Diamond color prices: How to choose
While changes in diamond color are very subtle, pricing changes are not. The price difference between each color grade (all else being equal) ranges from about 8% to more than 25% in the higher colors. For the perfectionist, D through F color diamonds are a great choice. For a more value driven decision, consider an I through K color. It’s extremely important to keep in mind that diamonds of all colors show fire and brilliance. Consider all other elements like the full budget for the ring and your preferred metal.
Purchasing a lower-color diamond concedes only small visible differences, but the savings can be very noticeable. The most noticeable cost difference is often from G to F color grades. The most popular color grade is a G, for this reason, with H closely behind.
Factor your metal choice into your decision
Metal color can play a role in which diamond color you should select. A lower-color diamond can actually look beautiful (and more white) in a yellow gold setting. That’s because a yellow gold setting decreases the contrast between your diamond and the setting. A little yellow tint will appear more yellow by comparison if placed in a white gold setting.
But the color of the metal isn’t the only factor here. Additionally, the amount of metal, and the type of setting, can show off more or less of the diamond. Depending on this, you may want to select a lower or higher color on the scale.
The shape and size of your diamond matter, too
Fancy-shaped diamonds (shapes other than round cut) tend to show more color. Pear, oval and marquise cuts exhibit more color near their points and edges. The princess, emerald, Asscher, radiant cut and cushion cuts reflect more color in the body. If you love the look of a G color diamond in a round cut, assume you'd want an F in another diamond shape.
With diamonds of any shape, as the carat weight increases, color can be more obvious. With larger sizes, it's important to choose higher colors. You can also learn about the other factors that affect diamond pricing.
We ranked the importance of the color grade (1-10: 1 least important, 10 important) as it relates to the shape of the diamond. Shape is a critical element in determining how much color is shown:
|Round||4/10||Their brilliant facets can mask color. Therefore, with this shape you do not have to get an overly high color grade. You can balance color with other factors like cut to get the best value and look.|
|Princess||5/10||The color shows more than rounds due to the depth and size of the body in the diamond|
|Emerald||6/10||The open, deeper body of the diamond tends to show more color. The larger facets don't allow sparkle to mask color|
|Asscher||6/10||The open, deeper body of the diamond tends to show more color. The larger facets don't allow sparkle to mask color as well. If gettng a smaller asscher diamond, something that is below 1 carat you may not have to get as high of a color. When purchasing one larger than a carat, pay closer attention to color.|
|Oval||7/10||Elongated shapes, specifically ones with points show less color in the body, but much more near the edges and points. Again if opting to get an oval that is larger than 1 carat, pay closer attention to the color. Look at also how shallow or deep the diamond is. Deeper diamonds will show a little less color.|
|Marquise||8/10||Elongated shapes, like the marquise will show more color along the points. If getting a marquise that is elongated, be sure to look carefully at images and videos of the diamond to understand color.|
|Pear||8/10||Elongated shapes like the pear will show more color in the points of the diamond. Be careful as to how narrow or fat the diamond is. With a more narrow point, color will show easily.|
|Heart||8/10||With a pointed bottom and an edge that curves inward at the top, a larger diamond can show color. However, color showing may not be a large concern with heart shaped diamonds that are smaller than 1.25 carats.|
|Radiant||9/10||Radiant diamonds can show color fairly easily due to the type of faceting. Be sure to consider color when choosing.|
|Cushion||9/10||Cushion diamonds can show more color based on the type of faceting. With a brilliant cut cushion, color showing is less of a concern. However, with one that has larger and more open facets, color can show more easily. Take a close look at your diamond to decide and have a gemologist explain to you which kind of faceting it has.|
Does fluorescence impact color?
One final factor affects a diamond’s color: fluorescence. But unlike those diamond myths you may have heard, diamond fluorescence is your friend. Fluorescence is the diamond’s reaction to UV light (a.k.a. black light). Fluorescence is caused by naturally occurring trace elements, such as boron, that become part of diamonds as they grow. In very rare instances, it affects the visual properties of diamonds.
It is recommended that in higher colors (colors D-G), fluorescence should be faint or none. Fluorescence can whiten a diamond for those that are on the lower (more yellow) end of the color spectrum. When the diamond is already colorless, although very unlikely, it can give it a whitish, grayish tint. This is typically the case in less than 1% of all diamonds with fluorescence. The more common impact is color improvement in lower colors.
In colors such as I-L, we recommend considering medium or strong fluorescence. It can improve the visibility of a yellowish tint, thereby visually making the color appear a shade whiter. A diamond with fluorescence is also generally cheaper than one without. Especially choose fluorescent diamonds in J, K or L colors, as they also provide excellent purchase value.
Diamond color buying tips
We get it: Although our expert gemologists are always here to answer questions and guide you through this process, sometimes you don’t have time to pick up the phone or draft an email. So when you just need a list to refer to of expert insights on choosing a diamond based on color, you can use the one we pulled together below:
- For the best balance of value and look, G through J is a great range. This rule applies to most carat weights. However, if you're looking for a diamond above 1 carat, consider staying with G or H. (Remember, that's because color can show more easily as the diamond carat size goes up.) Once set in a ring, the diamond will look equally as good as a higher color diamond. Factor the shape into consideration when deciding on a color range; fancy shapes will show more hue.
- If you want a larger diamond, don't compromise on the color. Along with cut, color is the most important factor when choosing a diamond. These two factors deeply impact the look and beauty of the diamond.
- Color becomes much harder to detect once a stone is set in a ring. An H color diamond may look as colorless as a D when set in a ring under normal lighting conditions, especially if the two are not compared side by side. (And, really, when are you ever going to compare your ring to someone else’s side by side?)
- The color of the mounting will affect the diamond's color. Yellow gold makes slight amounts of yellow in a diamond less obvious, while white metal mountings make color more apparent. Rose gold can have a similar effect, but to a lesser degree. Platinum and white gold will make yellow tints most obvious.
- A ring setting that covers more of the diamond, like a bezel or channel setting, will hide color. One that showcases more of the diamond, such as a solitaire, will be less useful in hiding any yellow.
- Don't fret if a color grade isn't perfect. Most untrained observers (and many gemologists) can't distinguish a color grade from the next unless the diamonds are compared side-by-side in a controlled environment.
If the color's effect is unclear, call to speak to a diamond and jewelry consultant who can view the diamond to ensure its tint doesn't adversely affect sparkle. Contact us by phone at 1-844-234-6463 or email at [email protected] Our Live Chat is available during business hours Monday - Friday 10AM - 6PM ET.
Buying Tips for D-F Diamonds
With D, E and F diamonds, you can be assured that the diamonds have no trace of color and look crystal clear. With this color range, any metal setting will look great and bring out the sparkle of the diamond. As D and E color diamonds are quite rare and valuable, you will see large price jumps when moving up color grades within that range. Unless you are immensely particular about color, you can safely get an F color diamond. To the naked eye, an F color diamond will look as good as a D or E color diamond with little difference seen, except on the price tag.
Buying Tips for G-J Diamonds
G, H, I and J color diamonds are considered colorless by GIA. For most diamond sizes and shapes, they can be a good option. If getting a diamond that's as close to colorless as possible is important to you, stay within the G or H ranges. J and I color diamonds can be good options, but the amount of yellow they display varies based on size, shape and fluorescence. If you're choosing yellow or rose gold, you can move down a color grade. The metal color will make the diamond look slightly whiter.
Buying Tips for K-L Diamonds
K and L color diamonds are not considered colorless. They have a faint to soft yellow hue that can be visible to the naked eye. Avoid K and L color diamonds for diamonds larger than 1 carat as the color is more noticeable. If color is the least important factor for you, K and L colors can be considered. But you should keep in mind that if you’re opting for a setting with a lot of accent diamonds, like pave or halo settings, these smaller stones may make your center diamond look more yellow. Here at With Clarity, all of our accent diamonds are within the G color grade. You'll see quite a big price drop from higher color ranges, though. This color range can also be an option for those who want a vintage- or antique-inspired ring.
Diamond color and accent diamonds
Matching smaller accent or side stones with the center diamond is a crucial aspect of making high-quality jewelry. Color is the most important factor in ensuring a match. Larger diamonds tend to show color more easily, so ensure your accent stones are within a couple color grades of your main stone, particularly with halo and three-stone ring settings.
However, don't be too concerned if the grade is not an exact match, as color and inclusions are harder to see in smaller accent diamonds. At With Clarity, we always use G color diamonds for our accent stones because we want you to love the overall look of your ring. These stones match a large range of center stone grades, from D color diamonds to J color diamonds, but you might see some contrast if you choose a stone lower than that.
Fancy colored diamonds
Diamonds that have color beyond the D -Z scale or have traces of color other than the typical yellow or brown are considered fancy colored. (A fancy shaped diamond is any shape other than round.) Fancy colored diamonds are extremely rare. Only one diamond in 10,000 is a color other than yellow or brown. Depending on the color saturation, intensity, and hue of a diamond, color can either detract from or enhance its value. Naturally occurring diamond colors include gray, white, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, olive, pink, purple, brown, and black. Red stones are the most rare and have the greatest value. There are only about 40 to 50 red diamonds in the world. Diamonds are graded by laboratories on a scale with 27 different color hues. Popular fancy color brand names include cognac, champagne, chocolate, icy and canary.
Fancy colors are graded by GIA by evaluating the strength of color and the undertones of all colors present. Diamonds can have multiple undertones, with dominant colors such as Fancy Light Orangy Pink or Fancy Yellowish Green. We typically recommend seeing the diamond in person before purchasing due to the importance of hue, tone and saturation. An image or video will rarely accurately capture the diamond's fancy color and brilliance in this particular category.