GIA diamond colour chat | diamond colour scale - GemTrove

Diamond Colour Grading


Colour is one of the major criteria of the diamond four C’s that can affect the sale of the stone itself. It is one of the first things that a jewellery valuer will look for during an appraisal. In a diamond, the colour will show as a pale, canary yellow. The less colour that a diamond exhibits, the higher its value. Despite the prestige of colourless stones, it is not rare for buyers to insist on having a coloured stone, owing to personal taste.

GIA diamond colour grade diamond GIA Scale

colour d to z diamondsThe Gemological Institute of America - GIA has set the standard for colour grading diamonds. On the GIA colour scale, there are 23 different grades, roughly based on the English alphabet, where D is the highest, running down to Z, the lowest. These grades are further broken down into five different categories: Colourless, near colourless, faint colour, very light colour, and light colour.

diamond scale of colour grading

While colourless diamonds are the most sought after, they are also some of the rarest available, owing to the sparsity of a true colourless diamond. Diamonds that fit into the I and J grades are the most common and account for a vast majority of sold diamonds on the market. Many high-end diamond stores will only sell diamonds from the J grade upwards, of which the price can sometimes differ by 20% per grade.

D-to-Z colour-grading scale is the industry's most widely accepted grading system. The scale begins with the letter D, representing colourless, and continues, with the increasing presence of colour, to the letter Z. It measures the degree of colourlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to master stones of established colour value.

The GIA diamond colour grading scale begins with the letter D which represents the absence of colour and continues with the increasing colour presence to the letter Z which represents the presence of tone visibly. Each letter grade clearly defines the spectrum of colour appearance.

Colourless diamond, clear like pure water, emits more sparkle and fire and allows more light to pass through it as compared to a fancy coloured diamond. Colour graded by analysing them with the pre-graded master diamonds under-regulated light and meticulous viewing conditions. Colour variations can be very subtle, and could perhaps be invisible to untrained eyes. Though, the minute differences can drastically affect the value and price of a diamond.


Why does the GIA grading system start at D D is the best diamonds

D E F G H diamondYears ahead when GIA universalised the D-to-Z Colour Grading Scale, different types of other methods were used randomly, from A, B, C and D (used without any clear definition), to Arabic 0, 1, 2, 3 and Roman - I, II, III numbers, to definitive terms like "blue white" or "gem blue," which are infamous for microinstruction and confusion. So the reason for the GIA Colour Scale wanted to start fresh, without any association with earlier systems. Thus the GIA scale begins at the letter D. Now hardly any diamond merchant or buyer still cling to other grading systems, and no other system has perfect clarity and universal acceptance of the GIA scale. (Ref. GIA)


The difference between diamond colour and fancy coloured diamonds color

It is important to note that the GIA colour grade refers to stones which are known as white diamonds. Fancy coloured diamonds, where the diamond exhibits a colour saturation greater than Z or is a different colour from yellow, have their colour grading system. This system is very similar to the grades used for coloured gemstones, such as a ruby or an emerald. These systems will judge the diamonds on the vibrancy and hue of the stone itself.

Unlike white diamonds that fall into the K - Z grades, coloured diamonds are highly sought after, and have been some of the most famous in human history. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Hope Diamond - a deep blue stone which has been owned by King Louis XVI, King George IV, and Edward Beale McLean, former owner of The Washington Post. Indeed, the highest price paid for diamond per carat is, in fact, an orange diamond, which was sold for USD 35 million in 2013.

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