One common misconception that many shoppers have is the belief that colorless (D-F) diamonds will exhibit better brilliance than lower colored diamonds. In reality, the deciding factor that determines the beauty of a diamond lies in its cut and not the color it has.
The untrained eye cannot tell the difference between 2 diamonds that are one or two color grades from another. For example, D-E or G-I or F-G. In fact, most people can’t tell the stones apart until they are at least 3 to 4 grades away from each other. This is also under the circumstance that the diamonds are placed side by side for a comparison.
Although the presence of color will decrease the stone’s value, a well-cut J colored diamond can emit more fire, brilliance and look whiter than a poorly cut I colored diamond.
If you want to get the maximum value for your purchase, a diamond in the G-H range would still be a great choice as it would appear colorless to the naked eye. The reason I recommend buying near-colorless diamonds is that the price differences between the D-F range and G-H range can be very significant.
For practical reasons, instead of spending more money on an attribute that you might not be able to see, you might want to consider spending it on a higher carat size where its impact on a casual observation would be the greatest.
The shape of the diamond you intend to purchase will be a factor in choosing its color. Since the optical properties will vary from one shape to another due to different faceting patterns, some shapes are more prone to “retaining and “showing off” their inherent body color.
This phenomenon is typically found in elongated shapes like the oval, marquise and pear where the hue saturation can easily seen near the pointed tips. Likewise, in step cuts like Asschers and emeralds, there is less brilliance and scintillation to help mask body color compared to the round diamonds.
For this reason, I would recommend sticking with better color grades (a minimum of G) if you don’t want to see a tinge of yellow.
If you are on a tighter budget, you might want to consider diamonds in the J-K range that have medium or strong blue fluorescence since they are usually sold at a discounted price. Due to the nature of light behavior, blue fluorescence can actually help “correct” a yellow hue in the diamond and thereby, making them appear whiter. For more details, there’s a separate article written on this topic here.
Though rare, you would want to avoid stones with yellow fluorescence. Unlike blue fluorescence, yellow fluorescence can make a diamond appear more yellowish than it is!
Well cut diamonds can “absorb” color from their environment easily. As a result of this, the ring setting also plays a vital role in deciding what you ultimately choose. If the ring setting of your choice is yellow gold, the good news is that you can have more leeway with lower color grades.
This is because the color of the diamond is much more readily noticed when it is seated against a contrasted background. If the stone is to be set in a yellow backdrop, the distinction would be far less noticeable as there is less contrast. In such scenarios, the yellow tinge of J-K diamonds would blend in better on yellow gold settings than it would on a white gold setting.
In the example on the right, I want to bring your attention to the yellow gold diamond ring. Can you can see that the internal reflections actually look yellowish compared to the other diamond in the white gold setting?
If you placed a D colored diamond in a 18k yellow gold setting, it would really be a waste of money because the icy white nature of a D would now look like a J or K. Furthermore, the D colored diamond will look “awkward” in place due to a palatable difference in color.
Can you see how the facets of the stone picks up color from the gold ribbon?
Next, if you are wondering how a D colored diamond looks like beside a H colored diamond, you are going to enjoy reading the following page. I am going to show you real life side-by-side comparisons of diamonds with various colors.