Diamonds are graded using a grading system based on the 4C’s: Cut, Color, Carat and Clarity. The Color grade applies differently to fancy colored diamonds because they are supposed to be colored, as opposed to traditional diamonds which are supposed to be colorless. Whether buying a diamond engagement ring or the next addition to your jewelry collection, there are certain things to consider when purchasing either a flawless or fancy diamond.

Color Grades for Flawless or Fancy Diamonds

For diamonds, color is a personal preference, but when it comes to traditional diamonds, little to no color is best. As diamonds grow under the pressure of the earth, traces of nitrogen can color the growing diamond. The pressure also adds to the diamond’s distortion which can offset the color from clear to a yellowish tint.

The grading system we mentioned earlier grades diamonds based on the absence of color. On a scale of D-Z, a D grade diamond (on the lower end of the scale) has the least amount of color—meaning it’s a flawless diamond. A Z-colored diamond has deeper yellow tones, and this is when it enters the realm of fancy colored diamonds.

BUYING TIP: The closer you are to the higher end of the spectrum (closer to Z), the more you want to pay attention to the intensity of the color. Because the more intense the color, the more rare the diamond.

The Yellow Diamond

Like the famous Tiffany Yellow Diamond, fancy diamonds can truly capture the sight and hearts of millions. Let’s look at what makes a fancy diamond exquisite using the popular yellow diamond, so you know what to look for when purchasing your next fancy diamond engagement ring and jewelry.

First note that natural colored diamonds are exceptionally rare. Among naturally colored diamonds are pinks, purples, blues, greens, oranges and yellows. Yellow diamonds are perhaps the most common among naturally colored diamonds, making up about 60% of the colored diamond family.

Now, when looking at a fancy diamond’s scale for a yellow diamond, it is graded as a green yellow diamond or a yellow green diamond, with the first color being the secondary tone. It can get a bit confusing so take a look at this picture:


The more flawless a colorless diamond, the more expensive it is. They become even more expensive as they become larger and the same applies to fancy color diamonds, with one exception: the price of fancy color diamonds vary based on the numerous color combinations. A brown tint for example is more affordable than a fancy color diamond with a green or orange tint, which can be more expensive.

Pricing with fancy diamonds starts with color whereas pricing with traditional diamonds may lean more on clarity more than color, if not equally.

We hope you feel a bit more confidence in your diamond shopping adventure. Our guide to buying diamonds provides a more comprehensive overview of the 4C’s so you can walk into the jewelry store armed with knowledge and ready to buy. Whether you want a flawless diamond or a fancy diamond, our Diamond Broker engagement ring experts have you covered. Visit our Dallas store today or go online to see our collection of loose diamonds and settings.