Diamond Color vs Cut

Diamond Color vs Cut

Bottom Line Recommendations:

  • The cut has a greater effect on the appearance of the diamond compared to the color. With a high-quality cut, you can get a stone that can hide color and other imperfections. Take a look at this princess diamond from James Allen here. Note however that any tint, blemishes or inclusions will be more visible with a larger diamond than with a smaller one.
  • If you decide to go lower on the color scale such as with the faint or very light diamonds, you can make the diamond appear whiter by using a yellow gold setting. The hue reflects through the diamond and cancels out the tint.
  • Many people are drawn to diamonds due to their fire and brilliance. It is the cut that has the largest impact on the light performance of the stone. View an example here.
  • When buying a diamond, always makes sure that you choose a seller that can provide you with high-quality images and 360-degree videos of the stone you are interested in. This is the best way to judge the appearance of the diamond. Our best online vendors are James Allen and the Blue Nile. They offer high definition videos and images as you can see with this princess cut here.

James Allen Diamonds
Many people will have done their homework before they commit to buying a diamond. When evaluating the quality of your diamond, a buyer will base it on the 4Cs. These are the carat weight, clarity cut and color of the stone.

Two of the most important considerations when buying a diamond is the cut and the color.

Let’s discover more.

Diamond Cut

The Diamond Cut

Keep in mind that the diamond’s cut is not its shape. The cut refers to the proportions, symmetry, and angle of the facets as well as the polish.

The diamond cut is the most important of the 4Cs. This is because the cut has the largest influence on the appearance of the diamond.

Three main areas are affected by the cut.

The Brilliance

This is a diamond’s brightness. It is a result of the reflection of light on the surface as well as inside the diamond by the facets. The higher the quality of the cut, the greater the light reflection.

The fire

It is the dispersion of white light into its seven colors. The better the cut, the more the fire resulting in more life. A poor cut will not have much fire making the diamond appear lifeless.

The scintillation

When a diamond is exposed to light, you can see flashes of light going on and off. These flashes are the diamond’s scintillation. A poor cut stone will not display these flashes of light and will look lifeless.

Diamond cut scale

While there are many different diamond labs, by far are the most popular and most widely used by diamond vendors all over the world is the GIA.

The GIA cut scale ranks diamonds based on the quality of the cut in 5 simple-to-read categories as shown below.

ExcellentVery GoodGoodFairPoor


When evaluating the cut quality, note that the cut may affect the appearance of a diamond. A shallower diamond of a particular carat weight will appear larger since the width will be larger.

A diamond with more depth will appear smaller as most of the weight will be at the pavilion or the bottom half of the stone.

Diamond Color Guide

The Diamond Color

Completely colorless diamonds are very rare and most will have a tint of yellow. The more colorless the diamond, the higher its price. For the colorless diamonds, their value goes up with fewer tints.

On the other hand, for fancy color diamonds, which are diamonds that have more color than the Z color scale, their value goes up with more diamond color.

The GIA grades colorless diamonds on a scale starting from D to Z. D represents the colorless diamonds and they are also the rarest and most expensive. Colorless diamonds with the most tints will be ranked the lowest in the Z color scale.

Fancy colored diamonds will have more tint than the Z color scale.

Take a look at the GIA color scale as shown below.

ColorlessNear ColorlessFaintVery LightLight


The D, E and F color scales are considered colorless diamonds. The differences in color are very minuscule and can only be detected under the right magnification.

You can get a great deal with the faint and the near colorless color grades as the prices on these are significantly lower than the colorless grades.

The type of setting can help make diamonds in the lower color scale appears whiter than they are. By choosing a yellow gold setting, the yellow hue reflects through the stone and contrasts with the tint of the stone.

For the D-F color scales, you can use a white gold or platinum setting.

Color vs Cut—Carat weight

The color of a diamond becomes much easier to see as you go up on the carat weight and as the size of the diamond increases. It is easier to make out the interior of the diamond when it is larger than when it is small.

The cut will have a huge impact on the carat weight of the diamond. The cutter aims to retain as much of the diamond as rough as possible. Some brilliant cuts such as the round cut and the radiant cut consume more of the diamond rough which in turn makes them more expensive.

Step cuts do not consume too much of the rough diamond compared to their brilliant-cut counterparts and this means that they are much more affordable.

To remedy the color situation in larger diamonds, consider the type of setting. If you have chosen a diamond that is much lower on the color scale and with higher carat weight, a yellow gold setting can help make the diamond appear whiter.

Color vs cut—Price

Both the cut quality and the color have a huge impact on the price of the diamond. The lower the cut quality, the lower the light performance of the stone and therefore the lower the price.

This is not to say that you should always aim for the best quality cut. By choosing a diamond in the Good cut grade, you can get a great deal. It is not the best idea however to go lower than this.

The lower you go on the color scale, the lower the price of the diamond. You can expect that with all the other factors that can affect a diamond including the carat weight and the proportions being equal, an F color diamond is much cheaper than an E color diamond.

You can also get a great deal by going lower on the color scale. For brilliant cuts, you can go as low as the Faint diamonds. These are affordable and you can improve their appearance by using a yellow gold setting and a yellow gold mounting.

With step cuts, however, their large table facets mean that it is much easier to see any tint of color. Because of this choose diamonds that are in the near-colorless range.

Color vs cut—fire

The fire of a diamond is also affected by the quality of the cut. While some diamond cuts are better at giving off color more than others, generally, the better the cut quality the more the fire.

Fire is a result of white light that is dispersed into its visible seven colors. It gives the diamond its life.

When observing the diamond from above, you can see the different color flashes on the diamond.  A poorly cut stone will not disperse white light which means that it will have less fire.

The color will not have much of an effect on the fire of a diamond. However, the fire of a diamond can hide the color. Getting a stone with excellent cut quality and with a lot of fire that can help hide the color in the diamond. This allows you to go much lower on the color scale and get a stone at a good and affordable price.

Color vs cut—Brilliance

The brilliance of the diamond is mostly affected by the cut quality. This is the brightness of the diamond and is a result of white light being reflected by the many facets and then being sent back to the observer.

Unless you prefer a diamond with more clarity and luster than one with plenty of brilliance, many people will choose a diamond based on its brilliance. This is why the diamond cut is the most important of the 4Cs.

A poorly cut diamond will do not reflect the light that gets in through the crown and will instead lose it through the pavilion facets.

Color doesn’t affect the brilliance of the diamond. However, a diamond lower in the color scale may appear less brilliant. That said, a well-cut diamond will have plenty of brilliance which can help mask any tint of color.

This is good news for anyone who is on a budget. By maintaining a Very Good cut quality and going down on the color scale, you can get a great deal on your diamond.

Color vs cut—blemishes and inclusions

Blemishes are the surface imperfections on a diamond. Inclusions, on the other hand, are imperfections that are situated inside the structure of the diamond.

A diamond’s clarity is based on such imperfections.

The cut quality has a significant effect on how visible the imperfections are. A high-quality cut diamond will have a lot of fire and brilliance which can help hide the imperfections. This means that you can go lower on the clarity scale and get an affordable diamond that still appears eye-clean.

Color doesn’t affect the blemishes and inclusions. In colorless diamonds, the color will do little to hide a diamond’4s imperfection. However, if you are going for fancy colored diamonds, the higher you go on the color scale the more the color and therefore the more the imperfections will be hidden.

Note that even with an excellent cut quality, a step-cut diamond is more likely to show imperfections. Go for a cut that has imperfections near the edges as these are harder to spot than those with imperfections closer to the center.

Color vs cut—a type of cut

Diamonds can be categorized into two main types. These are the brilliant cuts and the step cuts. The brilliant cuts include the round cut, princess cut, marquise cut, pear shape, heart cut, radiant cut, cushion cut, oval cut. These are cut to show off their fire and brilliance thus the name.

The step cuts include the Asscher cut and the emerald cut. These are cut to show off the diamond’s luster.

A high-quality cut is needed in all types of diamonds. Otherwise, they will look dull and lifeless. Step cuts can have a dark area where light is not reflected and escapes. This can be easy to see and makes the diamond less appealing.

Step cuts are also not able to hide color owing to their large facets and large tables. Seeing straight into the diamond is simple which means that spotting tint is easy.

On the other hand, brilliant cuts are much better at hiding color due to their fire and brilliance. You can go much further down the color scale with brilliant cuts.

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