When it comes to diamonds, it’s no secret that the majority of consumers prefer to buy colorless (D, E, F) and near colorless (G, H, I, J) stones. Sadly, diamonds in the lower color range often get dissed because of stigmas like “colorless diamonds are more beautiful” and “diamonds with higher color ratings sparkle better”.
It’s really unfortunate because these are misconceptions that many shoppers blindly believe in. The truth is, lower colored diamonds can look just as awesome as colorless diamonds. They can emit identical levels of brilliance and fire if they are well-cut.
Today, I’m going to take you into the world of L color diamonds and highlight the benefits of buying faint yellow diamond rings.
Source: Color Grading “D-Z” Diamonds at the GIA Laboratory; GIA
GIA describes L color diamonds as having a “faint” color. In all likelihood, you will be able to see a warm body color even with an untrained eye. Now, I want to be clear that this isn’t like viewing H colored diamonds where you might see only a slight nuance of color in certain environments.
When it comes to L color diamonds, you WILL see a slightly yellowish stone under most lighting conditions. This phenomenon can easily be observed even in well-cut stones that display ideal optics.
Face up view versus profile view of an L diamond
Speaking from experience, I know some people get turned off by diamonds with too much color. On the other hand, there are also many others who find the creamy colors appealing.
At this point, I will go on record to say that I find lower colored diamonds to be really attractive; especially if the diamond is cut well and is mounted in the right setting.
First of all, L colored diamonds offer exceptional value for consumers with smaller budgets. Due to the way diamond prices are structured, the cost of an L diamond is usually less than 2 times that of an E diamond with similar carat/clarity/cut specifications.
Here’s a comparison between 2 similar diamonds with color ratings of E and L respectively.
The price per carat of the E diamond is $10,414 while the price per carat of the diamond with L color is $5,225. If you do the math, that’s about a 100% difference in cost.
And if you start comparing larger size diamonds above 2 to 3 carats, you’ll discover that the price differences can be up to a staggering 3-4 times more. In terms of absolute value, this translates to tens of thousands of dollars!
For people who have decided on yellow gold or rose gold settings, selecting a lower colored diamond to complement the setting will result in a win-win situation.
When a warm colored diamond is mounted in yellow gold or rose gold settings, it blends well with the metal. On the contrary, even if you decide to pay a premium for a D colored diamond, the stone will still appear tinted because it will pick up color from the setting.
So, let me ask you a question from a practical point of view. Why should you pay so much more for higher color diamonds only to have it appear “yellowish”? It doesn’t make sense unless you have symbolic reasons to do so.
Can you see the color of the setting being reflected within the diamonds?
In recent years, vintage diamond ring designs have seen a surge in demand and popularity. One of the ways to achieve a vintage look is through the use of warm colored diamonds.
Obviously, the diamond’s cutting style and the ring setting design would also play a role in the final outlook. For example, the choice of old European cut (OEC) and old miner cut (OMC) diamonds in lower color ranges will give the ring a rustic flavor.
Victor Canera’s signature Emilya setting with a cathedral shank in rose gold.
If you look beyond the social stigmas, lower colored diamonds offer a unique look to an engagement ring and gives you a bigger bang for your buck. For people who love diamonds with a warmth in them, lower colored diamonds are a match made in heaven for you.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when you go shopping:
1) Cut is KING. Diamonds with great cut qualities will look fantastic regardless of their color grades. Always focus on cut above everything else.
2) Blue fluorescence can help offset the yellowish tint in environments with UV lighting (i.e. sunlight in open spaces).
3) Lower colored diamonds usually don’t contrast well against most white gold or platinum ring setting designs. A shiny white gold solitaire setting will only serve to make the tinted diamond stand out like a sore thumb.
4) Likewise, beware of ring designs that utilize higher color melees. In halo and pave settings, you don’t want higher colored melees to emphasize the tinted color of the center stone.
Due to market demand, most jewelers don’t stock diamonds below K colors in their inventory. In fact, it is harder to find a well cut L color diamond than it is to find a D internally flawless diamond.
Don’t believe me? Try your hand at searching for an L color diamond online or visit a local store to see if you can find one. It’s going to be like digging for a needle in a haystack.
With that, I hope you enjoyed reading today’s article. Do leave a comment to let me know if you have any questions or want to share your diamond shopping experience with us.
I love this article! It’s written so clear and interesting. Do you mind if I share it on my blog?
What is your view on this diamond which will I am planning on including in a rose gold setting: https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.01-carat-j-color-vvs1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-782889
It may be the lighting but seems that it has more colour than a typical J?
Yep, you are right. The lighting is causing the stone to appear in a more saturated color than it really us. The diamond isn’t well cut as the crown angles are way too low.
I inherited my grandfathers antique European diamond, color L, with VVS2 clarity. It is 1.3 carats. I went to a private jeweler and just the diamond (round) appraised at $10,000. This article doesn’t really speak of old diamonds hand cut in the 1800’s to 1930’s.
I am interested in this K-color CAC: https://www.victorcanera.com/diamonds/q654yt-1.932-k-vs1-ideal-antique-cushion
Do you think it will face up white(ish) if it is set in platinum?
A K diamond WILL NOT face up white. What were you expecting from a K anyway? If you are color adverse, stick with a G or better color diamond.
With all that said, I personally would prefer lower color diamonds when it comes to buying old world diamonds. The tinted yellow body color helps the diamond retain a rustic charm.
I have a 9.12 ct L – VS emerald cut diamond Gia certified 15mm x10 mm that I’m looking to sell …. any ideas who might be interested ?
You may want to try ebay or Craigslist if you want to sell it by yourself for better margins. Otherwise, bring it to your local jewelry store and see if they want to help you sell the stone on consignment basis.
I am looking at a ring with a 3.21 carat L / VVS2 emerald cut diamond, set in platinum. The cost is about $13,000. Is that a good deal? Thanks
When buying diamonds and trying to assess prices, the details matter. And there’s nothing tangible in your statement.
There is noting ‘tangible’ in my statement, what other information could I possibly provide? Worthless information.
Well, you seem to be here for a fight when I had provided a comprehensive answer to your question in the link if you bothered to read. And having a mindset like this when buying diamonds is going to land you on the short end of the stick.
If you had read that article and looked through some of the links on that page, you would have had your answers.
So, let me spoonfeed you out of my goodwill.
REREAD every single word here: https://beyond4cs.com/diamond-prices/
Go through EACH of the pointers listed there and look at your earlier statement. What kind of information is missing there?
Besides these pointers, tangible data include; ASET images to indicate light performance of the diamond, videos to assess the diamond and contrast patterning.
And it will do you good to read every single word here as well:
So, if you can’t listen and read with a calm mind, nobody can help you.
Hi, I luv the advice you are giving about L coloured Diamonds.
I want to buy a 1.3 carat solitaire diamond ring in rose gold, the diamond is L colour and is SI1 clarity. It’s HRD certified and I have been quoted around £2,400, the trouble is i am confused and whether or not it is a good deal? The cut is excellent and sparkles beautifuly compared to higher quality diamonds in white gold settings, any advice you can give me please?
There’s nothing I can tell you about how well cut the diamond is without knowing details. This is something you should read in full: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/
I am not liking the HRD certificate and I would only buy diamonds graded by GIA or AGS. Also, read this guide on buying rose gold vintage engagement rings and it will provide you with guidance on some of the things to look out for.