I Color Diamond – Too Yellow for An Engagement Ring?

i color diamondWould an I color diamond be too yellow to make an impressive engagement ring? Is it colorless enough to pass? Will the yellowish body color be too noticeable in a white gold setting?

In this article, we will let you in on everything you should know if you’re considering an I color diamond.

What is an I Color Diamond Exactly?

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has established the industry standard on white diamonds.

Trained diamond experts grade loose diamonds based on the amount of color they exhibit. After that, they assign a color grade between D-Z to the diamond.

If the diamond appears completely colorless, it’s given a D color grade. A diamond with a Z color grade comes with a hint of brown. Please note that the same color grading system does not apply to fancy colored diamonds.

GIA assigns color grades on a sliding scale divided into 5 categories:

  • D-F Colorless – A color grade of D is the highest possible color grade. D color diamonds are completely colorless and are rare. E and F color diamonds are also considered colorless and are very rare as well. Only a trained gemologist would be able to detect teeny tiny hints of color. Looking at D, E, and F diamonds, you can see no difference with the naked eye.
  • G-J Near Colorless: Only an expert gemologist can detect a slight yellow undertone in these stones. Although GIA categorizes such diamonds as “near-colorless,” we would hesitate to include J in this category. That’s because you can notice a hint of color in a J color diamond. For this color category, see our guides for G, H, I and J.
  • K-M Faint Coloring: Within this color category you can see a hint of yellow in the diamonds. That’s even without comparing them to diamonds of a higher color grade. Online vendors do not sell diamonds lower than this category for engagement rings. In our opinion, K color diamonds can look spectacular when set in yellow gold.
  • N-R Very Light Coloring: Diamonds with an N-R color grade have a very noticeable hint of yellow. They look very much like a diamond of poor quality.
  • S-Z Lightly Colored – Diamonds in this color range have a hint of brown in them. Because of this, these stones are not much in demand.

I color diamonds are “near-colorless”. If you look at the color scale above, you can see that the differences in color are very slight from one grade to the next.

Once a jeweler mounts an I color round cut diamond in a setting it is very difficult to spot any hint of color. That is if the carat weight is below 2 carats.

You Get the Most for Your Money With G-I Color Graded Diamonds

Now that you know that no one would notice the difference in color between near colorless and colorless diamonds, it’s time to see the difference in price.

If you want to compare diamonds of varying color grades, go to James Allen’s Inspiration Gallery.

We’re using the exact same diamonds you see above. All these are 1-carat diamonds with VS2 clarity grade with an excellent cut. Their only difference is color. For a fair comparison, we chose the lowest priced diamonds with these gradings.

i color diamond comparison

1 carat D VS2 Excellent Cut Round Diamonds

i color diamond price

1 carat I VS2 excellent cut round diamond

Look at the enormous price difference. A 1-carat D colorless diamond sells for nearly $5,500, whereas a little further down a 1-carat I near colorless diamond sells for $4,100.

If you cannot see the difference in color with the naked eye unless you look at them side-by-side, the H color diamond makes the most sense financially.

TIP: If you’re shopping for a diamond online and are not given photos so that you can see exactly what you’re buying, a G-H color diamond would be a safe bet. You may pay more, but at least you’ll have the assurance that there will be no visible hint of yellow. However, we do not recommend that you make such a significant purchase without seeing photos or videos of the diamonds you’re considering.

On James Allen, you’re able to search a huge selection of diamonds in your price range and view them in HD from all angles.

Should You Buy An I Colored or H Colored Diamond?

This is a very difficult question to answer. I do not think anyone should stress over one color grade because it doesn’t make much difference. If you are on the fence, unable to choose between an H or I color diamond, check out this video.

It’s nearly impossible for even an expert to tell the difference between the two, looking down on them from the top.

How Much Can I Expect to Pay for an I Color Diamond?

One of the main determinants of the price of a diamond is how rare it is. Colorless diamonds ranging from D-F are very rarely found in nature, so they cost a lot more than other diamonds.

If you want to get the most value for your money, near colorless diamonds ranging from G-J can be bought for much lower prices. 

James Allen has a huge inventory of competitively priced high-quality diamonds. You can view all the diamonds you’re considering on 360° videos. This provides you with total transparency and details that you would not be able to receive in a brick and mortar store.

Will an I Color Diamond Look Yellowish in a White Gold Ring Setting?

The vast majority of people would have difficulty seeing any hint of color when looking down on it from the top.

When you mount an I color diamond in an 18k white gold or platinum setting, the diamond will absorb and reflect the colors it is surrounded by. This makes the diamond appear “whiter” due to the reflection of the white gold or platinum setting. 

If you are set on a yellow or rose gold band, you can confidently choose a diamond with a lower color grade. Perhaps a J, K or even M, and it will look just fine. But if your diamond will be set in white gold or platinum, you may not be fine with a J color.

Would an I Color Diamond be White Enough for an Engagement Ring?

Again, it all depends on what you personally prefer.

A common misconception about I color diamonds is that a lot of people assume they look yellowish. That is because they’re categorized as “near-colorless”. They automatically write them off as unacceptable.

The only way you can decide whether an I color diamond is white enough is by looking at high definition videos and pictures. Also, keep in mind that your ring setting color as well as the diamond size both play an important factor when it comes to yellow color hues. The smaller the diamond and the more golden the setting the lower you can go when it comes to color grades.

Conclusion – Would You be Happy with an I Color Diamond Engagement Ring?

It’s completely understandable to want the best of everything, especially when it comes to choosing an engagement ring. We know that D color diamonds are “the best” because they have the highest grade of color. They are the rarest of diamonds and completely colorless. However, they are extremely expensive.

If you are not highly color sensitive, you should be perfectly happy with an I color diamond engagement ring. This really does give you the most value for your money while still getting a diamond that looks white. Check out James Allen to see a huge selection of high-quality GIA and AGS graded diamonds!


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