Diamond Grades and Value: Know What You’re Getting

Setting The Record Straight On Diamond Grades

When diamonds became a commercial commodity, diamond grades had to be created due to the various parameters involved in diamonds specifically diamond color & clarity.

In 1953 Richard Liddicoat who was then the Chairman of the Gemological Institute of America unveiled the GIA’s D-Z system of color grading.

D being the whitest and Z being the lowest color.

D colored diamonds have a unique icy (read ice cube) look to them.

High color diamonds is a term that is sometimes used to describe diamonds which tend to be between D-J while those below are termed as low color.

The system which starts with the letter D was decided upon due to the commercial abuse of the then existing system which used terms like river, top Wesselton & top silver cape.

Retailers began to lure & confuse customers with promises like extra, extra white stones.

Diamond grading that didn‘t have any commercial appeal had to be developed.

D which universally in academic circles signifies a low grade was decided upon as it couldn’t have consumer appeal.

These grades are available on a diamond grading chart.


Diamond weigh.1 gram equals 5 carats.

A brief history and some diamond basics

Diamonds are Harder than the rest.

From an average stone to a shinny rock.


Diamond grades

If you’re buying a diamond and would like to get a good deal, you should know about diamond grades criteria.

It’s used to measure the purity of diamonds, and give you an idea about their value.

The most widely recognized standard for diamond clarity is GIA (Gemological Institute of America) diamond grading scale.

The industry also uses it as a benchmark for diamond grades charts.

Initially, the new diamond grading system was only used in the GIA classroom but many other students began to look to the GIA as a reference.

They did this to verify their own grading & eventually turned to them to grade their diamonds for them.

After having a decade of experience in commercial diamond grading, the GIA improved their equipment & viewing environment in the 1960s. This was in order to obtain more consistent results.

The clarity was also agreed upon within the industry and it has remained more or less constant.


clarity chart

A diamond’s clarity always plays an important role no matter what cut is being considered.

Clarity effects how light reflects off of the diamond and its rough edges are perceived.

It influences how much brilliance or fire can be seen, and it is also an important factor in how a diamond is priced.

Diamonds with high clarity grades are typically rare, and the most prized among them is the diamond with a “diamond clarity grade of VVS1” and a “color grade of D – F.”

With such a combination, no inclusions are visible to the naked eye unless you have a magnifying glass.

If you have this kind of diamond, you will be a minority of all diamond owners.

Diamond clarity may be the biggest difference between a stone that looks great and one that looks dull and lifeless.

The higher the clarity ie. the less the number of inclusions, the more beautiful the diamond will look.

The GIA also changed its color diamond grading.

Light-brown diamonds had for decades been classed at the high end of the color scale & so were easy to be integrated into the D-Z system.

This is as opposed to yellow stones which were at the bottom of the scale.

The Argyle mine in Australia began to produce a lot of brown stones in the mid 1980s & so light-brown began to cover the full range of the scale.


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The GIA developed a set of brown master stones for use internally (master stones are Ideal cut diamonds that are used to compare other diamonds against) to check the diamond grades.

All brown diamond grades below J are noted with the letter grade & a color description K, L and M colors come with the designation “faint brown,” while N-to-R colors are described as “very light” brown and S to Z as “light brown”.

Just like GIA color grading, Argyle color grading system is most popular with brown, pink, purple, red & blue diamonds.

Below is the color grading chart for loose brown diamonds.

brown diamonds color scaleImage Attribution:

The C6 – C8 are valued more due to the rare dark tone. Whereas, considering C1 to C5, lighter the price will be lower.

Diamond Rings | Grades

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