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
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.