The 4Cs – Diamond Colour

24 Feb, 2020, 5:31 AM

The 4Cs refer to the four characteristics by which diamond quality is judged. These are diamond colour, clarity, cut and carat weight. However, it’s important to remember that these factors are just a general guideline – every single diamond is unique and can vary greatly within these characteristics.

White Diamonds

An absence of colour in white diamonds denotes high quality – the more colourless the diamond, the more value it carries. The GIA white diamond colour chart ranges from D (the rarest and most colourless) down to Z, which has the most presence of colour and therefore the least value.

Based on MDTdesign standards, we consider D, E, F and G to be the rarest whites in terms of diamond colour, while grades lower in the scale mean yellow or brown hues are much more visible to the naked eye. The same doesn’t apply to grades D to G – unless you put a loose D-coloured and G-coloured diamond next to each other on white grading paper. In this case, you will notice a slight difference in diamond colour from the side view.

Fancy Colour Diamonds

These are available in natural colours including blue, pink, green, yellow, purple, red, champagne and cognac. In between, there are different hues such as greyish and orange-ish. Fancy colour diamonds are judged by a different diamond colour grading scale, whereby a greater colour intensity and vividness make the diamond more valuable and sometimes extremely rare.

Coloured diamonds can also be certified. For example, pink Argyle and yellow Ellendale diamonds come with Argyle or Ellendale certification, and can also be accompanied by a GIA certificate.
The grading chart for fancy coloured diamonds on a GIA certificate is as follows:

  • Faint
  • Very Light
  • Light
  • Fancy Light
  • Fancy
  • Fancy Intense
  • Fancy Vivid
  • Fancy Deep

Things to Consider

Keep in mind that this is a spectrum of diamond colour. So for example, one diamond graded as Fancy Intense may show more or less colour than another diamond with the same grade, as one may be top-end and the other a lower-end Fancy Intense. Because of this, prices will generally vary across the range, but the thing to remember is that the most important factor in a coloured diamond is the colour!

In terms of rarity, blue, red, purple and pink diamonds are extremely rare, and the Argyle mine located in Western Australia has unearthed some of the most valuable diamonds the world has seen. You can read more about Australian Argyle pink and Australian Ellendale Yellow varieties here and here.

Please feel free to contact us for any additional information.