What Is The Best Diamond Color Grade to Buy?

So, how do you go about determining what is the best diamond color grade for your purchase? It boils down to your own preferences and how color sensitive you are. 

For diamonds in the colorless range (D,E,F), they appear cool, icy white. Due to their relative rarity, they are priced at a higher premium. If money were no object, these are the gemstones I would love to get my hands on.

For diamonds in the near colorless range (G,H,I,J), color tints would be not easier to differentiate as you go down the scale. To most untrained eyes, G and H color would face up white and this is the range of diamonds where you get a good balance between icy white appearances and affordable costs.

Any grades from faint colors like K,L,M onwards would have an apparent hint of yellow to the diamond. If you are color adverse, you should avoid diamonds below this grading band.

Interestingly, when a diamond is viewed from a top down manner, the body color would not be that obvious to your eye. In the case of ideally cut diamonds, the extra brilliance and scintillation will help mask body color significantly.

d color vs j color diamond

  • Did you know that the presence of nitrogen in a diamond’s chemical composition is responsible for its yellowish color? Just one part in a million would cause the stone to appear as a K color!

    Paul Gian
    Trivial: How Do Diamonds Get Their Color?

    A Dilemma on the Choice of Color to Select

    Bear in mind that the demand for color is largely market driven. Most consumers in US and Europe generally purchase diamonds in the near colorless range (G-J). On the other hand, the Asian market (e.g. Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore) is fueling demand for the colorless spectrum of stones (D-F).

    If you are unsure of what your recipient likes, a safe choice of color would be F or G. In reality, unless your girlfriend/wife is always walking around with a set of masterstones and knows how to compare her diamond against the masterset, she probably won’t be able to tell the difference between a D or G colored stone.

    The truth is, the majority of people will not be able to tell color differences apart easily. Here’s a comprehensive article that reveals how diamonds with different colors will compare against each other.

    For people who prefer a warmer look to their jewelry, the good news is that you get to enjoy significantly cheaper prices with lower color grades.

    Now, I know most consumers will strive to purchase a diamond with the best grades that they can afford. However, one of the mistakes that many beginners make is the assumption that a higher color will make a diamond more beautiful. That’s not true. Cut is what makes or breaks a diamond’s appearance.

    Carat Size And Color

    The last point I want to highlight is that bigger sized diamonds trap more color in their bodies compared to smaller sized diamonds. For example, let’s say you have two G colored diamonds (one 5 carats and one 0.5 carats) in a side by side comparison. It will be easier for you to notice a nuance of yellow in the larger diamond even though both may have the same color grade.

    diamond color simulator

    On the next page, I am going to talk about other factors that can affect a diamond’s visual appearance. Continue reading to find out more…

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    1. Diane-
      February 6, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      Hi Paul,

      I’m going to buy a 3.14 carat VS1 H Triple Excellent cut GIA Cert for $60,595 or 3.01 carat VS1 H Ideal cut AGS Cert for $64,995. Do you think it’s good ideal to choose from?

    2. Paul Gian-
      February 8, 2014 at 4:29 am

      Hi Diane,

      It is best to get in touch directly with me via email. You can find the details on our contact us page.


    3. Amy Stanley-
      June 23, 2016 at 6:24 am

      What is the best diamond color for a 1 carat oval stone in a rose gold halo setting? I’m thinking of a H but I am worried that it would be too yellowish.

    4. Paul Gian-
      June 23, 2016 at 6:25 am

      The best color for diamonds in rose or yellow gold setting would be in the I, J and K range.

    5. Ludy-
      August 28, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      What does “AA8” and “AAA5” mean in the certificate that the jeweler gave me after i bought a diamond ring and earring for almost $10k

    6. Paul Gian-
      August 29, 2017 at 5:04 am

      It means you were ripped off and overpaid for a pair of earrings with questionable quality.

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