Factors That Influence Diamond Color And How Our Eyes Perceive It

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.


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.

Shape And Cutting Style of Diamond

back lit diamond in tweezer

Lovely Glow From LED Backlight

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.

Nature of Fluorescence Color

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.


Color of Ring Setting

white gold or yellow gold settings

Can You See a Difference?

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.

diamond ring reflections of beige ribbon

Can you see how the facets of the stone picks up color from the gold ribbon?

You can use these links here and here to see real life examples of rings with different colored diamonds in yellow gold and platinum settings respectively.

For practical reasons, instead of spending more money on an attribute (color) 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.

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.

Related Articles

Share This Page on Social Media!


  1. Weather-
    February 15, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    I don’t know if I will ever see if anyone will respond to this, because I always forget where I’ve been visiting, but, I have a question about your comments about using yellow gold settings for diamonds. I realize that using yellow gold prongs might affect the “face up” coloring of the diamond, but, what about two toned settings, yellow gold ring with white metal prongs, would that still affect the color of the diamonds? I’ve had a couple of engagement rings that were yellow gold with white metal prongs, and the diamond always seemed to pop against the yellow gold, as opposed to blending in with the all white metal engagement rings. What I was wondering is, is the article referring to all yellow gold ring settings, with both yellow gold band and yellow gold prongs or both that and the two toned engagement rings?

  2. Paul Gian-
    February 16, 2019 at 3:14 am

    Thanks for your comment. The article is referring to full yellow gold rings (i.e. yellow gold shanks + yellow gold prongs). 2 toned engagement rings will have the color of their metals reflected within the diamond as well. As for the other design where a white gold or platinum head is used in conjunction with a colored metal setting, the diamond will face up whiter. The purpose of using white colored prongs is for people who want a diamond to look whiter in a colored setting.

    It’s an oxymoron when people do things this way. The white colored prongs are going to help but not by much. When you see a diamond pop in a setting, it’s likely due to the effect of cut quality and sparkle instead of being a result of setting the diamond ring in a yellow gold setting.

Leave A Comment