What's an Acceptable Color Grade for a Diamond Engagement Ring?

Adrianna Barrionuevo

We've all heard about the four Cs of diamond quality—cut, color, clarity, and color—but how important is the latter? Using a D–Z scale, diamonds can range from colorless to light yellow. The closer to Z you get, the more saturated the yellowness gets.

Fancy pink, blue, and canary diamonds aside, the rarest (and therefore most valuable) diamonds are colorless, and are categorized on the color scale as D, E, and F. Of course, D is top-of-the-line brilliant, but E and F are just as pristine, and have such little differences between them that only true experts can really tell them apart.

G, H, and I colors are nearly colorless, which means that to the naked eye, they are colorless, but when put next to a D, E, or F, they will show a slight variation in color. These are popular grades for those who want a large rock that is cost effective.

When you get to the J–M portion of the scale, diamonds are slightly yellow, especially when placed next to diamonds that are higher on the scale. If you're looking into getting one of these, experts recommend staying away from a white-metal setting like platinum or white gold, as the yellowness will be more evident.

Here's an easy-to-digest breakdown of the more popular letters on the diamond color scale:

D: Total perfection—the absolute best of the best, when it comes to colorless diamonds.
E or F: Quality diamond considered excellent and colorless to any eye.
G, H, or I: Cost effective without sacrificing appearance, if you want a large stone. It's nearly colorless, and looks best with a gold setting.
J,K, L, or M: Faint yellow tints that can appear more prominent when placed on a white setting and/or against a higher grade diamond.

Keep scrolling to check out a diamond color chart for a visual breakdown of the letter scale.

 
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