How to Establish the Colour of a Diamond

Colour is one of the "4 Cs" when it comes to diamond appraisal, along with clarity, carat and cut. All four factors contribute to the overall value of any diamond. If a diamond is rare in colour, cut well, heavy in weight, and features almost no inclusions (thus possessing excellent clarity), the value of the diamond will be very high.

There are a number of elements which contribute to the colour of a diamond. If you are thinking about investing in these gemstones or collecting them as a hobby, it’s best that you understand all there is to know about their colour. This article presents some of the factors you will need to be aware of in order to assess the precise colour of a diamond.


  1. Image titled Establish the Colour of a Diamond Step 1
    Determine the tint of the stone. A diamond’s colour is graded in relation to the stone’s tint. Each grade carries with it a particular range of values.
  2. Image titled Establish the Colour of a Diamond Step 2
    Know the colour scheme. The colour scheme consists of Faint, Very Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Deep, and Fancy Vivid. These gradations are listed in order of increasing richness of colour and monetary value.
  3. Image titled Establish the Colour of a Diamond Step 3
    Compare stones. When a diamond that appears colourless is placed next to another gem, you may be able to detect subtle tone variations between the two. In other words, even when a diamond appears to have no colour, you may see light browns or yellows in it when it's placed next to another stone.
  4. Image titled Establish the Colour of a Diamond Step 4
    Know the guidelines. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has a set of guidelines in place in order to determine the colour of diamonds. A letter system is used to determine how much colour is present. It ranges from D to Z, D being assigned to completely colourless diamonds. (In order for a diamond to be graded, it has to be a loose stone.)
  5. Image titled Establish the Colour of a Diamond Step 5
    Determine the category. The grading system is broken down into the following categories: D through F are the colourless categories, G through J are nearly colourless, K through M are tinted, N through R are lightly tinted, and S through Z are tinted.


  • Take time to learn about the important elements of coloured diamonds before you start investing in or collecting them, as it will help you decide which ones carry the most value.
  • The process of fully learning about diamonds can take a long time, but the basics alone will enable you to invest or buy sensibly.

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Categories: Jewelry and Watches | Investments and Trading