H color diamonds fit into the “near colorless” range of the diamond color scale. In the right cut, they can be tremendous value for money, offering almost identical looks to a colorless diamond at a significantly lower price.
Learn what H color diamonds are, as well as when this diamond color grade is worth considering. We’ve also compared H color diamonds side by side with diamonds of other color grades to give you a full understanding of their appearance.
What are H Color Diamonds?
Diamonds can range a great deal in color, from totally colorless to quite strongly yellow tinted. In our guide to diamond color, we’ve explained that all diamonds sold with certification receive a color grade that’s based on the GIA’s diamond color scale. The scale ranges from D (colorless) all the way to Z (visibly yellow). The stronger a diamond’s natural yellow tint, the lower its grade, resulting in a letter further into the alphabet.
A diamond that’s as close to perfectly free of color as possible will receive a grade of D. These diamonds are extremely rare and make up a tiny percentage of all diamonds sold. They tend to cost a significant amount more than diamonds with lower color grades.
H color diamonds are part of the “near-colorless” area of the GIA’s color scale. This means that they appear almost totally colorless when they’re viewed with the naked eye, but could show a slight yellow tint when they’re viewed under magnification by an expert gemologist.
H Color Diamonds Vs Other Color Grades
The H color is actually the second-highest color grade in this category (G is the highest, with D, E and F part of the “colorless” range). Because H color diamonds aren’t part of the “colorless” section of the scale, it’s quite common for people to assume that they must have an obvious, visible yellow color.
However, this is not the case. Even in a brightly lit room and under magnification, it’s very hard to tell the difference between an H color diamond and a diamond with a color grade that’s in the colorless range.
As you can see, even under bright lighting and at 20x magnification, it’s very difficult to see any difference in color between these two diamonds.
Now, imagine trying to spot the difference between the diamond on the left and the diamond on the right in natural light, without magnification and with the diamond set in a ring that’s worn on your fiancé-to-be’s finger.
Viewed from the side, the difference in color between the two diamonds becomes slightly more visible. However, it’s still very subtle even with bright lighting and magnification:
One reason that the difference in color between these two diamonds is so subtle is the cut. Both of these diamonds use the round brilliant cut, which is excellent at reducing the visible color of a diamond because of its pattern of light-reflecting facets.
In other cuts, the yellow tint of an H color diamond is more obvious.
As you can see, the difference in color is more visible this time, at least with the help of lighting and 20x magnification.
When to buy an H Color Diamond?
H color diamonds offer a fantastic combination of aesthetics and value for money. Since they’re in the near-colorless range of the diamond color scale, they almost always look colorless when they’re set in a ring. At the same time, they’re significantly cheaper than D, E or F diamonds.
Overall, we think that the H color grade is an excellent choice for most diamonds. However, as with all color grades, there are situations where a diamond with a higher or lower color grade is a better choice.
Below, we’ve listed our color recommendations for round diamonds, as well as other diamonds shapes. We’ve also explained how the setting you choose can affect the look of an H diamond and the value for money it offers.
For Round Diamonds
For round diamonds, the H color is a great choice. The round brilliant cut does a fantastic job of reflecting light, making it extremely difficult to see any difference in color between an H diamond and a colorless diamond even under heavy magnification.
In fact, we think the H color grade is the highest you should go on the color scale when buying a round diamond. If you choose a more expensive diamond with a grade higher than H, you’ll pay for a feature that you won’t ever be able to notice or appreciate.
As you may know, the metal you choose for your engagement ring can affect the appearance of the diamond. White metals, such as white gold and platinum, make color easier to see, while metals like yellow and rose gold can make clear diamonds look more yellow.
We feel comfortable recommending the H color grade for round brilliant cut diamonds in metals such as platinum and white gold. Set in an engagement ring setting of any style, a well-cut H color diamond can look colorless and absolutely stunning.
For colored metals such as yellow and rose gold, the H color grade is also fine. However, you’ll actually be better off choosing a lower color grade, such as a J color diamond, as the gold color of the metal will make any diamond appear slightly yellow anyway.
For Other Diamond Shapes
The H color grade is a good choice for most diamond shapes. However, there are a few shapes that show color more readily than others, meaning you may want to choose a better color grade if you’re shopping for a diamond in one of these shapes. We’ve covered all of these below.
For the Asscher, princess and emerald cuts, an H color diamond is absolutely fine. Diamonds in these shapes don’t conceal color as well as the round brilliant cut, but they still reflect more than enough light to make an H color diamond look virtually identical to a colorless one.
If you’re choosing a colored metal such as yellow or rose gold, you can even drop below the H color grade and choose an Asscher, princess or emerald cut diamond in the J grade.
For other diamond shapes set in white metal, H is the lowest color grade we feel comfortable recommending. For yellow and rose gold, the H color grade is absolutely fine, although you can safely drop down to the I to J range without much of a visual difference.
To learn more about how to choose a high quality Marquise Diamond, contact us today.