Can you correctly identify the K diamond from the D and H color diamond?
What is a K colored diamond? Is it too yellow for an engagement ring? Will a K diamond look dull? Are they bad choices in platinum or white gold settings? How do they look like when worn on a finger?
These are common questions I frequently receive from readers who are shopping for engagement rings. In this article, you will find answers to these questions and more.
In addition, you will get to see different colored engagement rings being compared in everyday environments and see how a K color diamond looks like in real life. And lastly, check out some handshots of my wife wearing a K color solitaire ring.
Let’s dive in!
When diamonds are graded in the laboratory, they are assessed in a face down manner for a lack of color under controlled lighting conditions. The GIA color scale is the industry standard that is widely used around the world and it runs from D-Z, with D being colorless and Z being light colored.
On the GIA color scale, a K-colored diamond lies at the top of the Faint category (K-M) and they have a slight body color tint that is somewhat noticeable. Due to popularity and market stigma, most retailers do not sell diamonds that are lower than K ratings because of their lower demand.
GIA is the industry standard when it comes to color grading and according to their grading scale, the K, L and M colors fall under the Faint category. In the industry, most people characterize K diamonds as “faint yellow” or “tinted”.
From experience, I know a “faint yellow” description for a diamond would probably freak out a first time shopper because it resonates to something that is aged and unsightly.
In reality, the body color of a diamond isn’t that readily seen once it is mounted in a setting.
For most people (myself included), the yellow tint in a K diamond isn’t obvious when looking at white gold/platinum settings from a top down perspective. That’s because the sparkle and brilliance of the diamond helps mask its body color.
The following video compares diamonds across the GIA spectrum of colorless, near colorless and faint color. So, if you are wondering how yellow a K diamond really is, this is the closest comparison you’ll see in real life.
Having watched the video above, can you see differences between the various rings? Leave a comment below to let me know if you can see the nuances in a K color diamond and whether a K is too yellow for your taste.
One of the main considerations people have when buying an engagement ring is budget. And if you are a price conscious shopper, there are plenty of good reasons for you to consider buying a K colored diamond.
To illustrate this, we will perform a price comparison using round diamonds with ideal cut quality across various carat sizes.
As you can see, a diamond with similar specifications (except for different color grade) can have significantly different costs. By choosing a K color diamond instead of a D or a G color, the savings can be substantial!
Also, the price differences become more pronounced as size increases due to the disproportionate effects of carat weight and rarity factors. i.e. a two carat D diamond costs 3 times more than a similar two carat K diamond!
When GIA grades faint color diamonds, they actually list the color undertones that the diamonds exhibit. By default, when a diamond is graded and listed as a K in the GIA certificate, the diamond has a yellow undertone (the most common hue).
Sometimes, you may actually come across diamonds with grading reports that list color as “K, Faint Brown” and this means that the diamond has a brownish undertone. Check out these two K diamonds below to illustrate what I mean.
Can you tell which is the faint brown ($4,240) and which is the faint yellow diamond ($4,820)?
The market discounts faint brown diamonds because they are less popular with consumers. Personally, I love the appeal of brown undertones and setting them in rose gold can result in a very beautiful and unique appearance.
So, if you are like me and you like the brown hue, the great news is that you will be able to save even more money on the center stone. If you prefer the yellow hue, that’s fine as well. Just bear in mind that you buy a diamond with the correct undertone you like when shopping for a K color diamond ring.
From my own experience and market research, there’s a negative connotation when a diamond displays a slight tinge of color.
When buying an engagement ring, I know many people instantly shun lower color diamonds because they have a misconception that K diamonds are bad and of low quality.
However, if you intend to buy a yellow gold band or mounting, it makes sense to match it with a warm colored diamond. This is because an icy white diamond like a D color will still appear yellowish in a yellow metal setting as it picks up environmental colors.
Here are some real-life examples of K colored diamonds in yellow gold settings…
This 4 prong platinum solitaire engagement ring from James Allen which features a 0.60ct K VS1 round diamond cost me a little over $2000 ($1,380 +$830). FYI, it’s the same ring you seen in the comparison videos above.
My wife volunteered her hands for this photo shoot with the platinum ring.
To the untrained eye, a well cut K diamond ring has a subtle tint which isn’t obvious.
At such an affordable price, it’s amazing how the engagement ring holds its own weight beside a D colorless diamond ring. While it may show a tint of color at certain angles and in some lighting environments, the diamond faces up white most of the time.
This is because the combination of ideal proportions and cut precision enables the diamond’s facets to return more light and brilliance.
Besides that, I must say that this platinum ring has superb craftsmanship. And when a 4 prong solitaire ring is well made, the setting allows more light to enter and enhances the sparkle factor of the center stone.
While D color diamonds are highly desirable and represent the “best” color grade on the GIA scale, they can be out of reach for people with a limited budget. By going down to a K color diamond, you can save alot of money and even get a significantly larger sized diamond.
The key is to select a K diamond with the best possible cut. Better cut quality results in better brilliance which makes it face up white and beautiful. When such a diamond is viewed in most environments, the color tint will not be readily seen by casual viewers.
At the end of the day, it still boils down to your personal preferences and tastes.
Personally speaking, I find K diamonds to be perfect for yellow gold settings. The subtle warmth tone also offers a complementary look for antique style ring designs that you cannot get from an icy white D diamond.
With that, I hope this article has offered insights into shopping for your engagement ring.
Now, I want to hear from you. Would you buy a K color diamond or would you rather pay more for a higher color diamond? Drop a comment below to let me know!