Should You Spring for the Best Color Grade in a Diamond That You Can Possibly Afford?

Congratulations – you’re about to pop the question (or will be asked) soon, but are still in the preliminary ring shopping stage. Right now you know the proposal will involve some kind of colorless diamond, but haven’t quite settled on the quality of diamond – and especially the exact color grade – just yet. You probably have a laundry list of questions that need answering and at the top of that list sits the million- (or several-thousand) dollar question: should you spring for the best color grade in a diamond that you can possibly afford?

The quick and simple answer is no, especially if both you and your future fiancée are laypeople – that is to say, both of you are not professional members of the diamond trade or even diehard diamond enthusiasts. Why’s that, you wonder? Because only those who are trained to view diamonds with a critical eye can really tell the difference between colorless diamonds that vary by 1-2 color grades and even more so when those diamonds have been mounted in their typical face-up positions in jewelry under everyday lighting conditions. Keep in mind that experienced professionals who can easily distinguish colorless diamonds that differ by just one or two color grades have to view diamonds in controlled laboratory lighting that most people will rarely, if ever, be exposed to.

If you’re concerned about your engagement diamond having a bright, beautiful appearance, as we always recommend, opt for the best cut that your budget can comfortably afford. Cut is what determines the brilliance and lively appearance of a diamond and when a well-cut colorless diamond is mounted in a ring, or other jewelry, the sheer brilliance of the stone will mask any color that may be visible in a diamond of a lower color grade.

If the absolute tiniest hint of (warm) color in a colorless diamond doesn’t bother you in the least, then consider a diamond in the middle color range (G-H and perhaps even I-J if you are OK going lower in color still – especially if you know the engagement ring will be yellow gold). This will assure that you’ll get the most bang for your buck because you won’t be paying an arm and a leg for a D-E-F diamond yet you will still have a stone that’s nearly colorless.

In the end, diamond color, like the ring itself, is a highly personal choice. If you insist on having the best possible diamond color for your ring, that’s perfectly understood. And if you’re fine with a J or lower color grade for your diamond, that’s just as well! There is no right or wrong choice when selecting a diamond color – it’s all about your particular preference (and budget, of course).


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