What color is a diamond? This is a common question asked of those in the diamond trade. The answer is: it depends. Diamond color is most commonly based on the GIA diamond color scale and ranges from D (colorless) to Z (yellow, brown or gray in color). For most diamonds the absence of color makes the diamond rarer and therefore more expensive; however, there is also a category called “fancy colored diamonds” where the deeper the depth of color, the more rare the diamond.

So which is it? More color or less?

We’ll explain below. First understand that a diamond’s value is always based on the rarity of the color. This means colorless stones (they type of diamond people seek on most engagement rings) and stones deep in tone and saturation of color (i.e. the blue hope diamond) are both more expensive than those in between.

Most of the time the buyer of a diamond is interested in colorless stones. For the purposes of this article we’ll call these traditional diamonds, although the trade gives them many different names.

Traditional diamonds come in the following grades:


Color Scale


Color Scale Chart Used With Permission from the Gemological Institute of America.

Which do you choose? This is entirely a personal choice. The average person has a difficult time distinguishing between a colorless, and near colorless diamond and frankly this is the area that has the most give and take for those that want a “glass like” quality. Many others want to go down the color grade curve and get a larger diamond. Some even consider the yellow tone of the lower grades romantic with their candlelight or sunlight appearance. In the photo’s above, we show a Colorless D Grade diamond, a Near Colorless G Grade diamond, a Faint Color K grade diamond and a Faint Colored M Grade diamond.

K Color – Excellent Cut – VVS1 Cut – 4 Carat

Is the K color diamond too yellow?

You tell us… Most people can’t tell the difference between the G and K colored diamond when it’s set on a standard yellow gold ring, yet the price difference is often half depending on market conditions.

To see today’s (near wholesale) price difference click the link below. This will take you to James Allen’s pricing page.

1 Carat, Round, Ideal Cut (GIA Excellent), VS1 Clarity Diamond



Fancy Colored Diamonds

Beyond Z color the buyer gets into extremely rare yellow/brown depths of color that have names instead of letters

-Faint (Yellow)*

-Very Light (Yellow)*

-Light (Yellow)*

-Fancy Light (Yellow)*

-Fancy (Yellow)*

-Fancy Intense (Yellow)*

-Fancy Vivid (Yellow)*

-Fancy Dark (Yellow)*

-Fancy Deep (Yellow)*

(pink, yellow, blue, purple, etc)* These categories apply to all colored diamonds, not just Yellow.

The difference between Z and Faint Yellow may only be inches, but this is the difference between a diamond that is used only for a cutting tool and one that is considered rare and highly sought after.

Looking for a Fancy Colored Diamond Online?

Jewelers.NYC suggests James Allen

#1 Rated Online Diamond Store, 2017


Looking for a Fancy Colored Diamond in Jewelers Row?

Jewelers.NYC suggests Diamond Envy

Top 10 Rated NYC Diamond District Store, 2017



Most diamonds come in shades of yellow, brown or gray – even fancy colored ones. Rarer still are diamonds that come in shades of pink, blue, orange, red and purple. If you’re interested in a fancy colored diamond, the best source we’ve found is James Allen Online or Diamond Envy in the NYC Diamond District.

Color Enhanced Diamonds

Mother nature is not the only one who can created colored diamonds. Scientists can now create a colored diamond through the use of radiation, diamond coloring, etc. It’s important to note that a color enhanced diamond is not rare at all and in fact can be created from a far lesser quality stone. Turning an M colored diamond into a fancy yellow diamond through technology means that you are buying a M colored diamond – remember that when the stone is “enhanced. “