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Summary
If you’re in the market for a diamond engagement ring and love that bright tint of yellow gold, you’re in luck! Having some color in the metal gives you more options, since more diamonds will look white against the setting. Learn about diamond color and what will look best in a yellow gold engagement ring.
Reading time: 7 min

This I color diamond looks amazing in its yellow gold setting, but you might be able to save money by choosing a lower color grade without losing any beauty. © CustomMade. Used with permission.

To find a diamond that will look great in your ring, you must be able to see it up-close. If you’re shopping online, it’s important to watch magnified videos of your diamond before you buy. We recommend shopping at James Allen or Blue Nile for just this reason.

Personalized advice can be very helpful, too, especially when you’re buying your first diamond. Custom jewelers like CustomMade can guide you to that perfect rock and set it in a ring that will take your breath away.

What Does a Diamond Color Grade Mean?

Diamonds should all come with a grading report from a gemological lab. One of the grading criteria is color. For a white diamond, this grade actually means how colorless it is. The diamonds with the least color get a grade of “D,” while stones with more yellow or brown color receive grades further down the alphabet. When a diamond has enough yellow or brown (or if it has any other tint at all), it’s graded as a fancy color diamond.

For this article, we’ll focus on white diamonds and how they look in yellow gold rings. This includes “colorless” diamonds (grades D to F), “near colorless” diamonds (grades G to J), and “faint” diamonds (grades K to M).

Colorless Diamonds: D, E, and F

Colorless diamonds are rare compared to near colorless and faint diamonds. That means that they’re the most expensive choices, but even experts may find it impossible to discern their visual difference.

Telling the difference between diamond color grades can be even harder once the stones are set in yellow gold rings. That’s because the metal color will reflect through the diamond, making it look like it has more color than it really does.

d color yellow gold prongs

Set in yellow gold, this D color diamond doesn’t look bright white. Take a look on the James Allen site.

If having a colorless, bright white diamond is very important to you, choose a yellow gold ring with white gold prongs. Otherwise, save some money and get a diamond with a lower color grade.

white gold prongs

This D color oval-cut diamond is set in white gold prongs to make the most of its bright white color. Check it out on the James Allen site.

Near Colorless Diamonds: G, H, I, and J

Diamonds in the near colorless range will almost always look white when set in yellow gold. Take a look at this J color diamond:

J color solitaire

Compare this J color diamond to the D color diamond set with yellow gold prongs. Can you tell which has the higher color grade? Take a look at this ring on the James Allen site.

Even though it’s at the low end of near colorless diamond grades, the J color just isn’t visible in the yellow gold setting.

Faint Diamonds: K, L, and M

Now, let’s take a look at diamonds with a little more color. The color in a faint diamond will always be noticeable to someone looking closely at the ring. In white gold or platinum settings, the color is noticeably off. However, these diamonds really look great in yellow gold.

For K, L, and M color grades, it’s really a matter of preference. If you like the look of a lower color grade, go for it! You can put the money saved toward a larger carat diamond or save up for the honeymoon.

These faint color diamonds have some tint, but it’s all a matter of whether you like the stone.

Diamond Prices for Different Color Grades

Color grades have a big impact on diamond prices. That’s why we always recommend opting for the lowest color grade that will still look good. Let’s take a look at prices of different color grades for 1-ct, excellent cut round diamonds with a VS2 clarity grade and no fluorescence.

2020 Average Diamond Prices by Color Grade, 1ct Excellent Cut VS2

These 2020 averages are calculated from diamonds at James Allen.

So, choosing a lower color grade can really help you stretch your budget. In fact, if you drop down from a J to a K, you can really save some dough!

Recommended Diamond Color for Yellow Gold Rings

When you’re choosing a color grade for a diamond in your yellow gold ring, the diamond color itself isn’t actually the most important consideration. There are a few more things to take into account. The type of ring setting, diamond shape, and, of course, your personal preferences should all factor into your decision.

Ring Settings and Diamond Color

Our diamond color recommendations depend significantly on the type of ring you prefer.

A solitaire ring gives you the most leeway to choose lower color grades. A J or K color diamond will look great, but you can also opt for an L or M color if you like the aesthetic.

On the other hand, for halo rings and rings with side stones right next to the center stone, you’ll want to choose a near colorless diamond. Due to the close proximity of the accent diamonds, your eye will automatically compare their colors. This can make the center stone look more off-color.

L color halo engagement ring

As you can see, an L color diamond looks less than stellar in a yellow gold halo ring. See the video on the James Allen site.

For these rings, check the details for the side stone color. Most rings have G/H color side stones, but some have F/G or H/I. We recommend sticking to these color grades for the center stone as well to avoid an off-color appearance.

If the side stones are farther away from the center diamond, their color grades make little difference. Take a look at this L color diamond in a side stone setting:

L color side stone engagement ring

Since the side stones are set farther back in this James Allen ring, the L color center diamond still looks great.

Prong Metal Color

When you’re choosing a setting, take a close look at the prongs that hold the diamond in place. While some settings have yellow gold prongs, many have white gold prongs. Since the metal surrounding the diamond is white, it will make diamonds with low color grades look a little off.

The first ring features a K color diamond and shows a slight tint, while the I color diamond in the next ring looks bright white.

For white gold prongs, it’s best to stick to an H or I color diamond. Of course, if you’d prefer the ring with yellow gold prongs, just ask the jeweler if it’s possible.

Diamond Shape and Color

The diamond shape you select can make a big difference, too. Round diamonds hide color better than any other, so there’s no problem choosing a low color grade.

Princess, emerald, and asscher-cut diamonds are the next best shapes for hiding color. For a solitaire ring, you could go as low as a K color and still have a perfect ring with these shapes.

The baguette side stone rings are the perfect complement to the I color princess-cut center diamond. © CustomMade. Used with permission.

In other diamond shapes, the color tends to be more visible, no matter the metal color. So, stick to I or J color diamonds for shapes like ovals, pears, and marquises.

K color oval

This James Allen K color oval diamond concentrates the color at either end.

Color Preference

Ultimately, the only thing that matters when you choose a diamond color is that the person wearing the stone loves it.

Most people just want a diamond that looks white in the setting. That’s why we recommend a J or K color diamond for a yellow gold solitaire.

Others prefer a low color grade for a more vintage feel. In that case, an L or M will make a perfect diamond.

However, some just want a bright white diamond. If that’s you, opt for a setting with white gold prongs and try for a G or H color grade. Remember, you won’t be able to tell the difference between a near-colorless H and a colorless D.

Choosing a Jeweler

No matter what color grade you choose, it’s important to be able to view the diamond before you buy. This way, you can assess the color, clarity, and cut for yourself.

That’s why we recommend James Allen and Blue Nile . Their closeup videos really let you evaluate the diamond’s quality before you buy. Plus, their diamond experts are available to chat and address any concerns you have about your diamond.

If you’d like a more personal experience, there’s nothing like making a piece of custom jewelry. The experts at CustomMade can help you create the perfect yellow gold ring for you or your sweetheart.