J Color Diamonds – Are They Too Yellow? Are They Any Good?

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.

4 prong j solitaire diamond ring 18k white gold
1 carat j coloured diamond pave white gold ring

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…

When buying diamonds, we recommend vendors like James Allen, White Flash and Brian Gavin who offer a broad selection of well cut diamonds and full transparency in their listings (with videos and analytical cut data).

J Colored Diamond vs Other Color Grades (Side by Side Comparisons)

“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.

d diamond vs j diamond seen from the side

Comparison of a D color diamond vs J color diamond

h diamond vs diamond color j view

Comparison of a H color diamond vs J color diamond

i diamond vs j diamond yellowish differences

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?

comparing colorless diamond d against near colorless h i j diamonds

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.

Click here to view a comprehensive list of diamonds ranging from D-K colors in side by side comparisons.

Is a J Diamond Too Yellow?

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.

White Flash, James Allen and Brian Gavin are recommended vendors to shop for diamonds with superb light performance and cut precision. I highly recommend you check them out if you want the best possible sparkle in your diamond.

J Color Diamonds – Fluorescence

For people who are somewhat color adverse 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…

medium blue fluorescence j diamond

1.4 carat diamond color j true hearts james allen

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).

Blue fluorescence in lower color diamonds is not only a cool feature but also brings down prices significantly. We highly recommend Brian Gavin if you are looking for super ideal cut diamonds with fluorescence. Check them out for yourself now!

J Color Diamonds in Different Types of Settings

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”.

how yellow does a J colour look in platinum vatche u113 review

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.

0.8 IF carat j color diamond in yellow gold with channel milgrain shanks

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.

1.5 carat j color diamond in rose gold with oval halo


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.

j color diamond in white gold 3 stone engagement ring design

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 aren’t sure how the color of a diamond will look against a particular ring setting, check out the previously purchased ring sections at James Allen and White Flash. The HD videos and photographs of client bought rings are extremely useful to help you visualize the final product in a range of different designs and specifications.

Conclusion – A Recap And What to Bear in Mind

6 prong engagement ring in warm lighting

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.

James Allen, White Flash and Brian Gavin are some of the best places to buy a diamond ring because of the wide selections and availability of tangible data. Check them out and start browsing for J color diamonds today!

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17 Comments

  1. Walter-
    June 23, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    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?

  2. Paul Gian-
    June 30, 2017 at 1:45 am

    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.

  3. Reggie-
    January 12, 2018 at 11:23 am

    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?

  4. Paul Gian-
    January 14, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    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.

  5. Rose-
    January 22, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Is j color diamond good enough for a pair of earrings with 0.50 ct sizes?

  6. Paul Gian-
    January 22, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    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.

  7. josh-
    July 9, 2018 at 2:52 am

    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?

  8. Paul Gian-
    July 9, 2018 at 3:54 am

    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.

  9. josh-
    July 10, 2018 at 1:29 am

    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.

  10. Nena Lim-
    July 28, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    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?

  11. Paul Gian-
    July 28, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    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.

  12. John-
    August 7, 2018 at 3:13 am

    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

  13. Paul Gian-
    August 7, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    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.

  14. Olivia-
    October 3, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    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.

  15. Paul Gian-
    October 4, 2018 at 3:30 am

    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.

  16. David P-
    October 29, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    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?

    Thank you

  17. Paul Gian-
    October 29, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Ex/Ex/Ex means nothing and without details, there’s nothing concrete I can advice on.

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