A Complete Guide to H Color Diamonds

Diamonds in the upper half of the near-colorless range (GHIJ) represent outstanding value because they look white without the price premium associated with colorless diamonds (DEF). H color diamonds are particularly interesting to astute shoppers for a couple of reasons which will be discussed in this article.
H Colored Diamond
H Colored Diamond
First it should be noted that any useful discussion of the relative benefits of different diamond colors assumes we are talking about laboratory graded diamonds with reports from a respected laboratory such as the GIA and AGS Laboratories. Since diamond colors are actually very small ranges in the spectrum of light to dark, colorless to “colorful”, it is critical for diamond color grading to be done by ethical, independent experts under controlled and repeatable conditions, with a full set of carefully selected and verified master stones.
H Color diamonds are free enough of body color that they will look white even in larger sizes and even when viewed from the side. A small amount of body color, such as that possessed by diamonds in the near colorless range, becomes a little more perceptible (to people with very good color acuity) the larger they are. This is particularly true when the diamond is viewed in profile, such as the side view of a four prong solitaire setting. Because H color diamonds are in the upper half of the near colorless range, even a “low H” will be squarely in the middle of this most popular range. Most people are not sensitive to color at this level, even in larger sizes viewed in profile.

H Color Diamond Pricing

As mentioned above, H color diamonds are in a sweet spot of diamond pricing. While they look colorless to the average observer, and even to knowledgeable observers in real world lighting conditions, the dollar premium for technically colorless diamonds (DEF) is very significant. All other qualities being equal, H color pricing may literally be half the price of a comparable D color, especially in larger diamonds of high clarity.
On the other hand, if you compare H Color diamond pricing to stones pushing just beyond the near-colorless range (GHIJ), where it is easier for most people to perceive body color, the savings is not as considerable. For this reason, H Color is one of the best values available across the diamond color spectrum.

H Color vs G Color Diamonds

As we have seen, H color diamonds represent significant savings vs DEF colors. But what about G color? Although we are talking just one color grade, a G color will be more expensive than an H color even though it is still not in the colorless category. Is the premium worth it? For most regular people, the difference between G and H color is not perceptible, even in controlled lighting conditions. Without the benefit of color master diamonds for comparison, even people in the trade may not be able to reliably make the distinction. Therefore, it is debatable whether there is any advantage to buying up to G color from H, considering both have some slight body color and that you are not attaining the coveted “colorless” rank by that small jump. For customers who are extremely color sensitive, this is of course a judgment call. Color perception is highly subjective and varies widely among people.

H Color Diamonds and Cut quality

Many astute shoppers today, especially those doing some research on the internet, seek out opinions of other shoppers or an informative diamond buying guide. They learn about smart tradeoffs that can result in finding a diamond of exceptional beauty and excellent value. For instance, ideal cut diamonds with outstanding light performance return an abundance of light to the eye. This not only results in more diamond sparkle but it also makes the diamond look bigger and whiter as well. So an ideal cut H color diamond effectively looks like a G color in face up view, while delivering great fire and brilliance.
In conclusion, selecting diamonds in the near-colorless range is a great way to get “best bang for the buck”. If the diamond looks white from all angles and it is cut for great light performance, it will possess key attributes that make diamonds so beautiful. Of course, there is clarity to consider, which can have a big impact on beauty, and that is covered in a separate article on clarity grading.

H Color Lab Diamonds

When it comes to choosing color in lab grown diamonds, a different calculus takes precedence. Because color and clarity can be controlled for in the laboratory growing process, and because lab grown diamonds keep getting better and better, there is relatively little to be gained from compromising on color and clarity or on the performance critical Cut quality. Because ideal cut diamonds from D-G and VVS1-VS1 are available in good supply, H color lab diamonds are not as good a value compared to their natural counterparts. And, because supply and demand do not have the same dynamic in lab grown vs natural, there is not much savings to be gained by dropping below G. Affordably priced colorless, microscopically clean diamonds represent the true advantage of going with a lab-created diamond.

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