The 4 C's
(cut, COLOR, clarity, carat weight)
(Click to view each)
Diamonds are Graded - and Valued - on the basis of what is commonly referred to as "The 4 C's" - Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight.

Decide on Color.

The color of diamonds varies from "Colorless" (most rare and precious) to many shades of yellow (less rare). Slight tints of yellow make a diamond less rare, but some people prefer the personality it gives a stone of good make and clarity.

If you want perfection regardless of cost ----- go for "D" color.

If you want excellent quality and beauty ----- go for "E" or "F" colors (still colorless to any eye).

If you want a larger stone for your money without sacrificing appearance ----- go for "G", "H", "I", or "J" colors (near colorless, especially when the diamond is set into 14K white gold or platinum prongs).

If you like very faint yellow tints ----- go for colors like "K", "L", or "M" (you can see the slight tint next to a more colorless diamond).


The color of a diamond is as important as the cut. The closer it is to being absolutely colorless, the more valuable it will be. International standards have been established for grading diamonds according to these extremely subtle differences. The only real way of determining the exact color of a diamond is to place it next to another diamond which has already been graded.
Diamonds are Color Graded by an accredited Gemological Laboratory. They are graded on a Letter Scale from "D" to "Z" by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and on a Numerical Scale from "0" to "10" by the American Gem Society (AGS).

D, E, and F - No color detectable to the unaided eye.
G, H, I, and J - Nearly colorless, but a trained Gemologist can detect a very, very slight yellow tint, in the "I-J" colors, when examining them loose (unmounted), and turned upside down.
K through Z - Yellow, Gray, or Brown color visible to the unaided eye, loose and turned upside down. Choosing a G to J Color Diamond, rather than a D to F Color Diamond will help you stick to your budget without compromising appearance. The same is true if you select a K to L Color Diamond; when a K or L Color Diamond is set into a six prong white gold head, these two diamond colors will "Face Up" white, i.e., appear white in color when viewed from the "Top" of the diamond.
True Colorless Diamonds - Graded D, E, or F, are extremely rare and very valuable. They are at the top of the Diamond Quality Pyramid. The closer a diamond is to being colorless, the more rare and more valuable it is. A single change in Color Grade can significantly affect a diamond's value.
A, B, and C Diamonds - We are often asked "What happened to the A, B, and C colors"? The answer is simple; when gemologists began using this scale, they reserved the A, B, and C grades for more colorless diamonds yet to be graded - none have been found to date.
Diamonds graded lower than a J color, particularly those graded K to L, have a very faint yellow tint that is detectable to the untrained eye when viewed loose (unmounted) and turned upside down. When set in four- or six-prong heads, though, these K or L color diamonds "face up" white.
If you are a purist, you may require a diamond with a grade of "colorless"
D, E, or F. For the best value in a color grade, look to the "Near colorless" category, the G, H, I, and J grades, and if the diamond you select is going to be set into a white gold head, either a four-or six-prong, you can save even more money by choosing a K or L color diamond, which will still "face up" white when mounted.

The chart below shows, in detail, the two Color Grading scales (from GIA and AGS) from totally colorless to light yellow. The differences between one grade and another are very subtle, as can be seen by the number of grades within any one category.

Category  colorless near
faint yellow very light yellow light yellow
AGS  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The table below compares the prices of diamonds, all the exact same size, (The size selected was 1.00 CT [1 carat] Round Brilliant Cut), with a Clarity Grade of "SI2" (Our best-selling, most popular clarity grade), with a Cutting Grade of "Premium - 2A or 2B" (Our best-selling, most popular cutting grade) - with the various color grades.
Color Grade Price Comparison
1 Carat - SI2 - 2A/2B
D $ 6,500 Colorless
(For the Purist)
E $ 6,200
F $ 5,600
G $ 5,300 Near Colorless
(For Top Quality Jewelry)
H $ 5,200
I $ 4,800
J $ 3,900
K $ 3,500 Faint Yellow/Brown
(For the Value Conscious)
L $ 3,200
M $ 2,700
N $ 2,200

The 4 C's
(cut, COLOR, clarity, carat weight)
(Click to view each)

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