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What are the names of the colors of diamonds?

What are the names of the colors of diamonds?

Diamonds come in a variety of colors, ranging from the rare and valuable vivid hues like red, blue, and pink to more common tones like yellow, brown, and gray. The color of a diamond is determined by chemical impurities and structural defects in the crystal lattice structure during its formation deep underground. While colorless diamonds are the most popular, colored diamonds exhibit an exquisite beauty. Each diamond color has its own set of grading scales and descriptive names used in the gemstone industry.

The Causes of Diamond Color

In order to understand the different names used for colored diamonds, it is important to first understand what causes the color variation in diamonds. Here are the main factors that influence diamond color:

– Chemical Impurities – Trace elements like nitrogen, boron, and hydrogen present during diamond formation impact color. Nitrogen impurities, for example, can cause yellow, brown, pink, red, green, blue, and purple hues.

– Crystal Structure – Structural irregularities and lattice defects in the diamond’s crystalline formation also affect color. These are caused by plastic deformation during growth.

– Radiation Exposure – Diamonds can change color after formation through prolonged exposure to radiation sources. This causes structural damage to the crystal lattice.

So in essence, subtle differences in chemical composition during and after diamond formation leads to the full spectrum of colors found in nature. Next we’ll explore the specific color grading scales and color names used.

Grading Scales for Colored Diamonds

Gemological laboratories use specific color grading systems to classify colored diamonds and determine their rarity and value. The main scales are:

For Yellow, Brown, and Champagne Diamonds:

– Cape Series – Ranks color saturation from C1 to C7 (C7 being pure yellow)
– GIA Colors – Terms like Fancy Light, Fancy Dark, Fancy Vivid Yellow

For Pink Diamonds:

– Argyle Pink Diamond Color Grading – 0 to 9, with 9 being the pinkest
– GIA Type Classification – Fancy Pink, Fancy Vivid Pink, Fancy Deep Pink

For Blue Diamonds:

– GIA Type Classification – Fancy Light, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid Blue
– Blue Diamond Color Grading – Faint Blue to Fancy Dark Blue

For Red Diamonds:

– GIA Type Classification – Fancy Red, Fancy Vivid Red, Fancy Deep Red
– Red Diamond Color Intensity Scale – Fancy Light to Fancy Deep

For Green Diamonds:

– GIA Type Classification – Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Dark Green
– Green Diamond Color Saturation Scale – Fancy Light to Fancy Deep

So grading systems classify diamonds into color types, intensities, and saturations. Next we’ll go through the specific color names that correspond with these scales.

Names of Diamond Colors

Here are the standard color terms used to refer to diamonds across the color spectrum:

White, Colorless, and Near Colorless Diamonds:

– D, E, F – Colorless
– G, H, I, J – Near Colorless
– K, L, M – Faint Yellow

Yellow and Brown Diamonds:

– Cape Yellow
– Fancy Light Yellow
– Fancy Yellow
– Fancy Intense Yellow
– Fancy Vivid Yellow
– Fancy Deep Yellow
– Fancy Dark Yellow
– Cognac
– Champagne

Pink Diamonds:

– Fancy Light Pink
– Fancy Pink
– Fancy Intense Pink
– Fancy Vivid Pink
– Fancy Deep Pink

Red Diamonds:

– Fancy Light Red
– Fancy Red
– Fancy Dark Red
– Fancy Vivid Red
– Fancy Deep Red

Blue Diamonds:

– Faint Blue
– Fancy Light Blue
– Fancy Blue
– Fancy Intense Blue
– Fancy Vivid Blue
– Fancy Dark Blue

Green Diamonds:

– Fancy Light Green
– Fancy Green
– Fancy Intense Green
– Fancy Vivid Green
– Fancy Deep Green

These names denote the color intensity and are aligned with the various grading scales used for each color variety. The more color saturated diamonds command higher prices due to rarity.

Most Valuable Diamond Colors

The most valuable and coveted diamond colors are red, blue, pink, green, and purple. Here is an overview:

Red – Red diamonds are the rarest and most expensive. Named “fire diamonds”, only a handful have been found. The current record sale price for a red diamond is $5 million per carat.

Blue – Occurring occasionally in nature, blue diamonds fetch prices up to $4 million per carat for vivid blues.

Pink – After red, pink diamonds are the next most sought after. Vivid pink diamonds can cost $1-2 million per carat.

Green – Though rare, green diamonds are more commonly found than red, pink, or blue. Fancy vivid green diamonds cost approximately $3,000 per carat.

Purple – Very few natural purple diamonds exist. Typically they display red and blue dual coloring. These can exceed $1 million per carat.

So in summary, red, pink, and blue are the most prized diamond colors, with green and purple also highly valuable. Next we’ll look at some more common diamond colors.

Most Common Diamond Colors

While intensely colored diamonds are exceptionally rare, these are the more frequently occurring diamond colors:

Near Colorless – G,H,I diamonds have faint yellow/brown hues visible only to a skilled grader. These are the most common among colorless diamonds.

Light Yellow – Faint yellow diamonds cost 10-15% less than colorless. Popular for their warm glow.

Fancy Light Yellow – More saturated light yellow hue. Approximately 15-25% less expensive than colorless diamonds.

Cognac – Light to medium brownish-yellow diamonds. The term cognac denotes a warm, elegant feel.

Champagne – Light yellow to golden brown diamonds evoking the sparkle of the beverage.

So while not as rare as vivid pinks or blues, these light yellow, brown, and champagne diamonds have a distinctive beauty. They offer options for those desiring color without the high cost of intensely saturated hues.

Evaluating Diamond Color

When evaluating the color of diamonds, these are important factors to consider:

Intensity – Vivid colors are rarer than lighter tones and thus more valuable.

Hue – Reds, blues, and pinks are considered the fancy diamond colors. Yellows, browns, and champagne are more common.

Uniformity – Consistent color distribution is ideal. Patches of color or gray reduce value.

Fluorescence – Blue fluorescence can negate yellow tints, but too much can create haze.

Settings – Rose or yellow gold can enhance warm colors, while white gold/platinum bring out icy blues.

Larger Sizes – Over 1 carat, maintaining color intensity is harder and pricier.

So appraising diamond color requires assessing many factors. Partnering with a reputable jeweler is key for both education and sourcing quality colored diamonds.

Most Popular Diamond Colors for Engagement Rings

When it comes to diamonds for engagement rings or other fine jewelry, here are the most popular color varieties:

Colorless – D,E,F color grades are valued for their icy, brilliant sparkle. Timeless and traditional.

Near Colorless – G,H diamonds strike a balance between beauty and affordability.

Fancy Light Yellow – Subtle warm glow complements all skin tones. A stunning, creative alternative to colorless.

Champagne – On trend with vintage and antique-inspired settings. Romantic, understated luxury.

So while white diamonds remain the customary choice, light yellows and champagnes make distinctive and gorgeous engagement ring stones.

Unique Diamond Colors and Fancy Varieties

For those seeking one-of-a-kind diamonds, these rare color varieties offer exceptional uniqueness:

Black Diamonds – Extremely rare, they offer a gorgeous ebony hue.

Gray Diamonds – Elegant neutral color. Also called “salt and pepper” diamonds.

Orange Diamonds – Vibrant color caused by nitrogen impurities.

Purple Diamonds – Captivating mix of blue and red.

Pink Champagne Diamonds – Beautiful marriage of pink and champagne.

Chameleon Diamonds – Display an array of colors depending on lighting conditions.

So while not common in nature, these striking diamond colors offer one-of-a-kind options for luxury jewelry.


Diamonds mesmerize with their kaleidoscope of colors. While white diamonds are the most abundant, colored varieties exhibit a sensational spectrum from light yellows, browns, and champagnes to the ultimate trifecta of vivid red, blue, and pink. Each diamond color possesses its own grading scale, descriptive terms, and monetary value. But above all, the magnificence of a diamond derives from its ability to refract light into a pure explosion of color. When selecting a diamond, color is a key consideration, but the most important fact is that each dazzling color has its own unique beauty and tells the singular story of its formation below the earth’s surface billions of years ago.