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Just like everything else in your engagement ring shopping journey, the diamond grade you select depends on your personal preference — and how you prioritize the four C's.
Choosing a loose diamond lower on the color spectrum can be one way to save money on an engagement ring, but some of those color grades come with caveats. L color diamonds are one of those — like your future in-laws, they have their pros and cons. Yeah, we said it. We’re not afraid to go there. So if you prepare yourself for family Thanksgiving, why wouldn’t you get a little background on the diamond you’re considering? Here's what you need to know about L diamonds.
Diamonds are graded on a spectrum: D through F diamonds are considered colorless; G through J diamonds are "near colorless;" and K through M are considered to have "faint" color. With Clarity only carries diamonds graded D through L — we want you to shop with confidence, knowing you’ll choose a brilliant stone you'll love for years.
L color diamonds sit in the middle of the "faint color" range. So what does that mean? How much color is visible in these stones? Bottom line: L color diamonds have some apparent color — a fact that comes with some considerations.
L color diamonds have a slightly yellow tone. Generally, there isn't really a debate about whether Ls are or aren't slightly yellow — these diamonds have enough body color that it's fairly apparent they have a tint. The color is most noticeable when viewed from the side. Some L color diamonds can also have a brownish hue. (However, yellow is more sought after than brown and the body color is less apparent in a yellow stone than a brown one.) If you’re working with one of our expert gemologists, they’ll advise you against buying an L diamond that presents with a brown tint.
An easy way to make L color diamonds look whiter is to choose a metal that provides less contrast. A yellow gold band can make diamonds with a slight yellow tinge appear more white. With its warm pinkish tone, rose gold is also a good setting for this aim, but yellow gold will have the most whitening effect.
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 because they’re more shallow in these areas. The princess, emerald, Asscher, radiant cut and cushion cuts reflect more color in the body. An L color diamond will look whitest in a round brilliant cut.
You could also choose a diamond with fluorescence, which can make your stone look whiter. Fluorescence is simply how a diamond responds to UV light, and has no effect on its structural integrity. (Read more about Diamond Fluorescence and Grading here.) Our gemologists generally advise that if you’re considering a diamond in the Faint color range, you opt for a stone that has Medium to Strong fluorescence. This will help your diamond look up to a full color grade whiter.
However you choose to prioritize the four C's, don't compromise on cut. A quality cut stone will always look better regardless of its color — when your diamond has a fantastic sparkle, its color is less focal.
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But it is best to avoid a halo, three stone, or pave setting with this diamond grade — they can make your diamond look more color-infused because they contrast with any accent diamonds used in the setting. (With Clarity always uses G color diamonds as accent stones.) A solitaire setting won’t have this problem, and admirers won’t have anything with which to compare your center diamond.
It comes down to your personal preference, but yes — especially for people who know they want a round solitaire engagement ring in yellow gold since all these preferences will make the stone appear whiter. The potential cost savings is huge — you could save for other things or reinvest the difference in a much larger stone. If you're planning to purchase a setting that will add warmth to your stone anyway (like yellow or rose gold), you might want to give serious thought to saving some coin with an L color diamond.
That being said, most of our customers considering a diamond in the Faint color range opt for a K color diamond. Since it's just one color grade higher, the price difference isn't that great, and you'll still enjoy the money-saving benefits of this color range. You can see how loose diamonds purchased at With Clarity break down by color in the chart below:
Feel like this is a lot to remember? Then just get one of our expert gemologists to do the hunting for a good L diamond for you. All you need to do is fill out the form below with a little about your diamond and budget preferences. They'll go sorting through all of our loose diamonds and email you three different suggestions tailored to your preferences.