Fancy Colored Diamond Grading Scale And Charts

The ideal, utopist diamond is a bunch of pure carbon atoms aligned in a crystal lattice. However, this only appears in chemistry textbooks or in sterile laboratories – and never in the feature stones of engagement rings that were formed naturally.

During a diamond’s formation, natural occurring elements like nitrogen, boron or aluminum can enter the diamond’s crystal lattice. This distortion of the lattice is responsible for the color appearance of the stone and is largely dependent on the composition of specific trace elements.

Diamonds are graded based on a system of 4Cs that was created by GIA. Color is one of the elements that makes up a key component in a diamond’s value. In white or colorless diamonds, the absence of color drives the value of the stone upwards due to relative rarity in nature. Hence, when we are talking about the normal color range of diamonds, less is actually more!

The GIA Color Grading Scale And Chart Illustration

diamond color chart illustration

When we delve into the other end of the spectrum, any diamond that lies out of the scale is graded as a fancy colored diamond (FCD). Here’s also where things work in a totally different manner. Instead of assigning a diamond’s color as a single alphabet like D or J, fancy colored diamonds are described with words based on its hue.

Understanding Hue And Its Importance

Below is an illustration to help you understand the concept if hue. In essence, there are 27 main descriptions of hues used in GIA’s system. These include green, pink, blue as well as mixed combinations like greenish yellow or purplish pink.

fancy colored diamond grading scale

Here Are 4 Real Life Examples

fancy deep orangy brown trilliant– 1.39 Carat Trillion Cut
– Fancy Deep Orangy Brown
 Click Here to View Full Details…
fancy deep brownish orange oval– 0.42 Carat Trillion Cut
– Fancy Deep Brownish Orange
 Click Here to View Full Details…
fancy greenish yellow cushion cut– 0.53 Carat Cushion Cut
– Fancy Greenish Yellow
 Click Here to View Full Details…
fancy yellowish green radiant cut– 0.55 Carat Radiant Cut
– Fancy Yellowish Green
 Click Here to View Full Details…


As you might have guessed, the value of a fancy colored diamond is actually dependent on the hue it possess. In this case, the rarer the hue, the more valuable the diamond becomes! For example, pink coloration is extremely rare in nature while brown is the most common fancy diamond color. Needless to say, price differences between such stones can be as high as a 100 times!

  • Take note that the predominant color is always stated last. For example, if GIA describes a diamond as fancy purplish pink, the dominant color is PINK and not purple.

    Paul Gian


    Terms Used to Describe Intensity/Saturation

    Apart from hue, there are two other characteristics which are used to describe the exact color of a given stone. These are tone and saturation. Tone refers to the relative lightness or darkness of a color. Saturation refers to the strength of the color.

    The GIA differentiates nine levels of saturation. These are, in increasing order “faint”, “very light”, “light”, “fancy light”, “fancy”, “fancy intense”, “fancy dark”, “fancy deep” and “fancy vivid”. Some hues can exist in all of the nine saturation levels, but some of them are might not follow the same rules. For example, orange diamonds are not found in the first six saturation levels and only exists as fancy dark, fancy deep or fancy vivid. Likewise, blue diamonds typically do not occur in such a wide range of levels too.

    table showing intensity variations

    Let’s visualize with some examples to help you get a better understanding of the face up view of various intensities.

    Fancy Light Yellow

    1 carat fancy light yellow

    1.02 Carat Fancy Light Yellow – $3,420

    Fancy Yellow

    fancy yellow pear shaped diamond

    1.23 Carat Fancy Yellow VVS2 – $8,510

    Fancy Intense Yellow

    fancy intense yellow pear diamond

    1.07 Carat Fancy Intense Yellow VS2 – $8,550

    Fancy Vivid Yellow

    fancy vivid yellow diamonds

    0.71 Carat Fancy Vivid Yellow VS1 – $8,480

    Broadly speaking, the stronger the hue of a diamond, the more valuable and desirable the stone is. This means that an accurate grading of the diamond is paramount to helping shoppers gauge the value of the stone. For this reason, I only recommend GIA reports. You should NEVER buy colored diamonds without certifications and you should avoid reports from labs like EGL or IGI who are well known for their lax standards.


    1. dennis peterson-Reply
      October 29, 2014 at 4:22 pm


    2. Nelson-Reply
      July 13, 2017 at 10:13 am

      The pictures seen of diamonds is so beautiful and had seen the cost for very first time and hope to work if I could get a chance so that I may have a chance to see in my hand a real diamond how’s it feel like.

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