The Diamond Pro

G Color Diamonds: Are They a Good Choice?

By Michael Fried
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If you’re thinking of buying a diamond, choosing the right color is one of several decisions you’ll need to make. 

Diamonds come in a range of colors, from D (colorless) to Z (visibly yellow). As the highest color grade in the “near colorless” range of the scale, G color diamonds offer outstanding looks with a lower price tag than diamonds in the “colorless” range. 

Below, we’ve explained everything you need to know about G color diamonds, from exactly how they look compared to other diamonds to how much they cost, recommended shapes, when it’s worth buying one and more. 

What Are G Color Diamonds? 

As we’ve covered in our guide to diamond color, all diamonds sold from reputable jewelers are sold with a certificate that lists their color grade. 

Diamond color is graded using the GIA’s diamond color scale. The highest grade on the scale is a D, which indicates that a diamond is as colorless as naturally possible. Only a tiny percentage of diamonds receive this grade, making D color stones both very rare and very expensive. 

E and F are also in the colorless part of the scale. G, on the other hand, is the highest grade in the near-colorless range, which also includes H, I and J. 

In this case, “near-colorless” means that a G color diamond might display a very faint yellow tint when it’s viewed and graded by an expert gemologist. 

Gemologists look at diamonds in a brightly lit laboratory setting. To get a clear view of any color issues of imperfections in a diamond, they’ll use specialized equipment such as jewelers loupes that allow them to view the diamond at 10x and 30x magnification.

This means that while a G color diamond might look slightly different to a D color diamond when it’s viewed under bright lighting and magnification, the difference in color is much harder to spot in a normal environment without bright lighting and special equipment. 

In fact, in the right cut, a G color diamond can look virtually identical to a D color diamond when it’s viewed with the naked eye. 

G Color Diamonds vs. Other Color Grades

One of the most common worries people have when buying a diamond is whether a diamond with a color grade that’s below the colorless range (D, E, F) will look yellow in person.

Part of this concern is likely due to marketing. Diamond vendors and diamond jewelry brands, in an effort to push consumers towards more expensive diamonds, can exaggerate the importance of color. 

The reality is that, to the naked eye, there isn’t much difference between a D color diamond and one with a G color grade. In fact, there’s surprisingly little difference between a D color diamond and one with an H color grade, at least in the right cut. 

To help you avoid overpaying for color, take a look at the image below. On the left, we have this 1 carat, VS2 clarity, excellent cut, G color round brilliant cut diamond. On the right, we have this D color diamond of the same carat weight, clarity and cut quality:

Can you see a major difference in color between these two diamonds? If you look carefully, you might be able to see that the G diamond is slightly yellower than the D color diamond. However, it’s a very slight difference, even with bright lighting and 20x magnification.

When it comes to price, the difference is much greater. The G color diamond is priced at $5,330, while the D color diamond is $610 more expensive at $5,940. 

One of the reasons these two diamonds look similar is their cut. Because of its facet pattern and ability to reflect light, the round brilliant cut is great at concealing any hints of color in a diamond, even at lower color grades.

Still, even in a cut that displays color more obviously, the difference between a G color diamond and a D color diamond is quite small. 

For example, below, we’ve compared a 0.90 carat, VS2 clarity, G color Asscher cut diamond (on the left) to a similarly-sized, D color Asscher cut diamond (on the right): 

Under bright lighting and 20x magnification, there’s a very slight yellow coloration to the G color diamond that isn’t there in the D color diamond. However, the difference is small — so small that your eye alone can’t tell the difference in a real-life setting.

Now, let’s compare the same G color Asscher cut diamond (on the left) to this F color Asscher cut diamond of equivalent cut, clarity and carat weight (on the right):

Can you see any difference in color between these two diamonds? Even with studio lights and magnification, the difference in color is almost subtle, even though one diamond is considered “colorless” and the other only “near-colorless” using the GIA’s diamond color scale. 

Both of these diamonds are 0.90 carat, with VS2 clarity and an excellent cut quality. The F color diamond costs $2,900, while the near-identical G color diamond is available for $2,400 — a full $500, or 17%, less. 

G Color Diamond Pricing

As you can see from the examples above, G color diamonds are less expensive than D, E and F diamonds in the colorless range of the diamond color scale, all without much of a perceptible difference in appearance. 

By choosing a G color diamond over a D color diamond, you’ll generally save anywhere from 10 to 25%, all for a feature you won’t ever notice with your naked eye. 

With this said, G color diamonds aren’t always the best option if you want to get the best mix of appearance and value for money. For certain cuts and settings, it’s often actually better to drop down to a lower color grade that’s still in the near-colorless range. 

We’ve explained this in more detail below, with examples for specific diamond cuts, metals and setting types.

When is a G Color Diamond The Best Choice? 

In some situations, buying a G color diamond can be a good idea. However, there are also lots of situations in which you’d be better off, at least from a value for money perspective, by buying a diamond with a lower cut grade.

Let’s start by covering the situations in which buying a diamond with a G color grade is a good idea. 

First, if you like engagement rings with halo diamonds, the G color grade is a safe bet (we recommend G/H for any hallo settings since they look virtually identical). Most of these settings use diamonds in the F to G range, meaning a G color center stone won’t look overly yellow or dark in comparison. 

For example, this falling edge halo setting from James Allen has small diamonds on each side as well as around the center stone. The diamonds are in the F to G color range, meaning that a G color diamond will fit perfectly with this setting. 

Second, if you’re searching for a diamond that’s as close to “perfect” in color as possible without the price tag of a D, E or F color diamond, stepping down to the G color grade could save you a modest amount of money. 

Now, let’s go over the situations in which buying a G color diamond isn’t the smartest choice, of which there are several. 

First, if you’re aiming for optimal value for money, G color diamonds generally aren’t a great buy. Yes, they’re cheaper than D, E and F color diamonds. However, they’re significantly more costly than H color diamonds, all without much of a difference in appearance.

If you study a Rapaport diamond price list, you’ll notice that there’s a big step up in pricing from the H color grade to the G color grade. There’s no real reason for this — it’s just an odd quirk of the diamond industry.

This means that you’ll pay quite a lot more for a G color diamond than you would for an H color diamond of the same cut quality, clarity and carat weight, even though there’s virtually no visible difference in appearance.

Second, if you’re buying a round brilliant cut diamond. As we mentioned in our guide to diamond color, the round brilliant cut is excellent at concealing yellow coloration. If you choose any grade higher than H, you’re paying for a feature you simply won’t be able to see. 

Third, if you want a yellow or rose gold setting. Because these metals have a strong gold color, any diamond that’s set in them will look slightly darker than its natural color. Because of this, it’s almost always better to choose a diamond with a lower color grade. 

G Color Diamonds and Side Stone, Halo and Pavé Settings

If you’re planning on buying a side stone or pavé setting, G color diamond will definitely look amazing. However, you can get an equally beautiful look by going with an I color.

On top of that, you’ll save quite a lot of money that you can later invest in your wedding, honeymoon or life in general.

Conclusion

Viewed with the naked eye, it’s virtually impossible to see any difference in color between a G color diamond and a diamond with a D, E or F color grade. Despite this, G color diamonds are anywhere from 10 to 25% cheaper than diamonds in the “colorless” range of the scale. 

While G color diamonds look gorgeous and can be a good choice if you’re interested in a halo setting that features small diamonds in the G to H color range, they aren’t always the best choice. 

For any shape, but primarily the round brilliant cut diamond, you’ll often get identical looks (at least to the naked eye) at a lower price by choosing an H color diamond.

Need help choosing the right diamond for your fiancé-to-be’s engagement ring? Contact us and our diamond experts will help you choose the highest quality diamond for your personal tastes and budget.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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