of our diamonds appear virtually colorless to the naked eye.

Color Scale

The diamond color scale begins at D (colorless) and ends at Z (light yellow). Diamond color is often difficult to discern when a diamond is viewed face up. Therefore, gemologists typically evaluate diamonds facedown against a pure white surface, illuminated by carefully controlled lighting. The diamond is then compared to master stones of predetermined color.

  • D (Colorless)

    Highest-quality color grade a diamond can receive. A D-color diamond is extremely rare and emits unrivaled brilliance.

  • E (Colorless)

    Contains very minute traces of color. Also a rarity, an E-color rated diamond emits a high level of brilliance and sparkle.

  • F (Colorless)

    Minute traces of color can only be detected by a trained gemologist. This is a high-quality color grade.

  • G,H (Near Colorless)

    Contains noticeable color only when compared to higher color grades. Appearing colorless to the untrained eye, a G or H color diamond provides an excellent value.

  • I,J (Near Colorless)

    Contains slightly detectable color. An I-color or J-color diamond is an excellent value, as it typically appears colorless to the untrained eye.

  • K,L,M (Faint Yellow)

    Faint color is noticeable. Even with the presence of color, these grades of diamonds can emit fire and beauty.

Selecting a Color Grade

Color is an important factor to consider when choosing a diamond, as it is noticeable to the unaided eye. Below are some points to keep in mind when selecting a color grade:

Those who prefer a colorless diamond should select a stone in the D-F range with a fluorescence rating of "None" or "Faint".

Near colorless diamonds with a rating between G and J are excellent values, as their color is typically undetectable to the unaided eye. If you are considering a diamond in this color range, a Brilliance diamond and jewelry expert can review the stone to ensure the color cannot be seen with the naked eye.

A near colorless diamond can appear whiter when set in platinum or white gold metals. Yellow gold settings complement diamonds with lower color ratings.

The presence of fluorescence can enhance the visual appeal of a diamond with a lower-color rating in the J through M range. The fluorescence helps to cancel out any faint yellow in the stone, resulting in a colorless appearance.

A common misconception is that only colorless diamonds exude brilliance. In reality, a well-cut diamond can emit fire and beauty even with traces of faint yellow, although the presence of color will decrease the stone's value.


Fluorescence, the effect ultraviolet (UV) light has on a diamond, is an important consideration when selecting a diamond. When UV light strikes a diamond with fluorescent properties, the stone emits a glow (usually blue) ranging from very faint to quite strong.

Fancy Colored Diamonds

Diamonds that exhibit a color other than light yellow or brown, as well as diamonds that possess a more intense yellow or brown than the 'Z' color rating, are considered "fancy colored". With only one out of ten thousand diamonds possessing a natural color, these types of stones are extremely rare. Depending on the coloration, intensity, and hue of a diamond, color can either detract or enhance its value. Naturally occurring diamond colors include gray, white, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, olive, pink, purple, brown, and black. Red stones are the most rare of the fancy colored diamonds.

Similar to the process for grading colorless diamonds, a diamond's fancy color is graded by comparing it to master stones of predetermined color. Unlike colorless diamonds, fancy colored diamonds are graded face up. The most important factors in determining the value of a naturally colored diamond is the strength of its color. The value of a fancy colored diamond increases with the intensity of the most prominent hue within the stone.