H Color Diamonds: Discovering Warmth and Subtlety

Last Updated on August 4, 2023 by Juli "Jewels" Church

Interested in an H Color Diamond? 

You're in the right place. In this guide, I'll go over everything you need to know when it comes to buying an H color diamond, like the answers to these:

H color grade diamond
  • Is an H color diamond a low color grade?
  • Are H color diamonds expensive?
  • How can I make an H color diamond look brighter?

What is an H Color Diamond?

An H color diamond is a diamond whose color grade has been assigned in the near colorless range. H color diamonds are the second highest color grade in this range, coming right after G color diamonds.

Diamonds in the near colorless range have a very slight yellow or brown tint that can be detected by a diamond grader under 10x magnification. It's unlikely the average customer will be able to detect this tint with the naked eye.

H color diamonds are often found at the center stone of engagement rings found at places like Kay or Zales. Most diamonds in those jewelry cases are under 1 carat and usually have an H or I color grade.

How Color Grades Affect Your Diamond

While not every diamond in an engagement ring comes with a certificate dictating its grades, it's important to have a grading report for your center stone. Diamonds come with all sorts of grades, as dictated by the 4cs of Diamond Quality.

According to the diamond industry, the major diamond quality factors are a diamond's cut quality, color grade, clarity grade, and carat weight. Each factor has its own set of individual grades and quality put forth by the Gemological Institute of America.

The 4Cs aren't the only factors that affect a diamond's price, quality, or value. Still, they can have a significant impact. Out of the 4Cs, color grades have the least amount of impact, but that doesn't mean they're not important.

The GIA Color Scale

When a diamond grader goes to grade diamonds at the GIA, it is done by comparing incoming diamonds to a master set of stones with color grades from D-Z. Many scales already start with grade A, like with colored gemstones. So, the GIA opted to start the color grade scale from D on.

The official GIA color scale is often grouped as colorless diamonds (DEF), near colorless diamonds (GHIJ), and faint yellow diamonds (KLM). Color grades N-Z are regarded as light yellow.

It's important to know that a "light yellow" diamond color grade is not the same as the canary yellow diamonds you've heard about. Fancy colored diamonds are highly valuable and expensive, though both yellow diamonds and brown diamonds are more affordable of the different fancy diamond colors.

Yellow diamonds come in different intensities, but they generally have a uniform saturation and tone. Light yellow diamonds on the D-Z color scale don't. They may look more yellow from different angles and the tones may vary. H color diamonds may have differing intensities and tones, but they still qualify to be H color diamonds.

Light yellow fancy colored diamond

I Color Grade Colorless Diamond

H Color Diamonds vs D Color Diamonds

A D color diamond is the highest color diamond grade available. Under magnification, a D color diamond doesn't have any yellow or brown tint. These are also the most valuable of diamond color grades.

When set side by side, you might be able to tell the difference between H color diamonds and D color diamonds. But once set into an diamond engagement ring, it can be harder to tell because of the ring setting. That's one reason why diamond graders only grade diamonds that loose and upside down.

I know that I can tell the difference between H and D color diamonds when compared at online diamond retailers. They tend be more noticeable at 40x magnification. But it becomes harder for me to tell with the naked eye.

Everyone perceives color differently so you might notice tint more than someone else. But one thing we can all notice is the cost difference between an H colored diamond and a D color diamond.

Assuming all other grades are the same, you can expect a D color diamond cost range between 30-40% more expensive than an H color diamond.

H Color Diamond

D Color Diamond

H Color Diamond vs I Color Diamonds

H and I color diamonds are often grouped together in commercial accent diamonds. An I color diamond grade is the second to last color grade in the near colorless range.

If all other grades are comparable, I color diamonds are usually around 5-10% less expensive than H color diamonds. They are also less rare.

At a smaller carat weight, you're less likely to notice a big distinction between the two diamonds. But 2 carat diamonds and higher will show a great distinction. Diamond color becomes more noticeable as the carat weight or carat size increases.

Some diamond shapes have a bigger face-up view than others, even if they are the same carat weight. A round diamond is a great example of this.

Round diamonds are faceted to where more of the weight is distributed in the bottom area of the diamond. As a result, the face-up view is smaller. Whereas an oval cut diamond is more shallow and has an elongated shape.

A 2 Carat diamond I diamond color grade will appear more yellow in an oval shape than it would a round diamond. That's especially true if you choose round diamonds with excellent cut quality.

But on the flipside, excellent cut diamonds with an H or I color grade may appear brighter because of the way they reflect light because of their ideal proportions.

H Color Diamond vs G Color Diamonds

G color diamonds are a grade higher than H color diamonds. They can range from 5-15% more expensive than an H color diamond. Like other color grades that are right next to each other, it can be hard to tell the difference between G and H color diamonds.

Neither diamond is completely colorless, but a G color diamond has less tint than an H color diamond when viewed under magnification. However, there are some things you can do to make an H color diamond look more like a G color diamonds-without paying the extra cash.

Remember how I mentioned that the setting of a diamond engagement ring can influence its color grade?

White gold is the most popular precious metal for an engagement ring, but can influence the way eyes perceive color. A lower color diamond such as J and below have more noticeable tint and white gold can make it appear even more obvious.

In the same respect, a yellow gold setting or a rose gold setting can make lower color diamonds appear more white looking. The pure yellow or copper color of the gold offsets slightly yellow tint in a diamond. That's not to say that light yellow color grades won't look yellow. They'll just look less yellow.

This comes in handy for an H color diamond and even an I color diamond. An H color diamond has slight tint, but can appear brighter in a yellow gold ring setting or a rose gold setting. But even if you're not a fan of yellow gold or rose gold, an H color diamond won't look much different in a white gold or platinum engagement ring setting. The tint isn't strong enough to be influenced negatively, even by white metals.

How Much Does an H Color Diamond Cost?

When people talk about diamond color grades, an H color diamond tends to be the average color grade. So what does the average H color diamond grade cost?

If we're just comparing color grades alone, it'd be easy to give an estimated price on each color grade and it would rise up the scale. But diamonds aren't priced just on color grades.

In fact, there's other contributing pieces to diamond prices that go beyond the 4Cs. Some of these include:

  • Diamond shape
  • Certified diamonds
  • Branded diamonds (Hearts on Fire, Leo First Light, Sakura Diamond)
  • Specialty cuts (Super Ideal Cut Diamonds, Hearts and Arrows)
  • Buying in-store vs online
  • Fluorescence (another color effect in diamonds)
  • Lab grown diamonds vs Mined Diamonds

These factors have varying degrees of influence over an H color diamond's price. For example, one usually expects a G color graded diamond to be a more expensive diamond than an H color diamond.

But if said diamond is a 2 carat H color diamond compared to a 1 carat diamond with a G color grade, the H diamond is going to be more expensive. Going up in carat weight is a surefire way to drive up the price of an engagement ring.

It's important to compare all aspects of a diamond when comparing prices. And don't assume that an expensive diamond is necessarily a good diamond. Even unappealing diamonds with lots of dark inclusions can go for thousands if in a large carat weight or better cut quality.

On average, you can expect 1 carat H color diamonds to range between a price of $3,000-$7,000.

How to Save Money on an H Color Diamond with Lab Grown Diamonds

While an H colored diamond engagement ring may be the "middle ground" of color grades, $3,000 can be a lot of money for many people, especially with inflation we've seen over the years.

There's no such thing as a "Super Sale" high quality diamond. High quality diamonds are expensive. There's no getting around it. The closest thing we have to that are lab grown diamonds.

Lab diamonds are real diamonds that are graded the same way as diamonds mined from the ground. They're not the same as fake diamond imitations like cubic zirconia.

Lab grown diamonds are also graded on the diamond color scale, though some retailers may not have as many H graded diamonds that have been lab made. Lab grown diamonds are produced in a controlled environment and are more likely to come out with a higher color grade.

Some companies will offer lab grown diamonds with yellow tint because they're a lot less expensive. You see, lab grown diamonds can be 20-40% less expensive than mined diamonds of the same quality.

You have the option of either choosing an H diamond center stone at a hell of a price, or you can buy a higher color grade that would still be even less than it would as a mined diamond.

Is an H Color Diamond Good for an Engagement Ring?

A diamond's color grade doesn't have any effect on the durability of your diamond, which is the most important factor to consider when buying a diamond for an engagement ring. So ultimately, your diamond's color grade comes down to personal preference.

Obviously a higher color grade will give you a whiter diamond. But not everyone has a problem with tinted diamonds. Some may only detect a slight difference while others might see the tint more clearly.

Some people even choose light yellow colorless diamonds because they like the warm, romantic candlelight glow they can give off. It's often said that warmer diamond color looks great on people with darker skin tones. And best of all, lower color diamonds offer a discount compared to near colorless or colorless diamonds.

The color difference between a colorless diamond and an H grade diamond isn't very obvious unless you're looking at them magnified side by side. But let's be honest. Once you purchase an H color diamond engagement ring, you're not likely to be comparing it to another color grade.

And if yellow tint really does bother you, don't forget the tips we've gone over on how to make an H grade appear more colorless. Choosing round cut diamonds with excellent cut quality, yellow gold settings, and a single stone solitaire setting can make a near colorless H color diamond's appearance closer to colorless. Just keep in mind that your diamond will look different in different lighting conditions. 

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