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side view of an H color diamond

Image courtesy of James Allen 

If you are considering an H color diamond, you will be pleased to know that you are looking at one of the most popular diamond color grades. Not only that, but it is a color grade that I personally recommend to many customers who come to me looking for guidance. Sitting right in the middle of the ‘near colorless’ category (G-H-I), this guide covers everything you need to know about H color diamonds and why they are such a popular choice for engagement rings and other diamond jewelry.

What is an H Colored Diamond?

A bright, colorless diamonds without hints of yellow is the ultimate goal for buyers of colorless diamonds. With diamond color varying so widely, the GIA created a diamond color grading system and it is this system that allows customers to breakdown the cost of diamonds more accurately. It also ensures uniformity in the grading standards of diamonds – this is why a top tier diamond certificate it crucial. The GIA and AGS offer accurate, consistent grades that you can trust. I cover all the details of certification and more in my complete guide to diamond color.

Image of  the GIA color scale against the AGS color scale 

Diamond color is subjective. In my experience, most buyers cannot detect yellow tones in an H color diamond but I have come across those who are particularly sensitive to color and may be able to spot the difference between an H and a D color diamond, for example. The general view is that an H color diamond presents a bright, white sparkle and without a jeweller’s loupe or specialist lighting conditions, it is extremely difficult to detect color in H color diamonds. What is easy to see though, is the huge price difference between H color diamonds and those with a higher color grade.

Choosing an H Color Diamond

H color diamonds come highly recommended but that doesn’t mean opting for an H color diamond automatically produces a winner. There are other factors to consider before making your final decision:

Cut Quality: The cut is the single most important quality factor of diamond buying. The quality of the cut is what unleashes the brilliance, fire and scintillation – all of these equate to the sensational sparkle we look for in diamonds. Going for the best possible cut will ensure light is successfully mirrored and reflected – this also helps a diamond look brighter. If you’re unfamiliar with importance of cut quality, I recommend taking a look at my guide to diamond cut.

Diamond Shape: The diamond shape also impacts upon how successfully a diamond conceals color. The good news is that an H color grade is perfect for round brilliant and princess cut diamonds (the two most popular shapes). More news is that even step cuts, which present color more readily than other shapes, can look beautiful with an H color grade.

Diamond Imaging: Diamond imaging is a broad term that encompasses a number of tools and software that assess all the quality attributes of a diamond, including color. Vendors like James Allen and Whiteflash offer clear, high-res images that makes the comparison of diamonds and scrutiny of color a much easier task.

Do H Color Diamonds Look Yellow?

The diamond industry is plagued with scaremongering, with the ultimate goal being profit for sellers. I have heard stories of customers being pushed into much higher grades with much higher prices. This does not benefit the customer. So, let’s take a look:

Images courtesy of James Allen

The diamond on the left is an H-VS1. The diamond on the right is a D-VS1. Can you detect a noticeable color difference? Consider now, that these diamonds are photographed in optimum lighting conditions and dramatically magnified. When set in a ring and viewed in every day lighting conditions, would there be a difference at all?

H Color Diamond Prices

Diamonds prices fluctuate and the other quality characteristics also have a huge impact on price. I will say though, that you can expect to pay up to 40% more for diamonds in the colorless category VS an H color diamond – this can equate to tens of thousands of dollars for a difference that the majority of people cannot notice. Colorless diamonds are extremely rare and this is reflected in the price. Those who opt for the highest diamond color grades do so for the admiration of their rarity, rather than their beauty/price trade off.

Where to Buy H Color Diamonds

Think of your basic, diamond-buying tick list. Top tier certificates, high-res imaging, good cut quality and detailed diamonds specs. For round brilliant, H color diamonds, Whiteflash are my first choice. They offer all the ‘must haves’ and more, with advanced diamond imaging, incredible cut quality and a detailed, analytical approach to diamond quality. For fancy shapes, an H color diamond is still a great choice and I recommend Blue Nile’s incredible collection of loose, fancy diamonds. If you are playing with a modest budget, customers will find H color diamonds on James Allen for competitive prices.


Richard Jenkins, The Diamond Guru

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