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Color Grading <The Ultimate Diamond Buying Guide>

*Do note that our writings are based on our personal opinion and only serves as a reference or guide.

In this article, we will explain some cost saving tips by choosing an appropriate diamond colour and how to make your diamond appear whiter.

Colour Grading

Diamond Colour is graded in terms of how colourless to saturated a diamond is. GIA grades Diamonds from D to Z, with D being the most colourless, and Z containing noticeable brown or yellow tint.

The GIA Scale considers:

  • D-F is colourless

  • G-J, near colourless

  • K-M faint yellow/brown

  • N-R very light yellow/brown

  • S-Z light yellow/brown

Yellow or Brown diamonds that are in saturations beyond this chart are graded on the Coloured Diamonds grading scale. Diamonds can also come in every colour of the rainbow, and most of the Coloured Diamonds are much rarer than those on this colourless D-Z scale.

How is Colour Grading Done

In grading diamonds, they are graded on the face down colour, as scintillations (flashes of light) from face up might obstruct accurate views on the body colour of the diamond.

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In the grading laboratory, diamonds are then compared side by side with a master-set of diamonds to determine the colour grade. According to GIA, G-J are also colourless on the face up, which D-F are colourless both face up and table-down (face down).

However, in our opinion, as trained Gemologists, we can tell the colour range of a Diamond (D-F) or (G-H) and (I-J) just from looking at the Diamond face-up alone. It is often where a G-H diamond can be easily differentiated from a F diamond by a trained gemologist.

But to most people, a G-H compared to F looks the same and they will not be able to differentiate, just from looking at the diamond without any comparison stones.

Which Colour Should I Get?

If cost savings is important to you, you can consider buying a G-H diamond instead as this second range of diamonds will be much cheaper than the colourless range D-F. The price jumps from G to F while most people with untrained eyes cannot visually tell the difference between the both.

Or if you want diamond in the colourless range, retailers would tell you that between D-F, most people cannot tell the difference between a D and F diamond. So if you would like a diamond in the colourless range, a F colour diamond would be cheaper than D with no obvious difference.

* For us gemologists, we can only separate D/E/F from one another by comparing side by side. Hence buying an F diamond is quite a good cost saving option that does not affect the overall outlook significantly.

Nevertheless, we recommend buying Diamonds of colour H and above as these Diamonds to us, looks colourless or very close to colourless. I or J diamonds, though still belonging to the near colourless scale, are more obviously tinted.

Colours When Set In Jewellery

When a diamond is set into jewellery with yellow plating, it makes it a lot harder to tell the colour grade unless compared with another reference diamond side by side. This is because a diamond set in yellow gold will have some reflections of yellow and make the overall diamond appear more yellowish.

Also, do you know that each jeweller has a slightly different plating colour? There is a range of white gold colours and choosing the whiter ones could make your diamond appear more colourless.


Fluorescence in a diamond if blue, can make yellowish diamonds look 2-3 grades better than what it is. Hence a G-H diamond with blue fluorescence will look like a E-F. Diamond with fluorescence are also cheaper. Therefore it is akin to getting a double discount. However, this will affect the resale value. Read more about fluorescence here.

Hence when choosing a Diamond colour, it is important to know what you are looking for and what you prioritise, compared to other components if you are trying to get the best deal.

Head back to our Ultimate Diamond Buying Guide to learn about the other components of diamond grading.


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