Diamond Color Scale

By Frank

Highly experienced diamond polisher who loves to share his knowledge with you. Continues to stun his colleagues with interesting - or simply bizarre - facts about diamonds and gems.

August 14, 2019

Diamonds come in almost every color imaginable. Most rare colors like pink, blue and popping yellow are highly-priced. We call these ‘fancy’ colored diamonds. But the most well-known diamond color is white. However, there are different varieties of white. A diamond can be almost colorless while other white diamonds have a yellowish hue. That is why we have a diamond color scale, also known as a diamond color chart.

Names and letters to identify a diamond color

Every tint in the white color range has its own letter and name. The thing that makes it difficult is that some diamond companies exclusively use names while others stick to the letters. Both the letters and the names say something about the diamond’s color. But they are not exactly the same and they partly overlap.

river colored diamond in black box

Color scale with names

In Europe, we mainly use names to describe the color and color intensity of a certain stone:

  • River
  • Top Wesselton
  • Wesselton
  • Top Crystal
  • Crystal
  • Top Cape
  • Cape
  • Low Cape
  • Light Yellow
  • Yellow

River refers to the whitest, or actually colorless, color possible. Top Wesselton is also known as a rare white. Wesselton is also still white. When you go further down, you find the slightly tinted colors. For commercial use we usually recommend diamonds up to Crystal. Every color below crystal is noticeably more yellow. If you want a diamond without a yellow hue, we recommend not going below Wesselton.

diamond color scale from Royal Coster DiamondsColor scale with letters

The United States and other parts of America mostly use letters to refer to the color of a diamond. The letters run from D to Z. D refers to the whitest diamond (River) and Z is a dark yellow color. The diamond color names do somewhat correspond with the letters, but they are not 100% aligned. D and E are River. F and G are the same as Top Wesselton. H is Wesselton, I and J are somewhere between Top Crystal and Crystal. That’s why we recommend to not go below J-colored diamonds. If you want to stay in the safe ‘white diamond’ zone, opt for an H-colored stone or higher.

Why does the diamond letter scale start with D?

The Gemological Institute of America (the GIA) created the letter color grading system. Before they made it, there were different grading systems in circulation. Some used A-graded diamonds. Or A++. Some scales had numeric systems, and others had vague descriptions such as “gem blue” or “blue white”. It was a complete mess. The GIA decided to implement a whole new system without any associations with old systems. That’s why they started their new diamond color scale with the letter D.

woman wearing 3 diamond rings

Get the best-graded diamonds

At Royal Coster Diamonds we have the best and most beautiful diamonds. If you are looking for a river-colored diamond or have another specific diamond color in mind, we can help you with that. We also have diamonds for every budget. With our stock of over 20.000 loose diamonds, we have the perfect stone for you.

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