Diamond Color

The color of a diamond also affects its value and price.  Unlike other gemstones, it is the ABSENCE of color that is most valuable.  Most diamonds appear white or clear but actually contain slight tinges of color, usually yellowish brown or blue.  The more colorless and “pure” a diamond is, the more valuable and expensive it is.  The exception, of course is fancy colored diamonds which are discussed later.  As with clarity, there are standard grading systems for diamond color.  Below is the system used by the GIA, the most widely used grading system in the USA.

It is very difficult for the average gemstone shopper to visually differentiate a diamond of one color from a diamond 2 or3 grades away in either direction.  And once the diamond is set in jewelry, it is even more difficult.  Even trained gemologists with loupes (hand held microscopes) cannot tell the difference within 3 or 4 grades.  So while the color of a diamond definitely affects the value and price, it might not affect its beauty as far as the wearer is concerned.

Fancy colored diamonds are diamonds where the color is beyond a “tinge” and saturates the diamond sufficiently to be obviously visible and attractive.  Colors of fancy diamonds include yellow, brown, orange, red, pink, green, grey and blue.

Fancy Diamond Colors

Orange Pink Blue Black


Red Brown Yellow Green

Gauging the value of the color of fancy diamonds is similar to that of colored gemstones: the more intense or “strong” the color is, the more valuable it is.  Rarity of the color also plays a role: e.g. yellow, brown and grey fancy diamonds are more common than blue, green, red or pink.  Therefore, all other factors being equal, a blue diamond will be worth more than a yellow diamond.  Color is evaluated along this spectrum, developed by the GIA:

  • Faint,
  • Very Light,
  • Light,
  • Fancy Light,
  • Fancy,
  • Fancy Intense,
  • Fancy Vivid,
  • Fancy Deep,
  • Fancy Dark.