When we speak of the Color of a diamond, we refer to its "whiteness", or lack of color. Of course, this does not apply to fancy color diamonds, which can range in color from blue to light yellow. Fancy colored diamonds, as they are called, are graded differently.
When grading the whiteness or lack of color in a diamond, stones are compared to a standardized scale under very strict lighting conditions. Without controlling the value, hue and intensity of the lighting conditions under which stones are viewed, locating a diamond on the color scale would be pointless.
The image which follows shows how minute differences can be. This represents colorlessness (left) to a yellow tint (right).
The Gemological Institue of America's (GIA) professional color scale ranges from a highest rating of "D" (for colorless) to "Z" for stones bearing trace colors.
Tips About Color Selection
Diamonds graded from D to F are virtually colorless and rare. Because they are rare, they are greatly valued. Expect them to be expensive.
Diamonds graded from G to I will appear completely colorless to most people. Someone with a trained and practiced eye could see the extremely light tinting. Diamonds graded from J through M will show a slight, visible tint toward yellow, and those graded past M will certainly exhibit color.
If you are choosing either platinum or white gold for your setting, you'll want a more pristine, colorless diamond. For settings of yellow gold, some people find that yellow in the diamond resonates warmly, pleasantly, with the tone of the gold.