K - M Colored Diamonds: Faint Yellow Quality

The trace elements and chemical impurities that occur naturally during the diamond’s growth process can give it a very light tint of yellow or brown color. Most of the time, you may not even see or recognize that tint when looking at engagement rings or other jewelry, however, the value of the diamond is significantly impacted. Additionally, the color is much less visible as the size of the diamond decreases. In most instances, color will have a small impact on the diamond’s desirability.

The Gemological Institute of America or GIA established a grading scale to differentiate between the color spectrum in diamonds and scaled it from D (highest) to Z (lowest). D is colorless and Z is light yellow. In that range, right in the middle, you’ll find K, L and M colored diamonds. K and L diamonds are considered faint yellow (or brown), depending on the visual hue. That means the diamond has a tinting of yellow that can be examined in the body, but not very visual face up, particular when set in jewelry. K and L diamonds have become quite popular lately because they’re extremely budget friendly and provide good value for money. They allow customers to maximize on the other more visual characteristics such as carat or clarity.

a face down diamond in a color shading paper used for determining the diamond's color grade in the K or L color range

The price difference is quite large because K and L colors are essentially a “breakpoint” between near colorless (J color) and faint yellow. Additionally, in diamonds less than 0.50ct - 0.70ct, the colors are difficult to discern or differentiate. This provides an incentive for purchasers to scale up size in a lower range. On the colorimeter, the score for K and L colored diamonds falls between 3.50 – 4.49. We generally recommend K and L colored diamond when you’re looking for value. We do believe the faint yellow shade can distract light performance and visual sparkle, particular in 1.00ct sizes and larger. However, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is important to remember that when buying a diamond, you’re setting it in jewelry or engagement rings, not comparing it to other diamonds side by side. This works in the favor of a customer. Your 0.50ct L colored diamond ring may look as beautiful at someone else’s J colored diamond ring; the main difference is that it may have cost you significantly less, which can be a great thing!

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