J color diamonds may be the most misunderstood diamonds on the color scale.
This is because most people assume that a diamond in the near colorless range is of “lesser quality”, “less beautiful” and “undesirable”. As a result, J diamonds are frequently shunned by shoppers without a second thought.
The truth is far from that.
Check out the following diamond engagement rings that have J colored center stones. I guarantee you that ugly or yellow will not the first words that come to your mind.
J color super ideal cut diamonds and high-quality settings from White Flash.
The fact is, J colored diamonds can be stunningly beautiful and full of brilliance if they are well cut for light performance. Don’t make the beginner’s mistake of thinking that a diamond with better color will automatically equate to better sparkle.
Cut quality is what makes the difference here; not color.
In the following writeup, I’m going to reveal insider tips to buying a J colored diamond and show you how to get a bigger bang for your buck when buying an engagement ring.
Let’s dive right in…
“Is a J diamond good enough for an engagement ring?”
“Will it look too yellow on my hands?”
“Would I see a yellow tint in my diamond ring with a J?”
These are common questions I get asked by readers on a regular basis.
You need to understand that diamond color is entirely subjective and is based on personal preferences. Also, the ability to see and detect color nuances will vary from one individual to another.
In order to help you visualize the subtle increments in color ratings, I’ve compiled side by side comparisons of a J diamond vs higher color grade diamonds.
Side profile views are used so that the body tint is more apparent.
Comparison of a D color diamond vs J color diamond
Comparison of a H color diamond vs J color diamond
Comparison of a I color diamond vs J color diamond
Feel free to check out the full video listings of these four diamonds here: D color, H color, I color & J color.
For some context, color is graded in the gemological labs by placing the diamond face down instead of the face-up view. This is because a diamond’s sparkle and light return can mislead the eyes to make them appear whiter than it really is (that’s why cut quality matters!).
Check out the lineup of these 4 diamonds. Can you identify each individual diamond on first glance?
It’s really difficult to see color differences between incremental grades in the face up view.
In reality, the diamonds are going to be significantly smaller than what you see here and once a diamond is mounted in a ring, it is even harder to discern color differences unless you have sensitive eyes.
I’m not going to lie or paint a rosy picture for you. The fact is, most people would be able to notice a very slight tinge of color even in a well cut J diamond. And the larger a diamond is, the more its body will be able to absorb color.
I will say this again: color is something that is entirely subjective and up to personal preferences.
Some people absolutely love the look of a warmer diamond while some others like icy-white looking diamonds. With warmer diamonds, they complement vintage style engagement rings perfectly and will also go well with yellow gold settings.
What you need to keep in mind is that cut quality is the key attribute that determines sparkle and brilliance. Cut is what makes a diamond appear lively like a disco-ball or lifeless like frozen spit. A diamond with better light performance will also be able to mask its body color better.
For people who are somewhat color averse and tight on budget, here’s a neat insider tip to help you stretch your dollar. The trick is to buy a diamond with blue fluorescence which doesn’t affect it negatively.
Fluorescence is a naturally occurring phenomenon in approximately 30% of naturally mined diamonds. Since the market prices fluorescent stones at a huge discount due to irrational fears and lower demand, they offer a great opportunity for educated buyers like you and me (yes, I’m a huge fan of fluorescence).
Check out the following examples to see the price differences for yourself…
As you can see above, the Brian Gavin Blue diamond (with medium fluorescence and arguably better cut quality) is not only bigger in size but also 10% less expensive than the James Allen diamond.
In near colorless diamonds (G, H, I , J), fluorescence is actually a huge plus at medium to very strong intensities. This is because blue fluorescence can make a diamond appear one grade whiter as it cancels out yellowish tints under UV environments (e.g. sunlight).
In this section, I want to showcase the use of J diamonds in different types of ring designs and metals. Hopefully, this will help you visualize how they look like in real life and also provide you with ideas to choosing your own setting.
First up, the Vatche U-113 solitaire engagement ring is one of the best Tiffany inspired setting in the market. Simple and elegant, this endearing design is testament to the concept of having “less is more”.
If you are observant, you might see the slight tint of color in the 1.4ct diamond above.
If your recipient prefers a yellow gold or rose gold ring, a J diamond would complement the color of the setting nicely. From a practical perspective, it helps you save money since there is no point buying a colorless diamond in such a scenario.
After all, a D color diamond will still look yellowish if it were mounted in rose gold or yellow gold settings.
Next up, this yellow gold ring design from James Allen utilizes a tapered pave shank which accentuates the center diamond. In this particular ring, a J IF clarity diamond is set using tulip-inspired wire prongs for an exquisite appearance.
Coming up is one of my favorite halo ring design in rose gold from James Allen. Crafted expertly using rose gold, this halo engagement ring setting highlights the shape of the center stone (1.5 carat oval J diamond) and also features pavé diamonds at the edge of the halo for multi-directional sparkle.
Finally, check out this clean flowing 3-stone engagement ring made of 18k white gold and F/G VS 0.25 carat side stones. This ring design utilizes a trellis basket design which is custom made to fit your choice of center stone.
In the photograph above, the center stone (J) is about 3 color grades away from the sidestones (G/H). As you can see, the visual differences are really quite subtle even in white gold and this is pretty much the case for most viewing environments.
If you are shopping with a tight budget, a J colored diamond can offer you a better bang for your buck as you can get a larger diamond at a lower cost. Ultimately, diamond color is a subjective aspect and different people have different levels of sensitivity to it.
And because the variation in color ratings are incremental, most people would not be able to notice differences in color tints unless a J diamond is placed next to a colorless diamond.
What would be immediately noticeable would be a diamond’s brilliance and sparkle. This is also the reason why you should focus on getting the best cut quality possible as it has the biggest impact on the diamond’s appearance.
Now I’d like to hear from you: Are you surprised that J diamonds can look fabulous in the right setting? Will you buy a J color diamond? Or maybe you have a burning question.
Do leave a quick comment below right now. I’d love to hear what you think.
I’ve heard from my jeweler that the centre stone should match the colour of the side stones. I’m looking at a halo setting with F and G melees. Are j coloured diamonds bad matches if I use them with higher coloured diamonds?
It really depends on your threshold for color tolerances. As I had showed in the three stone white gold ring example, the nuances are very minor. Personally, I can detect color because I’m trained in gemology and have a sensitive eye. Most people may not readily see colors. So, it really depends.
The environment in which you observe face-up color would play a role as well. If you are in an area with white diffuse lighting (e.g. office), it creates conditions which help you see color better.
I went to Zales recently and was shown a J diamond ring with I1 clarity on a discount, the manager said it is worth more than $5,000 and they are currently selling it for $3,000. Do J color diamonds sparkle as well as a comparable H color diamond?
I typically don’t recommend I1 diamonds as they are a can of worms. At minimum, I would recommend an SI1 diamond or SI2 diamond instead. What you are describing to me raises a big Red flag with the quality of the ring.
Who graded it? If it isn’t GIA or AGS (I suspect the ring doesn’t have a reliable grading report), you can be sure the quality of the ring is misrepresented. High quality diamonds never go on sale. The stated J rating could well be a K,L,M or worse if it were graded by GIA.
J color diamonds can sparkle as well as any other diamond in the color scale. The attribute which affects sparkle is cut quality and not color properties.
Is j color diamond good enough for a pair of earrings with 0.50 ct sizes?
0.50 carat diamonds are pretty small and when they are used in earrings, the viewing distances are generally further compared to engagement rings. As such, j colored diamonds are good enough for usage in earrings without showing obvious color.
For earrings, my advice is to maximize cut quality and carat size. With the same reasoning for color, a lower clarity grade could also be eyeclean. You should focus on finding matching stones and the best cut possible as sparkle and brilliance of a diamond are the first things that make an engagement ring stand out and be noticed; not color or clarity.
What if the stone is mounted on a two-tone setting with yellow or rose gold band and white gold prongs? would the gold from the band still impact the color of the center stone and if so what would be the logical color choice for the center stone?
It will still affect the color of the diamond. The white gold prongs helps make the stone “whiter” to a certain degree. The point here is, why are you even concerned about color tints when you are buying a yellow gold band? If you don’t want to see color, DON’T even choose such settings in the first place.
Thank you for the prompt response. Not concerned about color tints, but would prefer not to over spend on color if going with a yellow/rose gold band.
Hi, i am torn between choosing an i or j color round diamond, given a side by side comparison between these two colors, will there be noticeable color difference? i am thinking of buying a j with a bigger carat size which can save me money than an i. will color be more obvious in bigger carat size like 1.50?
In a side by side comparison of I vs J diamonds, it is not easy to see color differences. However, if you used a comparison of J vs D or I vs D, then the differences will be very obvious. To your last point, bigger carat sizes will show color more easily than smaller size diamonds. So, both I and J will have a slight color tint.
Would a J with strong fluorescence still show color/tint in a white gold setting or would the florescence mask it enough? Ring also has g/h side stones and wondering if there will be a noticeable difference
It depends on the size of the diamond. I’m color sensitive and personally, I would be able to pick out the tint. If you don’t expect to see any color, then don’t buy a J. You are only asking for trouble. As for the sidestones, again, it depends on the size of them. For G/H melees, you won’t see noticeable differences.
Hi there, I personal like how the fluorescence makes the diamond look. I have a H color 1.25ct and E color 1.5 ct and the the H color look just like the E color face up, or I think it looks even better. I think I might be ok with J color. I am looking for a 1.9 ct j color vs2 diamond with strong blue fluorescence. GIA said 3 excellent, but what do you think? Below is the detail, table 58 depth 62.7, crown 35.5, pavilion 41, and slightly thick faceted. I am looking at bluenile and they have a virtual 360 video and it looks good to me, but I am not a profession.
In your case, it is likely that cut quality is making your H face up like an E. Fluorescence does help whiten a diamond in many lighting environments but for it to improve color by 3 grades is far fetched. Based on proportions, that diamond would be rejected immediately. There are far better options in Blue Nile’s inventory instead of settling for a mediocre stone.
I am looking at purchasing a pre-owned Tiffany & Co. Ring. The ring looks great and the diamond is a J color with medium fluorescence and a SI1 clarity. The Tiffany report shows all ex/ex/ex. The size is 1.25. Is this a good ring to purchase?
Ex/Ex/Ex means nothing and without details, there’s nothing concrete I can advice on.
I’m looking at a 2.09 J color for a rose gold solitaire. Is that a good stone to stick with or should I upgrade to a G color? Is it worth the extra money or no because of the metal? I’m concerned because it is a bigger size.
Good? How do you define good? When I buy diamonds, I look at cut quality. Color is secondary as better cut will automatically help the 3 other aspects of the 4Cs. Setting a J in a rose gold setting is definitely not a problem. Just make sure you know what you are getting in terms of cut.
Hi! First of all I wanted to thank you for all the wonderful insights you were able to share with us. This truly helped me to be more knowledgable about gems. Keep up the good work.
I just wanted to ask your expert opinion regarding my plans to upgrade my wife’s ring.
I’m thinking of getting her a 4-5 carat with at least a V on it. My 1st priority is Cut. So I am searching on Whiteflash “A Cut Above Class”
Do you suggest I should stick with Color G as you previously suggested in larger stone? Or Does “a cut above” Color J from Whiteflash would look good already on a white gold setting.
Budget wise, I think I can adjust either be more practical or save up to get the G Color 4-5 carat Ideal Cut.
Looking forward to your response.
Thank you very much.
Oscar, for such a large size diamond, you will be able to see a slight tint of color in the white gold setting. Whether that’s acceptable or not is really up to individual preferences. There are alot of readers who are perfectly fine with a J color in a white gold setting while Chinese Asians like myself would like icy white appearances. That said, going up to a G color at this enormous carat size would be a very significant jump in prices. If you are on a budget, stick with a J or K color rating.
I did a search for you and would recommend these diamonds:
Hi, I have a GIA 5 carat J Si2 RBC diamond. It has excellent polish and symmetry. The cut was rated very good. The diamond was actually cut too deep. I was thinking about sending it to Brian Gavin for a recut. I was told my 5 carat might change to a 4.5 or 4.75. I’m willing to pay for the service if you think it is wise to have a J color with Si2 clarity recut. Please let me know. Kind regards.
If it is sent to Brian Gavin, you are in safe hands. A GIA very good cut is really a waste of the light performance potential that the stone has. I would let Brian Gavin work on the stone to improve the optics of the stone.
I am looking at purchasing a J, SI1 diamond. The GIA report states that the polish is excellent with the symmetry being very good. The shape and cutting style is square modified brilliant . The carat weight is 1.01. The report states that it does not have any fluorescence in it. It is a princess cut, and I have suggested to my girlfriend that she should get the 14K White Gold Solitaire ring setting. Based on your comments in the article about fluorescence and the J color, would this ring look dull in certain lights. Thanks for any info.
If you are asking about fluorescence and worried about it would make a diamond milky, how would that pertain to a diamond with no fluorescence? Obviously, the answer is no. Clarity is something that has a higher probability of making the diamond cloudy and in SI1 diamonds, the risks are heightened. Now, if you had actually been reading Beyond4Cs.com, you will know that tangible data like videos/photographs would be require for a proper evaluation and none of which is provided by you.
You better read this article in full: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/
Hi! I’m planning to upgrade my wife’s 2.01 FSI2 Platinum Pave ring to a 4 Ct, Emerald and she loves Rose Gold Jewelry.
I’m on a budget and as much as I want a colorless diamond for her, I would like to believe that the J color 4 Ct Exent cut mounted on a RG setting with hidden halo can be beautiful and won’t really look super yellow.
Most of your comments are regarding round diamonds. What is your opinion with J when it comes to emerald?
The diamond I’m looking at is a 4.06 carat emerald, J, VVS1, Excellent Polish and Symmetry, Faint Flouresence , 61 Table, 64 Depth, slightly thick girdle.
This diamond can be had for $43k plus cost of setting.
Please let me know your thoughts on the diamond and the price.
More power and thank you for your assistance!
When it comes to emerald cut diamonds, I cannot offer any useful analysis without tangible details like videos and ASET. These are really important when it comes to assessing scintillation patterning, the reflections of the step facets and shape appeal. Please read these links to understand why and how to go about choosing emerald cuts.
As for color, a 4 carat J color emerald cut diamond will have a noticeable tint of yellow color to its appearance. Whether or not that is acceptable is largely up to your own threshold and personal preferences. But I would say that a tinted diamond in rose gold setting would be acceptable to a lot of people.
Hi Paul! Indeed, all the info are very useful, so first of all thank you for your effort. I am currently searching to buy an engagement ring, and because I am on a budget (I can spend 4000$ on both the setting and the diamond, incl. VAT) I am looking for diamonds at the range 0.6-0.8ct. In addition, because I understand that cut quality is the most important factor, in terms of sparkle, I went for Whiteflash, although I live in EU and all their prices will be subject to 25% VAT :( With that said, I can find two different diamonds of 0.7 and 0.8 ct but with I and J color respectively. Both options are A CUT ABOVE and SI2 clarity. My question is, should I pay the extra for the cut quality for such a small diamond, and whether should I go for a J color for a platinum setting. My girlfriend prefers the bigger sizes, so probably 0.8ct it is, but I need to cut down the cost and clarity cannot be lower :P
Sorry for the lengthy email..
Whether you should buy an I color or a J color is really up to personal preferences. I guess what you are asking is whether a J diamond would be too yellow when matched with a white platinum setting. Watch this video here where comparisons are made for various colored diamonds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwD_P-4f82M
If you can’t see any hue in the K diamond, it would be safe to assume that you can’t see a tint in a J as well. As for carat sizes, you should buy what your girlfriend prefers. I actually went over to WF and took a look at their ACA diamonds. I couldn’t find any J diamonds with SI2 clarity. These are the ones that I came across which are well cut for light performance and are eyeclean.
Thank you for what you do. You truly provide top-tier, straight-talking, master-level insight. I have been perusing beyond4cs.com and learned so much from your articles. In particular, I followed your guide on ideal cut proportions as closely as possible when I recently purchased my diamond. My goal was to get a 1.4 to 1.5ct round cut diamond with a J to I color grade that also follows your suggested cut proportions. My budget was about $10K. I managed to stay within that budget after choosing the diamond and setting, and avoided paying tax by living in Delaware.
I purchased this diamond:
Round Cut — 7.31mm – 7.35mm x 4.56mm
Cut – Polish – Symmetry: Ex | Ex | Ex
Star Facets: 50%
Girdle: M – ST faceted 4.0%
Crown Angle: 34.5
Pavilion Angle: 40.6
Pavilion Depth: 43
Lower Girdles: 75%
Here is the link to the Blue Nile listing:
I believe I got a great value for the cut and VVS2 clarity despite the J color grade. It appears to be mostly eye clean. However, I think that I can see a feather that looks like a hair of dust at the 1 to 2 o’clock position in the 360 video. I am concerned if this might be detrimental to the diamond’s appearance and/or structural integrity. I am hoping that a prong will sit over it or slightly above it once the diamond is set. Please let me know what you think.
I do notice tints of yellow / tan as I rotate the 360 video. I know that this will be the case with J grade diamonds. I also understand that the video is at great magnification. However, I am hoping that it will look a bit whiter in person under natural daylight and indoor lighting thanks to the cut quality. Also, the diamond is getting set in a 2mm platinum band with 1/6ct diamond pave. I am hoping that the platinum prongs will slightly enhance the whiteness of the diamond as well. Are these reasonable things to hope for?
I look forward to any insightful thoughts, advice, and comments that you might have for me about this diamond purchase.
With sincerest appreciation,
First of all, the feather is NOT an issue for structural integrity or durability. If the feather posed any issues, the diamond would be graded as an I1 instead. For a VVS2 diamond, it is perfectly fine! The thing is, this diamond is eyeclean whether or not you decide to place a prong over it. I can guarantee that you will never see the inclusion with your naked eyes.
When it comes to color, I’m not sure what you are expecting. Are you expecting a near colorless J diamond to be completely white? For such a large size diamond, you will be able to see a slight tinge of color if you are color sensitive. The cut quality and light return of the diamond would help in appear whiter. That’s true. And with a platinum setting, it would also help as well.
First of all thank you so much for all the valuable information that you have given. I am looking at getting a J VS1 2.16 carat round brilliant cut solitaire with medium blue fluorescence on a platinum band. These are the specifications- triple Excellent- cut, symmetry, polish GIA certified.
medium-slightly thick faceted,
Crown Angle: 36
Pavilion Angle: 40.6
Pavilion Depth: 43%
I am hoping you can tell me what you think about the cut. The one concern I have is about the slight yellow tint, but I am hoping the medium fluorescence and the platinum setting will counter some of that and it won’t look that yellow to the eye.
Please let me know your thoughts, comments or concerns about this diamond. Thank will be very helpful. Thank you very much!
Proportions wise, this diamond has non-ideal cut proportions. I would like to see smaller table sizes and lower crown angles for a better probability of getting good balance of fire and brilliance. At the end of the day, I need tangible data like videos or scope images to help you better assess the stone. With platinum settings, I doubt the whiteness can counteract the yellowish tint of a J diamond at such a large carat size. If you hate to see color, go for a G or better grade. Fluorescence shouldn’t affect the diamond’s appearance in any manner and it would only help the color by half a grade at most.