L Color Diamonds – A Spotlight on Faint Yellow Diamond Rings

rose gold solitaire diamond ring with l color diamond

When it comes to diamonds, it’s no secret that the majority of consumers prefer to buy colorless (D, E, F) and near colorless (G, H, I, J) stones. Sadly, diamonds in the lower color range often get dissed because of stigmas like “colorless diamonds are more beautiful” and “diamonds with higher color ratings sparkle better”.

It’s really unfortunate because these are misconceptions that many shoppers blindly believe in. The truth is, lower colored diamonds can look just as awesome as colorless diamonds. They can emit identical levels of brilliance and fire if they are well-cut.

Today, I’m going to take you into the world of L color diamonds and highlight the benefits of buying faint yellow diamond rings.

An Overview of L Colored Diamonds

diamonds of different color in lab grading conditions

Source: Color Grading “D-Z” Diamonds at the GIA Laboratory; GIA

GIA describes L color diamonds as having a “faint” color. In all likelihood, you will be able to see a warm body color even with an untrained eye. Now, I want to be clear that this isn’t like viewing H colored diamonds where you might see only a slight nuance of color in certain environments.

When it comes to L color diamonds, you WILL see a slightly yellowish stone under most lighting conditions. This phenomenon can easily be observed even in well-cut stones that display ideal optics.

profile view versus face up view

Face up view versus profile view of an L diamond

Speaking from experience, I know some people get turned off by diamonds with too much color. On the other hand, there are also many others who find the creamy colors appealing.

At this point, I will go on record to say that I find lower colored diamonds to be really attractive; especially if the diamond is cut well and is mounted in the right setting.

If you are looking for ideal cut diamonds in the lower color regions, Brian Gavin and Victor Canera are 2 fantastic vendors that I highly recommend.

Advantages of Buying a Faint Yellow L Color Diamond

#1. Get a Significantly Larger Diamond For LESS Money!

First of all, L colored diamonds offer exceptional value for consumers with smaller budgets. Due to the way diamond prices are structured, the cost of an L diamond is usually less than 2 times that of an E diamond with similar carat/clarity/cut specifications.

Here’s a comparison between 2 similar diamonds with color ratings of E and L respectively.

e diamond vs l diamond

The price per carat of the E diamond is $10,414 while the price per carat of the diamond with L color is $5,225. If you do the math, that’s about a 100% difference in cost.

And if you start comparing larger size diamonds above 2 to 3 carats, you’ll discover that the price differences can be up to a staggering 3-4 times more. In terms of absolute value, this translates to tens of thousands of dollars!

#2. Use the Color Tint to Your Advantage

For people who have decided on yellow gold or rose gold settings, selecting a lower colored diamond to complement the setting will result in a win-win situation.

Why?

When a warm colored diamond is mounted in yellow gold or rose gold settings, it blends well with the metal. On the contrary, even if you decide to pay a premium for a D colored diamond, the stone will still appear tinted because it will pick up color from the setting.

So, let me ask you a question from a practical point of view. Why should you pay so much more for higher color diamonds only to have it appear “yellowish”? It doesn’t make sense unless you have symbolic reasons to do so.

tinted diamond color ring with rose gold
yellow gold 4 prong solitaire tinted diamond

Can you see the color of the setting being reflected within the diamonds?

#3. Recreate the Feel of a Vintage Style Engagement Ring

In recent years, vintage diamond ring designs have seen a surge in demand and popularity. One of the ways to achieve a vintage look is through the use of warm colored diamonds.

Obviously, the diamond’s cutting style and the ring setting design would also play a role in the final outlook. For example, the choice of old European cut (OEC) and old miner cut (OMC) diamonds in lower color ranges will give the ring a rustic flavor.

victor canera antique style halo faint yellow diamond ring

Victor Canera’s signature Emilya setting with a cathedral shank in rose gold.

Victor Canera is a vendor who specializes in ideal cut OECs and OMCs. His signature diamonds are crafted for the best light performance and visual beauty in the world. Remember to check out his hand-forged ring settings too!

Tips to Buying L Colored Diamonds

If you look beyond the social stigmas, lower colored diamonds offer a unique look to an engagement ring and gives you a bigger bang for your buck. For people who love diamonds with a warmth in them, lower colored diamonds are a match made in heaven for you.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when you go shopping:

1) Cut is KING. Diamonds with great cut qualities will look fantastic regardless of their color grades. Always focus on cut above everything else.

2) Blue fluorescence can help offset the yellowish tint in environments with UV lighting (i.e. sunlight in open spaces).

3) Lower colored diamonds usually don’t contrast well against most white gold or platinum ring setting designs. A shiny white gold solitaire setting will only serve to make the tinted diamond stand out like a sore thumb.

4) Likewise, beware of ring designs that utilize higher color melees. In halo and pave settings, you don’t want higher colored melees to emphasize the tinted color of the center stone.

Where to Buy Lower Colored Diamonds With Ideal Optics?

Due to market demand, most jewelers don’t stock diamonds below K colors in their inventory. In fact, it is harder to find a well cut L color diamond than it is to find a D internally flawless diamond.

Don’t believe me? Try your hand at searching for an L color diamond online or visit a local store to see if you can find one. It’s going to be like digging for a needle in a haystack.

If you want to avoid all the hassle and buy a diamond with reliable levels of light performance, I recommend checking out Brian Gavin and Victor Canera. Both are reputable vendors who offer beautiful diamonds cut to the strictest standards in the industry.

With that, I hope you enjoyed reading today’s article. Do leave a comment to let me know if you have any questions or want to share your diamond shopping experience with us.

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4 Comments

  1. aleah-
    December 29, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    I love this article! It’s written so clear and interesting. Do you mind if I share it? On my blog

  2. AP-
    February 7, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    What is your view on this diamond which will I am planning on including in a rose gold setting: https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.01-carat-j-color-vvs1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-782889

    It may be the lighting but seems that it has more colour than a typical J?

    Thanks

    Amit

  3. Lisa Myers-
    February 14, 2017 at 2:27 am

    I inherited my grandfathers antique European diamond, color L, with VVS2 clarity. It is 1.3 carats. I went to a private jeweler and just the diamond (round) appraised at $10,000. This article doesn’t really speak of old diamonds hand cut in the 1800’s to 1930’s.

  4. Paul Gian-
    February 14, 2017 at 4:07 am

    Yep, you are right. The crown angles are way too low.

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