Apr 30

Choosing Diamond Color, How to Shop Right for Diamond Color

By Calla Gold

GIA diamond colors

Different Color Grades of Diamonds

This is the second in a series from Calla Gold Jewelry about the secrets of diamonds and why women want them.

All About Choosing Diamond Color

Diamonds actually come in an array of colors, mostly naturally. Yellow, champagne, cognac and blue color diamonds are currently, hot as firecrackers. For the average wedding ring, though, stick with as colorless and clear a diamond as you can afford. Also referred to as white, colorless and clear.

The Diamond Color Scale, Let’s Get Technical!

Chart with Diamond color and clarity

A Diamond Color Chart Based on GIA Diamond Color Grading

Diamonds are color graded on a scale from D to Z.  D, E, an F color grade diamonds appear colorless.  G, H, and I are nearly colorless and when set in a ring they may look whiter than they really are. K, L, and M have faint yellowish, brownish, or grayish tints.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), is the industry standard of quality in gemstone knowledge. Their grading system is the best and is used in all reputable appraisals of diamonds the world over.

Off Color Diamond

This Diamond Has too Much Color and Would Be a Disappointing Color Choice

How Can You Tell if that Diamond Has Good Color?

When choosing diamond color for your special diamond, you’ll want to be  looking at at least one diamond with a nicer color and one with a poorer color if possible.

It can happen that if you’re looking at a poor color diamond by itself, sometimes it looks just fine. You might be tempted by it’s low price to buy it.

But wait! Before you leap, be sure  you can hold it next to a finer color diamond. Once you do the comparison, your chosen diamond might suddenly look kinda bad. Bad decision dodged!

A Diamond Color Shopping Trick

If you know someone with a very nice white diamond, borrow their ring and clean it and then go shopping.

Diamonds in the prongs

This Diamond Has a Beautiful White Color

Preferably it is a truly white diamond, like a D,E or F color. By bringing it with you to compare with the diamonds you look at, you’ll immediately be able to tell if the store’s diamond is just funky looking, or nice and white.

How and Why Diamond Color Grades Cost What They Do

The untrained eye isn’t going to easily be able to see the difference between diamonds in the D to H or I range. Nevertheless, finding out the color grade of your potential diamond is super important.

The color rating of your diamond will greatly influence the price you pay. A “D” color diamond might sell for twice what an H or I color stone would sell for. In a Murphy’s Law kinda way, the whiter color diamonds are rarer than the greyer or tan colored ones. And the rare ones are the ones you want.

A Diamond’s Color in Perfect Conditions and Diamond’s Color in Real Life

Most crappy diamonds look pretty OK when they are perfectly clean and seen under special bright diamond light conditions. If you are shopping for diamonds in a retail store setting, look around for an area of “ugly light” and look at the diamond in that area.

Find that place away from the bright lights, like in a corner, or in the bathroom or a hallway. Look at the diamond you like and try to get a sense of how it’ll look in the lighting you live in.

Some diamonds look pretty unimpressive away from the bright lights. You want the diamond that is sparkly and white away from the fancy lighting.

Be Nice to Yourself and Find a Jeweler Who is an Expert on Diamonds

Do shop for diamonds with a reputable jeweler who can easily answer your questions. Pick a jeweler whom you can trust. Ask your friends, read reviews online until you find a  jeweler you feel comfortable with.

If the jeweler you are checking out is using a different color grading scale than the industry standard GIA scale, you might want to shop elsewhere.

Diamond Colors and Chart

An Example of Master Set Diamonds


The Master Set, for Diamond Color

Many Jewelers have on hand a Master Set. These diamonds or CZ’s represent a particular color. It can be helpful to look at the master “D” colored example next to the one you like. In this way you’ll see how the “G” color diamond stacks up to a “D” color diamond.

In this way you can be sure that you’ve compared your diamond with the ideal color and you can make your choice with confidence. For the record I love G color, it’s what’s in my ring.

Guidance for Choosing Diamond Color 

My first piece of advice is to avoid diamonds lower on the scale than H or I color, but that’s me. This isn’t to say there aren’t nice diamonds lower on the color scale. There are, when you’re looking at perfectly clean, under the magic diamond lights diamonds.

But how will they look in the dimmer home lights? How about after you’ve done the dishes wearing your ring without gloves? After you’ve put on some lotion?

dirty muddy diamonds

This Farm Wife and Blogger Showed the World Her Visible Diamonds Still Sparkled After a Heroic Day in the Fields

The whole point of choosing a nice white diamond is that you can live in it, get it dirty and have it still sparkle and look good. When a diamond gets dirty it lowers the look of its color grade. If you have a nice white diamond it’ll still look good when it gets dirty.

But if you got an iffy color diamond (like a J or a K) and it gets dirty like the one a certain someone I know got, (I’ll use no names to protect the stubborn, er, innocent!) it’ll look grayish, brownish or icky yellowish. It will not be a symbol of love, but a source of annoyance.

What Diamond Color Means to the One You Love

Proposal Picture

Make Your Diamond Choice One You’ll Always Be Pleased With

The lively look (bright white), of the diamond you choose for your love holds a magical symbolism. This diamond represents your love. Are you going to represent that you were on a budget while shopping for your love symbol? Nah.

That bright white color makes your love sweetie smile. It makes her girlfriends smile. It shows your boss and co-workers that you are a quality guy. Yes it’s true the ring is for her, but it reflects on your personality, class and values.

As my son would say, “Dude, you gotta represent!”

Buy an off color stone, get it dirty, and you’ll soon know the definition of “buyer’s remorse.”

Your Bright White Diamond Happy Ending

Three Diamond Ring by Calla Gold Jewelry

Three Diamonds and a Design from Calla Gold Jewelry

May your diamond choice be bright. May your marriage be long and happy.

Calla Gold
Diamond Seller and Educator

Also see my posts on:
Diamond Carats

Diamond Cut

Diamond Clarity 

12 thoughts on “Choosing Diamond Color, How to Shop Right for Diamond Color

    • Thanks for coming by Amber!
      If you come back in the weeks to come the refresher continues one “C” at a time.
      Calla Gold
      Your Diamond Educating Jeweler

  1. Calla, this seems like JUST the time for this post. Spring is surely wedding central in Santa Barbara! I do love cognac and blue–understandably, they are “hot as firecrackers!” Appreciatively, Lynn

    • Dr. Jones,
      It is wedding central in Santa Barbara right now and I’m getting asked a lot of questions about diamonds. So it seemed like a likely time to write about the “C”‘s of diamonds.

  2. The diamond color chart information is really good here.
    Calla Gold Jewelry really gives the information to their clients.
    This in depth overview of the importance of color in diamond buying is really easy to assimilate and use.
    Sometimes reading about all four ‘c’s at once can be daunting. But I like your one ‘c’ at a time method.
    I’m also liking the Calla’s opinions part too.
    I’m looking forward to your final ‘c’ on clarity!

  3. Excellent points altogether, you simply won a new reader.
    What would you recommend in regards to learning more about diamonds?

    • Hello Maria,
      I have the full four C’s about diamonds written about here on my blog rolls. I wrote one about each “C”. At the end of the post are links to the rest of the series.
      If you mean to learn professionally I recommend the Gemological Institute of America.
      Calla Gold

  4. Having read this I thought it was rather informative. I appreciate you spending
    some time and energy to put this diamond color article together. I once again
    find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

  5. So if a man doesn’t pop stupid amounts of money for some shiny “white” piece of rock / mineral (that’s actually not all that uncommon) then you’re not “a quality guy”..? Apparently being loyal, loving a woman wholeheartedly & being willing to forsake all others doesn’t really count for much. No offense, but it sometimes seems that men’s only worth nowadays is to feed into / pat for materialistic fantasies & desires of our female counterparts. The expensive ring & “princess for a day” ideal is unrealistic, especially when viewed from the hard, cold truth of divorce statistics & how 70-80% of these are filed by the same ladies we spent a ridiculous amount of money on so they can impress their friends & society at large with what are basically trinkets & trappings. I came on here looking for info on rings as I was considering popping the question to my girlfriend. Sorry, but honestly I felt like nothing but a piece of meat & a paycheck after reading this… If I don’t spend the price of a decent family sized suv or automobile on what’s essentially a piece of pressurized dirt (that are all over the world in abundance, they are Not “rare”), then I’m not a “quality guy”? I’m a hard working, decent, loving and loyal man. This article makes me wonder if that doesn’t matter as much as the size & visual quality of the rock on her finger. You’d be way better off financially as a family in the long run by putting that towards a down payment on a house or paying off debt. Guess I’ll have to rethink this marriage thing as this “must impress people” game is not one I’m willing to play & I wouldn’t want a woman to be constantly or secretly embarrassed by me not being willing to spend large sums of money on something simply to impress folks & which has very little practical value. Not trying to be negative or rude. Have a good day.

    • Hello Anonymous Practical Male,
      The point of this post is not to spend the price of an SUV to buy a diamond. The point is how to ensure that the color you are looking at will please you after you’ve brought it home. I know people on a budget who got a small beautifully white diamond for their lady love. She loves how pretty it is. This is about color, not size. This is to educate you, not to brow beat you into what to buy. That is your choice. One way to get nice color on a budget is to get moissanite. Just make sure she’s cool with it. This is my post about moissanite:
      I don’t remember saying that you are not a “quality guy” if you don’t buy a certain type of diamond in this post.
      Good luck in your choices of gemstone for your lady love. I’m sure she’ll love whatever you choose for her.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

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