The Ultimate Lab Diamond Color Handbook

Lab Diamond Color Guide

Lab Diamond Color Guide

Lab Diamond Color Guide

Both natural and laboratory-grown diamonds are available in various shapes, sizes, and colors. The four C’s—color, cut, clarity, and carat—are used to evaluate diamond quality. Dive in to learn about diamond color, its scale, and how to choose the right color for a lab-grown diamond.

What is Diamond Color?

Similar to natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds can differ in quality depending on their lab processes. Two primary methods for creating lab diamonds are High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD):

  • HPHT: Involves adding a diamond “seed” to carbon. This small fragment of natural diamond endures extreme temperatures (over 1,300-1,600 degrees Celsius) and pressures (up to one million pounds per square inch). This process imitates the conditions deep within the Earth where natural diamonds form.
  • CVD: Starts with a diamond “seed” placed in a vacuum chamber filled with carbon-rich gases. These gases are heated to over 1,000 degrees, transforming into plasma, which helps in building the diamond’s layers.

Diamond Color Scale

Diamond Color Grades Color Visibility
D Colorless
E Colorless
F Colorless
G Near Colorless
H Near Colorless
I Near Colorless
J Near Colorless
K Faint Yellow
L Faint Yellow

Colorless (Grades D, E and F)

The highest-grade color available, “D” lab diamonds are completely colorless, showing no color even under magnification. Grade E and F diamonds are also colorless to the naked eye, almost rivaling grade D.

Near Colorless (Grades G, H, I and J)

Although these diamonds appear relatively colorless, they don’t match the high quality of grades F, E, and D. However, you can get them at a lower price while still enjoying a stunning diamond.

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Faint Tint (K, L and M)

Diamonds graded K to M have a faint tint, with a visible pale-yellow hue. They are attractive and warm-toned but are not considered top quality.

Very Light Tint (N-R)

Lower-grade diamonds in this range exhibit a very light tint, with a noticeable yellow-brown hue, making them more affordable.

Light Tint (S-Z)

As the lowest grade, these diamonds show a clear brown or yellow shade, making them the least expensive option.

Colors Impact on Price

Higher-grade diamonds naturally command higher prices, with grade D being the most expensive. Grade E and F diamonds are also excellent choices. Opting for a G to J grade diamond offers beauty at a lower cost.

Typically, lab diamonds cost about one-third less than their natural counterparts.

Best Color for Diamond Shapes

Some diamond shapes highlight color more than others. For example, pointed shapes like pear, marquise, and princess cuts show yellow more prominently at the corners, while round brilliant cuts hide color well.

Diamond Color Factors

Carat Weight: When choosing a larger diamond, prioritize color grade, as cut and color impact a ring’s appearance more than clarity and carat.

Fluorescence: Under UV light or direct sunlight, diamonds may glow, which can negatively impact higher color grades (D, E, and F) by making them appear dull or hazy.

Buying Tips for Lab Diamond Color

Every diamond is unique, so evaluate each lab-grown diamond individually. If you favor larger diamonds, do not compromise on color grade. Prioritize cut and color, especially for diamonds above 1 carat, where a G or H color grade minimizes yellow appearance. For uncertain carat choices, a diamond with a color grade between G and J is optimal.

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Fancy Diamond Colors

Lab-grown colored diamonds are both affordable and visually stunning. Yellow lab diamonds range from pale to vivid hues, controlled during the lab process. Lab diamonds can also be orange (due to solvents) or blue (due to boron exposure).

Pink diamonds, popular for their varying shades, achieve their color through post-growth irradiation and annealing.

Diamond Color Types


Are lab-grown diamonds colorless?

IGI-certified diamonds use a graded color scale. The less color a diamond has, the higher the grading it will receive, ranging from D (colorless) to Z (noticeable yellow or brown hue).

Does the Color of the Diamond affect its sparkle?

While color doesn’t directly impact sparkle, a strong yellow tint can make inclusions more visible, darkening the diamond. Generally, the more intense the color, the less bright it appears.

Does diamond color affect the price?

A diamond’s color impacts its rarity and, consequently, its price. Rare diamonds are significantly more valuable than common ones.

Is Diamond Fluorescence Good or Bad?

Fluorescence can negatively affect higher color grades (D, E, and F). Strong blue fluorescence can lead to an oily, hazy, or grayish look, dulling the diamond.

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