How to grade color in a diamond

Whether you are shopping for a diamond or not, at some point you have probably heard the reference to the “4 C’s” of a diamond. With one of those “C’s” being Color, how exactly do you determine the color in a diamond?


Unless you are looking for a fancy colored diamond, which is an entirely different scale, the normal color range of diamonds start at D and continues alphabetically through Z. The D-E-F grades are considered colorless. The G-H-I-J grades are considered near-colorless or having slight traces of color that are not easily detectable to the untrained eye, when the stones are in a mounting. As you continue down the scale, the traces of color in a stone become gradually more apparent – from very faint yellow (K-L-M), very light yellow (N through R) to light yellow (S through Z).

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Since diamonds are cut to reflect light and brilliance in the face-up position it becomes more difficult to judge the color especially once the stone is set in a ring. The color is only accurately graded when an un-mounted stone is set face-down on a plain white background with a daylight-equivalent light source. Ascot’s philosophy on color, is to stay in the F, G, H, I ranges to achieve the best value. Even in the I-color range, it is still difficult to see any color in the stone and you can maximize your money in other areas.

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