Side By Side Diamond Color Comparisons

I get emails from readers seeking my opinion on diamonds all the time. One of the most frequently asked questions pertains to the differences between diamonds of 1-2 color grades and how they would look like in real life. As a result of the numerous questions, I decided to write this post to address the issue.

First of all, the problem with me answering color visual related questions is that they aren’t objective questions but rather, subjective ones that can vary from one person to another. While I may be sensitive to slight nuances of color differences, the truth is that the majority of people aren’t.

Chances are you won’t be able to detect small variances in colors too. Yet, there isn’t any definite way to find out unless you had the experience of viewing diamonds critically yourself.

Let’s Do a Quick Test First

Below is a list of stones with color ratings of D, E, F, G, H, I, J & K. They are all graded by GIA and are around the 1 carat range. Spend a minute to look at these stones carefully and then try to label each individual stone according to the color you think it is.

faceup views

 Can you notice any body color in the face up (table-up) views?

It isn’t that easy right? If you are having trouble in identifying which stone has what color, don’t worry, because it’s normal. When well cut diamonds are mounted face up into ring settings, the brilliance and sparkle of the stone will help hide its body color. The truth is that it takes a trained personal to correctly grade a diamond under specific lighting conditions.

Revealed: Click here to see the answers (image will open up in a new tab) and the following links to see details of each individual stone.

Top from left: #273556, #73564, #126914
Middle from left: #253461, #73850, #264804
Bottom from left: #287499, #263367

I will be totally honest with you here. Most people can’t tell the differences between 1-2 color grades of diamonds in the face up view. They do however, start to notice differences when viewing diamonds of 3-4 color grades apart in a side by side comparison. That is to say, a ring containing a well cut H colored diamond by itself would not be easily identifiable without an E colored or K colored diamond placed next to it.

In the GIA lab, diamonds are graded face down (table-down) against a neutral background and controlled lighting. While it is understandable that the labs require certain conditions to achieve consistency in their grading process, I personally don’t find such a process applicable to the general consumer who is shopping for an engagement ring.

picking up with a tweezer
mounted with 4 prongs

The view on the right image would be what a consumer would usually see.

From a consumer’s perspective, what really matters is how the diamond looks in your setting. Seriously, how many of you are intending to buy loose diamonds to keep and not wear them? Sure, there do exist such people but these are the small minority of consumers.

With this in mind, I lined up the following photos to simulate what you would most likely see in real life. This will allow you to get a better visual perspective and idea of color differences.

Comparison of the Colorless Range

The alphabets D, E and F on the GIA scale fall into the range of colorless diamonds. These diamonds come at the cost of a premium pricing because of their rarity in nature. In the current market today, they make up less than 1% of the world’s supply of gem quality stones.

f ideal cut

Face up views of D, E & F diamonds

I am pretty sure you will be hard pressed to see visual differences of well-cut stones that fall into the colorless range. Diamonds in this category face up icy white and are recommended for people who are color averse.

If you are going to detect any differences between the stones, placing them loose and face down would be the best way to do it. In jewelry stores or when the stones are mounted, the next best method to do so would be via a side profile examination.

d vs e vs f

Profile views of D vs E vs F. Noticed the gradual increase in tones?

Do note that you are viewing these images at a 10X magnification and this makes it easier for you to detect subtle nuances between the stones. In reality, the diamonds are much smaller than this and the minute differences are hard to pick up for non-professionals.

Comparison of the Near Colorless Range

h near colorless

From left to right: Face ups of G, H, I & J

I like to think of near colorless (G-H-I-J) diamonds as the range which offers best value. More specifically, I like G colored stones the most because they appear colorless to non-experts and can face up white if the stone is cut well.

G Colored Diamonds


Comparing D vs G with their face up appearances.

If you want value for money, Gs are your best pick. The rationale is really quite straightforward and practical. If the end product is going to look similar to what a D colored diamond may offer, why should you pay additional premiums on an attribute you can’t appreciate with your eye?

d vs g

Most people can notice color in the diamond’s body from the sides when making comparisons.

H & I Colored Diamonds

d vs h

Comparing a D against a H

d against i

Comparing a D against a I

Both H and I colored diamonds show a slight tinge of color in their bodies. From my experience in handling customers over the years, I can safely say that H’s and I’s are the common thresholds people start noticing nuances of yellow. Again, note that the quality of cut and individual factors like eyesight may affect how you perceive the diamonds.

J Colored Diamonds

J colored diamonds display a slight yellowish tint and are great choices for people on a budget. If you are color adverse, I generally won’t recommend getting anything from J or lower colors. On the other hand, if you aren’t looking for a colorless diamond, J colored stones may represent a sweet spot for you.


d in contrast to j

Comparison of the Faint Yellow/Brown Range

Stones graded as K, L & M falls within the band of faint yellow/brown range. Faint yellow diamonds portray a warm appearance and most people can easily pick up the tone with their naked eyes.

k faint yellow

While this is a factor that is driven by personal tastes, the interesting point to note is that many people who are willing to compromise with a lower K color just so they can get a significantly larger sized stone.

d vs k vs g

The K has obvious yellow tones but do you notice how the G only shows a slight tint?

Overtones And Hue For Grades K And Below

GIA’s grading practice dictates the hue of the diamond is disclosed for grades that are K and lower. In nature, the most common color for mined diamonds is yellow which is caused by the presence of nitrogen in its chemical composition. The next most common color you would see in diamonds is brown.

faint yellow vs faint brown

Faint brown (on left) vs. faint yellow (on right)

Click these links to access more details: #256142, #287878

Even though both stones are graded as K, the faint brown diamond looks darker compared to the faint yellow diamond. In the profile view, you can get a better glimpse of the brownish hue.

dark and light

At this point, I want to go on the record by saying there is nothing wrong with having preferences for either stone. What you need to know is that diamonds with brownish overtones are sold at lower prices compared to those with yellowish overtones. Do check the prices are indicative of that if you are considering lower colored diamonds.

Sometimes, Subtle Differences DO Matter

Most jewelers won’t tell you this but the fact is that every little detail and property a diamond has will play a role in determining its pricing. By now, I am sure everybody knows that diamonds are graded alphabetically starting from D all the way to Z. Most people also automatically assume all Fs or all Gs are the same but let me tell you it isn’t.

In a simplistic way of explaining this, the amount (intensity) of color a diamond possesses determine which grade it falls into. What the grading report might not show you is the exact hue the stone has.

Let’s use these 3 G colored diamonds below as an illustration to explain this. In the face up view, the differences may not be immediately obvious to those without eagle eyes.

g with various overtones face up

Click the following links to see more details on each individual stone – #259178, #290315, #285570

Compare the image you see above with the image below. What if I tell you that all 3 stones listed below are in the same order as the same G colored stones above? Would you believe me?

yellow grey brown

And yes, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. They may be all Gs and are graded at the same lab (GIA) but yet, they all look slightly different when scrutinized. On each of the grading reports for these diamonds, there isn’t any mention of these differences because they are simply categorized under the same “G” color grade.

This brings us to the next point.

The Hue Affects The Market Demand

In the current market, the general color-tone preferences of consumers follow this order: yellow, grey and brown. Simple economics that dictate prices of diamonds will tell you yellowish diamonds will cost more than brownish diamonds by the law of demand and supply.

To illustrate this, imagine there are three H colored diamonds with different undertones – yellow, grey and brown. All 3 diamonds have identical carat, clarity and cut specifications. Yet, the diamond with the yellow undertone will be more expensive since there is a greater demand for them.

When buying diamonds, you should inspect them in a neutral lighting environment and under magnification. This will enable you to assess them in far greater details and James Allen is a fine example of an online vendor who offers such a feature and more…

What Really Matters Is You

I want to end off this article in saying that the choice of color is strictly personal. I need to reiterate that diamonds with grey or brownish tones aren’t cheaper because they are “defective”.

And in case you are wondering which camp I fall into, I am a fan of stones with brownish overtones more so than those with yellowish overtones. What about you? What kind of colors would you prefer? Please feel free to leave a comment below and tell me more about what you like.

Ultimately, much of your purchasing decision will also depend on other factors like cultural and personal likes/dislikes. In Asian countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, demand for D-G colored diamonds is very strong. This is largely due to social factors in beliefs that “yellow” diamonds are “inferior” and “face-saving” stigmas where people want to pay more for premium products to show that they can afford them.

On the contrary, consumers in western countries like Europe and United States tend to have better acceptance of lower color ratings because there is a certain appeal for warm looking diamonds. Doing so will enable you to get a bigger sized stone for a given budget by sacrificing color. At the end of the day, the onus is on you to achieve the perfect balance of the 4Cs for your own needs.

What about diamonds that aren’t within the D-Z range? Had you seen grading reports where the color is described in words instead of a single alphabet? We’ll touch on this topic next…

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  1. jen-
    February 9, 2015 at 6:37 am


    What kind of lights are jewellery shops using? I brought my K BGB diamond to the shop and it’s very obvious that it’s yellowish by the side view. From the top, I can see a tiny bit of yellow.

    Normally, what kind of places will have that kind of jewellery shop lightings?

    When i am at home or under the sun, I cannot see any yellow tint.
    ps: v strong blue

  2. Paul Gian-
    February 22, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Jewelry store lighting varies from store to store. It could be that they are using a slightly yellowish lighting in combination with spot lighting.

  3. Amy Bignault-
    September 23, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Thank you for the detailed descriptions! I am wondering if color differences are less evident in smaller stones. For example, when set in a platinum band, will the difference between an I colored .04 carat diamond be noticeably different than a G colored diamond of the same size?


  4. Paul Gian-
    September 24, 2015 at 9:15 am

    Nuances of color are harder to detect in the face up view when you go down in carat size. That is to say, it would be extremely hard to tell the difference of a 0.3 carat I diamond from another 0.3 carat F color diamond.

  5. lorraine-
    October 3, 2015 at 3:54 am

    We have been talking to a small gold and diamond store. We are very confused by our experience. The jeweler showed us an almost 2 carat, color K diamond. Out of the setting, it looks nice and it was hard to see examine it with the loupe.

    I don’t know if it is a good price. He also has a 3 stone Bostonian in the setting. When i looked though the loop on the table , I though it was cracked (the center stone of over 2 carats). He said it was a feather under the table and I also saw 1 black spot. I’m reading all you have on line. I found your site most helpful!! Still don’t understand his prices. Thank you for being there!

  6. Mark-
    October 19, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    What’s the effect of the color of the band on the diamond? Is it true that a lower color grade is ok if it’s with a yellow or rose gold band?

  7. Paul Gian-
    October 21, 2015 at 5:40 am

    Well cut diamonds tend to absorb colors from their surroundings. As such, putting a diamond in a yellow or rose gold setting will cause it to pick up color tints. In general, I would say that a lower color grade is better for non-white settings.

  8. Janet-
    October 26, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Recently purchased a cushion cut F 1.02 diamond in a halo style ring. Beautiful in the store and black ring box, but when I took it outside in sun and then normal lighting, it has a very distinctive brown tint. It is the small diamonds effecting the color perceived of my center diamond?

  9. Paul Gian-
    November 14, 2015 at 9:12 am

    It’s an unlikely possibility that the melees are affecting the color of the diamond. There are many possible reasons for this to occur:
    1) Diamond is poorly cut.
    2) The environment has lots of brown colored objects that the diamond is picking up in its reflections. (clothing, walls etc..)
    3) It’s dirty.
    4) etc….

  10. Richelle-
    March 8, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Hi there,

    I have a K oval solitaire that is nearly a carat. I don’t notice any yellow in it in most lighting except when it seems I am in the jewelry store. I am currently looking for a complementary wedding band and like vintage styles with other diamonds although I am concerned to order one, being that my K diamond may look yellow next to brighter diamonds. Do you have a recommendation for where to order a wedding band from that I might be able to choose the color of diamonds in the band?

  11. Paul Gian-
    March 23, 2016 at 12:59 pm
  12. Jerry-
    July 4, 2016 at 8:17 am
  13. Paul Gian-
    July 5, 2016 at 8:33 am

    The first option is the better buy.

  14. KK-
    August 2, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for this excellent article.

    I have a question that needs your astute opinion. I have a 0.80 carat diamond, F, VVS1, Excellent, in an ideal cut round brilliant.

    Would a rose gold setting make my diamond look pink? Would I be making a massive mistake by setting it in rose gold? I dont want my diamond to look pink specially when it is an F grade.

  15. Paul Gian-
    August 2, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    It will definitely pick up some color from the setting.

  16. Michelle-
    August 16, 2016 at 2:50 am

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks to your really helpful insight! Based on everything I’ve read so far I’ve narrowed my choices down to these 3:,J,I,H,G,F,E,D&PriceFrom=&PriceTo=&ViewsOptions=Images&TabSelected=3&DiamondID=1101937,1893152,1835293

    If you don’t mind, could you advise which one is a better choice? I personally love the .92 ct K since everything except the color seems to look good to me, but the fact that it’s a K color is a bit concerning as I plan to have a 14k white gold halo plain shank setting.

    Thank you so much in advance for your time!

  17. Paul Gian-
    August 16, 2016 at 4:19 am
  18. Amrita-
    September 15, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Hi, firstly thank you for the wonderful article. It explains a lot about how to buy a diamond. I am looking at this diamond on James Allen website and the color on this diamond has a brown hue to it as it seems in the pic. Repa at JA website says it’s the background and not the diamond itself. What do think ?

  19. Paul Gian-
    September 15, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    It could be but it’s unlikely. If you want confirmation, get James Allen to review the diamond physically.

  20. janet-
    November 10, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Am looking for definitions of VVS1, VVS2, etc. What are these designations, what do they mean, what are the differences, and where can I find this information? ps: everything I successfully found so far, was very helpful. Thank you!

  21. Diana-
    November 14, 2016 at 12:41 am

    Hi, i am currently looking at a 1.87 GIA grades vs1 N color princess cut very good cut with faint fleurescent. Do you think if i set this on a diamond accented solitaire setting that it would look too yellow? It sells for a good price. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks

  22. Paul Gian-
    November 14, 2016 at 2:48 am

    For a N color diamond at such a huge carat size, you can definitely expect to see a yellowish hue from the stone. Whether or not it is acceptable is largely up to your own preferences.

  23. Derek-
    November 28, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Hi Paul,

    what do you think about this diamond, im placing it on a rose gold falling halo setting

    or would you advise i get a smaller stone in a lighter range?

    Love your blog

  24. Paul Gian-
    November 29, 2016 at 3:12 am

    It’s not a well cut diamond. Going with J/K color is perfectly fine for rose gold settings.

  25. Derek-
    November 29, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Oh really. I was about to pull the trigger, can you give any recommendations?

  26. Sandy coles-
    January 23, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    My boyfriend gave me a engagement ring.. diamond ring i notice one side of the diamond it has a yellow stain what can it be? And it making the diamond look yellowish. It looks like a yellow spot of something i just cant tell what it is.. but you can see it .

  27. Paul Gian-
    January 24, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Try cleaning the diamond. Look at the grading report to see if there’s any mention of the “yellow spot” in the clarity characteristic section.

  28. Brian Kolasa-
    January 25, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I’m wanting to get a 3 ct Oval diamond to be put on a rose gold setting. Because of the size, would it be ok if it’s “I” color? Assume the cut will be excellent.

    Here are a few I like. Which would you pick?


  29. Paul Gian-
    January 26, 2017 at 5:47 am

    I would go for the 3rd stone.

  30. Jasmin-
    February 17, 2017 at 2:50 am

    First off, thank you so MUCH for all this info… that said, I still need help :).

    1. I am set on having a yellow gold setting (thin band with pave diamonds), but I don’t want my diamond to look yellow.

    2. I want X cut, X symmetry, X polish.

    3. Carat size will be 1.5- 2 (still TBD)

    4. Clarity: Eye Clean SI1

    Based on this, what what color diamond should I get that won’t look too yellow due to the band color. AND would it help the diamond not pick up too much color of the band if the prongs are platinum?


  31. Paul Gian-
    February 17, 2017 at 4:25 am

    The platinum prongs would definitely help in a yellow gold setting. For your case, go for diamonds higher than G color.

  32. Maria Edwards-
    February 21, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Can you tell me if I will notice any colour or inclusions on the stones of the above ring? Its a I-J minimum colour and I1-I2 minimum colour
    thank you

  33. Paul Gian-
    February 22, 2017 at 2:18 am

    I can tell you for sure that this piece of jewelry is going to have rubbish quality.

  34. Jeffrey-
    April 8, 2017 at 3:01 am

    I’m looking at a vs1 color J emerald cut, 1.25ct to go in an 18kt white gold setting. Will there be any issues with color or should it still look good to the naked eye with that type of cut/ring setting. There will also be a single halo around the diamond.

  35. Paul Gian-
    April 8, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    At this carat size, you can expect to see a tinge of yellow body color in the diamond against the white setting. Is that something you can live with?

  36. Jasmine-
    May 3, 2017 at 2:12 am

    Hi, I’m looking at. 2.6 brilliant cut diamond. Color I and its VS1 with an excellent cut. It has a slight brown undertone. The diamond looks beautiful though and I can’t even see the brown hue. I had a GIA certified gemologist look at the diamond and he said the cut was excellent, and he couldn’t even find an inclusion he would even possibly grade it as a VVS. The gemologist actually pointed out the brown tone and would rate it probably more a J color than I color which is listed on the cert. I didn’t even notice even notice the brown tone until he pointed it out to me. Price on the diamond is $16,600. I love the diamond size is so large and I understand the diamond doesn’t look white like a D-G but again it’s not hazel and yellow either. What are you thoughts here? Do you think it’s a good buy? Any advice would be much appreciated. I don’t want to pay to much for something that isn’t worth the price or make a wrong decision. Thank you!

  37. Jasmine-
    May 3, 2017 at 2:15 am

    Sorry forgot to mention the cert detail I gave you above is from EGL USA. VS1. Color I. Ideal cut. Thank you :) seller price $16,600 with no room for negotiation unfortunately.

  38. Paul Gian-
    May 3, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    IF that diamond doesn’t have a GIA report or AGS report, you are in for a BIG rip off. It’s as simple as that. And if it does have a reliable grading cert, read the section on how to choose a diamond as it addresses all the issues you need to know there.

    And to be sure, the EGL USA report just confirms what I said in the previous comment. RUN.

  39. Ashlee-
    May 9, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I’m looking at G-I colored 1 ish ct diamonds. I want to find an excellent cut, eye clean (not necessarily flawless) stone for a good price (preferably under 5K). I want it in a white gold setting.

    I’m concerned about the potential for seeing color and all the factors that make up the diamond – whether they will be more yellow hued, less yellow hued, etc.

    I saw to one of the commenters above you said that a 1.5 K excellent cut stone was not actually a good cut. Can you detail why it was not a good cut? (

    What are your thoughts on these two diamonds:


  40. Paul Gian-
    May 11, 2017 at 3:24 am

    The crown angles are too steep and the table a tad large for my liking. The Blue Nile diamond you selected falls into the same category as the K diamond. The James Allen diamond is outright terrible. Dump it.

  41. kevin-
    May 19, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I currently have an I color ideal cut bezel pendant with strong blue fluorescence and it looks pretty white in face up position and i noticed some warmth from side angle.

    Im thinking to reset it into 18k rose gold tiffany style knife edge ring, do you think i should upgrade the color or it will blend perfectly? Thanks.

  42. Kevin-
    May 19, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    I forgot to mention the material used for the ring

    18k rose gold knife edge + platinum prongs

  43. Paul Gian-
    May 20, 2017 at 6:39 am

    That’s up to personal preference.

  44. Ash-
    May 26, 2017 at 5:36 am

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for taking the time to write this guide.

    Could you please help me decide between these two diamonds?


    Both are very similarly priced but from different local dealers and I can’t decide which to go with. Also both dealers keep asking me why I don’t want a round diamond (I understand they are larger in diameter for less carat weight and are usually more brilliant) but I personally prefer the look of a square diamond, and am trying to find a brilliant cushion that would be comparable to a round. Any input would be appreciated, thank you!

  45. Paul Gian-
    May 27, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Read everything here:

    You are doing something ludicrous here with a fancy cut diamond selection.

  46. Shivangi Jain-
    July 29, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for providing us with the helpful information. It helped me a lot in understanding at least the basics of buying a diamond. I’m looking at these four stones from james allen, could you please suggest which one to go with (or none of them)? James Allen could not do a physical review of three of these since they are located overseas. Any feedback will be much appreciated. Thanks for your time!!

  47. Paul Gian-
    July 30, 2017 at 3:14 am

    Both G diamonds are well cut diamonds and offer better value for money. I would choose between these 2 diamonds with preference given to the G VS1 stone since both are at similar price points.

  48. Clark-
    September 19, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Hi Paul,

    I’m getting engaged and I want to give her a solitaire ring with a 0,9 to 1,1ct diamond. I gave her on the past 2 earrings 0,35ct each F VS1 and Excellent everything on the GIA certificate.

    I know that you can’t appreciate any visual differences on the top grade colors DEF so I probably spent more money than I should.

    Now the question is, what do you recommend me for just 1 stone solitaire?

    Thank you very much.

  49. Paul Gian-
    September 20, 2017 at 6:29 am

    As I had repeatedly stated, the choice of color/clarity is largely up to personal preferences.

  50. Julie-
    October 18, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Hi Paul, do you think that a .8-1 carat round diamond of VS2 or greater clarity and excellent cut (according to your recommendations) in a G color would look yellow against a halo on a white gold shank? I had been thinking I needed F or better, but I’m starting to wonder after reading through your site if G would be fine for a diamond of my size on white gold (and maybe would look even more colorless with the halo around it?). What do you think?

  51. Paul Gian-
    October 19, 2017 at 4:48 am

    In the face up view, a well cut G will face up white. From experience, I can tell you that it is indistinguishable in a side by side comparison with an F under casual viewing conditions. And that’s for the majority of people (myself included). So, if you have a tighter budget to work with, go for a G diamond. If you have excess cash to spare, by all means go higher to F or better.

  52. Julie-
    October 19, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Awesome, thank you! Your site is incredible and it’s so kind of you to answer all these questions. Your time and expertise is very much appreciated.

  53. Sara-
    November 1, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Hi, Paul.

    I have a question that I cannot find the answer to online, as of yet, so perhaps you may be able to help.

    I was looking for a larger three stone ring than what I have now. I was in a store and they showed lots of things to me, but I settled on a ring and a pair of earrings that they made into a three stone ring for me. I have been having problems with this purchase ever since for many, many reasons.

    My question is this. If their paperwork states that the earrings are F/G color what would a two color difference be? Would it go like this, when graded like that… F/G, G/H, H/I with the H/I being the two color grade difference? Or would H/I be the first difference, J/K being the second (but this doesn’t really make sense to me.)

    In order for me to get an actual refund (as opposed to fix, etc.) there needs to be a two color grade difference. I, not knowing anything, believe that F/G to H/I would be the two grade difference. I do not want to try to speak with them without the benefit of additional knowledge, as it would be easy for them to try to get around this (they absolutely do NOT want to offer a refund unless ABSOLUTELY necessary! Even then, if this is true, from things I have read about this store, it still may be very hard.) You seem very knowledgeable so I thought I would start here. I am so looking forward to your response!!!

    Thank you so very much!

  54. Paul Gian-
    November 1, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Who graded the diamonds? Well, let me take a guess. Not GIA nor AGS. You were ripped off in the purchase for not doing your due diligence. It’s the classic scam:

    If a store only does a refund based on a diamond being 2 grades apart instead of being unconditional (which is the norm), it says alot about how the store conducts business. All round, there are so many red flags from what I read.

    You are in a situation that will not end well for you; unfortunately. You have to play by whatever terms they set out in their policies and this is not something I can help you with. Unmounting the diamonds and sending them to GIA for grading to prove that the diamonds were overgraded would be the way to go. This will not only incur significant costs for you but a lot of stress in handling loose stones.

    Try asking for the refund nicely. If they oblige and are able to take back the jewelry purchased with you incurring some loss. TAKE IT.

    If they refuse, the best solution I tell readers is to suck up the loss and accept that you made a stupid decision to buy from them in the first place. Otherwise, you could run down the rabbit hole of getting “certification” from a 3rd party that they can honor. Chances are, unless you go the GIA route, you will end up back in square one.

  55. Sierra-
    November 1, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks so much for your guide! I am having trouble picking out a diamond between these below. I am looking for the setting to be white gold and would like a diamond that is eye clean, not at all milky/cloudy, and very sparkly w/ no noticeable yellow.

    My favorite is the first one, but it’s a significant chunk more than the others. I was wondering if it was worth it or not, or if there was a better option below?

    I was also wondering if carbon spots in diamonds are eye-detectable.

  56. Paul Gian-
    November 2, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Each of these diamonds are absolutely abysmal. The first 3 are horribly cut. The last is hazy due to clarity issues. Dump all of them.

  57. RIcky-
    June 12, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    I am looking at getting this ( diamond from a local “diamond wholesaler”.

    I am ok with the warmer tones, I think. But, I am reading conflicting things about how the setting affects diamond color.

    I was thinking about going with a rose gold flower halo setting with a 2 mm band.

    I have read that the colorless diamonds pick up the rose gold/yellow gold color of the prongs and can make them appear a grade lower in color than if placed in platinum and white gold.

    Conversely I have heard that J/K color diamonds, such as the one i am considering will look great in rose gold due to the contrast of the rose gold and diamond.

    Can setting really have opposite effects on different color grades?

    My questions, in your opinion/experience:

    1.) Does a rose gold setting on a k diamond make it appear more or less yellow?

    2.) How does white gold or platinum setting affect a K color diamond

    3.) Will halo diamonds help the center diamond look less colorful or more colorful? The jeweler has assured me that they will match the halo diamonds to the center diamond,

    Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.

  58. Paul Gian-
    June 15, 2018 at 4:10 am

    First of all, color is the least of your worries. That stone is absolutely mediocre in proportions and this adversely impacts light performance.

    1) Neither, a rose gold setting makes the diamond more reddish brown looking.
    2) Doesn’t affect anything at all. The setting is just a setting. How would it affect a K diamond in anyway when the properties of the diamond had already been “fixed”.
    3) Again. What has the the halo diamonds got to do with making the center stone less “colorful” or more “colorful”. If you want a more tinted color, then go for a fancy color diamond. If you DON’T expect to see any tinge of color in the diamond, buy a D color diamond and scrap the idea of buying yellow/rose gold settings. Go for a white metal setting and go with G or better colors.

    Bonus tip: dump your jeweler. For someone to recommend such a stone to you. It tells me 2 things. They either have zero knowledge on cut quality OR knowingly made a terrible recommendation; both of which are equally bad.

  59. Ray-
    July 13, 2018 at 1:25 am


    Thanks so much for all your advice. And for taking the time to answer all our questions. I was curious if you could elaborate as to why the diamond in the above post is “absolutely mediocre?” I admit I don’t know jack s*!& about diamonds, I’m trying to understand since I’m currently looking. Is it the height that’s bad? Also, when I look up the GIA cut estimation table, the crown and pavilion angles @ 61% table are just outside the EX range. I thought I had things down with cut and could work about the other Cs, but now I’m not sure.


  60. Paul Gian-
    July 13, 2018 at 3:42 am

    The GIA cut estimation table is only a guide for a really BROAD range within their system. This article will have answers you are seeking:

  61. Brannon-
    September 11, 2018 at 6:33 am

    Wonderful information. Thanks so much for all the tips. I have a color question. My lady (hopefully fiance’) wants a rose gold band. Will that color of band make the color of the diamond appear different? Can I get away with an H or I colored diamond or will that just make the color look worse? I’m looking at a Round True Hearts, 1.06 carat, VS1. I had no idea diamonds were so complex until i read your website. Your knowledge is amazing!

  62. Paul Gian-
    September 11, 2018 at 7:56 am

    For a rose gold setting, a H or I diamond is perfectly fine and will match the setting’s color. Just to be clear, if you place a D diamond into a rose gold setting, the D diamond will look reddish brown and the setting’s metal does impact the overall appearance.

  63. Monique-
    February 23, 2019 at 3:29 am


    YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR! The diamond industry is so confusing so I appreciate your honestly and clarity (sorry bad pun) that you give to everyone.

    I was looking at a 3 or 4 ct. eternity band in a size 6.5 (round diamonds like the link below):

    -Does cut/color matter when the diamonds are so small?
    -If so, what would you recommend?

    I’m not fussy, I’m getting an eternity band instead of an engagement ring because it fits my style better, but I still want it to look nice. I’ve been to several stores and have been quoted anywhere from $7.3k to $17k for a 3 ct. one, but online they’re so much cheaper, but I don’t want to get ripped off either way…

    Thanks so much!

  64. Paul Gian-
    February 23, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Eternity rings are often sold at ridiculous price points in retail because of their low transactional volume. More importantly, the overheads of a physical store are way higher and the costs get passed down. Now, for eternity rings, when the diamonds are small, color isn’t an issue as it is extremely hard for the eyes to pick up.

    Cut quality does matter.

    I reviewed the list here:

    Blue Nile uses decently well cut diamonds for their eternity bands and their craftsmanship is pretty good. At this pricepoint, the Luna eternity ring you are looking at is currently on a 20% sale from the Vday coupon, I don’t think there are better buys out there. Blue Nile offers a fantastic return policy if you don’t like what you see. So, it’s a risk free purchase and a no-brainer to go for the ring.

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