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K Color Grade Diamonds

K color diamonds are surprise beauty for certain shapes and settings

By Mike Fried,

K color diamonds are the start of ‘faint yellow’ on the diamond color scale. They have a faint yellow tint, but with the right setting, they can still exude elegance. Especially in yellow or rose gold settings, the tint often becomes less noticeable. While they’re more affordable, with a 1-carat K color diamond starting around $3,540, we tend to be more cautious in recommending them due to their visible tint. However, for those on a budget, a K color diamond can be a viable choice, offering both beauty and savings

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:
What are K color diamonds?
K color diamonds compared to other color grades
How much do K color diamond cost?
What settings are the best for K color diamonds?
What shapes go well with yellow gold settings?
Our top picks of K color diamond yellow gold rings
How to choose a K color diamond
FAQs

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

D Color Diamonds (Absolutely Colorless)

D is the highest color grade, meaning it has nearly no color. Under magnification and to the naked eye, a D color diamond will appear colorless.

D color diamonds are usually set in platinum or white gold, as yellow gold and other jewelry settings detract from the diamond’s uncolored beauty. Diamonds with a D color grade are the most rare and expensive on the market, with a significant price premium over other color grades.

See D Graded Diamonds

But before buying a K color diamond, there are a few things to keep in mind. Below we’ll explain the best diamond shapes, cut quality and settings for K color diamonds. We’ll also explain when it’s best to choose a higher color grade, such as a J or I color diamond

Overall, the goal is to find a beautiful diamond that fits your style without paying more than you need to. K color diamonds, when done right, can be a great way to get a gorgeous diamond at a fantastic price point.

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What are K color diamonds?

K color diamonds are categorized as a “faint tint” on the GIA diamond color scale, meaning that they have a hint of color, usually yellow, that’s noticeable to the naked eye. The tinting isn’t too dark, though, as there are several color grades that are lower than K. 

According to GIA, the worlds leading diamond certification laboratory, grades are determined as follows: “A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value. GIA’s D-to-Z diamond color-grading system measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to masterstones of established color value.”

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K color diamond grade on a color scale

The tint of a K color diamond is ever so slight. When in certain shapes and paired with the right setting color, these diamonds can look just as colorless as a higher graded diamond. A lot of consumers ignore K color diamonds because they feel the tint will be too strong, but that isn’t always the case. You can find beautiful K color diamonds if you know what to look for and what type of engagement ring to put them in. 

Choosing a K color diamond can save you considerable money, and still give you a beautiful diamond. 

That said, there are a few downsides to K color diamonds that you should be aware of when considering this color grade. These considerations are covered below on our page along with information on when it’s best to buy K color diamonds.

Pro Tip: A K color diamond is not always a bad choice. It can make a beautiful choice with the right shape, cut quality and setting style. For example, this 1.00 carat K color diamond from Blue Nile would look stunning in a yellow gold or rose gold setting like this solitaire engagement ring. While K color diamonds do have a slight tint to them, in certain settings and shapes, the color is so slight it’s not noticeable to the naked eye. 

K color diamonds vs. other color grades

As explained above, K color diamonds are adjacent to the nearly colorless range by the GIA and are considered as having a faint tint. 

The most common concern about K color diamonds is whether they’ll look colorless in an engagement ring. Below, we’ve compared the color of a K color diamond from James Allen (left) to a D color diamond from James Allen (right, the highest color grade):

Both diamonds are from James Allen. Besides their color grades, they’re identical in terms of quality — 1 carat, VS1 clarity, excellent round brilliant cut diamonds. 

As the image shows, the K color diamond appears slightly more yellow than the D color diamond. The difference is subtle, but still noticeable when placed side by side under a bright light and magnification.  

While the difference in appearance is subtle, the difference in price is significant between K color and D color diamonds. A D color diamond costs $8,190 while an otherwise identical K color diamond costs $3,540 — saving you $4,650, or 57%. 

The color difference between these diamonds is subtle, partly due to the cut. Round brilliant diamonds are cut for maximum brilliance. They reflect so much light that they are great at concealing differences in color when viewed from the top. 

As an example, look at the same two diamonds, but this time viewed from the side instead of from above:

At this angle, the color difference is more noticeable. The diamond on the left has a distinct yellow hue to it. 

The difference between a K color diamond and a better color grade is also more obvious with other diamond shapes. For instance, those with a different facet pattern than the round brilliant show color more easily.  

As an example, compare this K color Asscher diamond from James Allen (left) to this D color asscher diamond (right) with a similar cut quality, clarity grade and carat weight:

With this comparison of Asscher cut diamonds, the color difference is a little more obvious. Shapes such as asscher, cushion, radiant or emerald cut diamonds, show the tinting of the K color grade more readily than a round brilliant diamond.

K color diamond prices

A color grade plays a large role in how a diamond is priced. Diamonds in the colorless range (D, E and F color) are considerably more expensive than diamonds in the nearly colorless range (G color to J color). 

The price difference between a K color diamond and a D color diamond of the same carat weight, cut quality and clarity is sizable. For instance, the round K and D color diamonds in our comparison above carry a price tag difference of $4,650. 

K color diamonds are also significantly less expensive than diamonds in the colorless range and those in the nearly colorless range. 

For instance, a 1 carat K diamond from James Allen is priced at $3,540. A 1 carat H color diamond also from James Allen with identical cut quality and clarity is $6,130. The price difference is $2,590 — a massive 42% less.  

Even though they’re only one grade apart, there’s even a big difference in price between K and J color diamonds. As an example, A 1.57 carat K color diamond from Blue Nile with VS2 clarity and an excellent cut is $6,817, while a 1 carat J color diamond with the same clarity and cut grades is $7,304. That’s a savings of $487 or almost 7%.

Are K Diamonds too Yellow for an Engagement Ring?

As mentioned above and shown in the examples, the visible difference between K color diamonds and better color grades is more noticeable in certain shapes than others. 

The color difference is also more distinct with certain settings and metals. For instance, rose gold and yellow gold pass some of their tone onto the diamond, making the diamond appear slightly more yellow than it is, even if it’s a D or E color diamond

Because of the impact these slightly darker metals have on a diamond, choosing a K color diamond for a rose or yellow gold engagement ring like this one from Blue Nile can be a savvy buy. The difference in diamond color is almost impossible to notice due to the strong hue of the metal, giving you more money to spend on carat weight or cut quality (the most important aspect of a diamond’s beauty). 

Remember, though, that white gold and platinum settings can make the faint tint of a K color diamond more noticeable, so we recommend avoiding these two metal colors for K diamonds of any shape.

For Round Diamonds in Yellow Gold or Rose Gold Settings

Because round brilliant cut diamonds hide color better than other shapes, the K color can be an excellent choice when set in yellow gold or rose gold rings. Even though K color diamonds carry a slight color, the round brilliant facet pattern disguises some of the color. 

Still, we recommend a yellow gold or rose gold setting, because with a lighter metal color like white gold or platinum, the tint of a K color round brilliant can still be seen with the naked eye. 

Opting for a K color diamond allows you to save some of your budget, either for a better cut quality or higher carat weight. Because cut quality impacts a diamond’s beauty more than any other feature, a well-chosen K color diamond can allow you to have a gorgeous diamond ring at a phenomenal price point.

K color diamond ring
1.16ct K Color Diamond in a Yellow Gold Solitaire Setting

Certain Diamond Shapes in Yellow Gold or Rose Gold Settings

A K color diamond can be an excellent value for round brilliant diamonds set in yellow or rose gold. Because higher graded diamonds will look slightly yellowish in yellow gold anyway, it can be beneficial to save your budget and choose a K color diamond.

You can also choose a K color diamond for other shapes set in yellow or rose metals, but not all shapes are a good choice. Some diamond shapes show color more easily than round brilliants. Even in a rose gold or yellow gold setting, a K color diamond in certain shapes might show too much tint.

If you want a shape other than a round brilliant, consider emerald, asscher and princess cuts. Besides round brilliants, these diamond shapes conceal color the best. With a K color grade, they can still look white when placed in a yellow gold setting.

For all other diamond shapes, including cushion cuts and radiant cuts, color is more noticeable. A K color diamond in these shapes will likely have a noticeable tint no matter the setting color. That’s why we recommend choosing a better color grade, such as J or I, for yellow and rose gold settings. Cushion cut and radiant cut diamonds with a J or better color grade can still look white when placed in a yellow gold or rose gold setting.

You can also check out our diamond shape guide for color recommendations for each shape while still getting a good value. 

Not certain which color grade and shape combination is best for your budget? Contact us for personalized help.

K color diamonds and halo, pavé and side-stone settings

The setting style you choose also impacts how a K color diamond appears. With a solitaire setting, the center diamond is the only diamond. But in other settings, such as a halo or three-stone setting, the other diamonds play a role in how the center diamond looks. 

For instance, if you have a ring with side stones, it’s important to check the color grade of the smaller diamonds. If they have a higher color grade such as H or I, they could make a K color diamond appear darker when side by side. For instance, placing a K color diamond in a side-stone engagement ring next to the smaller G-H color stones would make the K diamond look yellow in comparison. 

With three-stone, pavé, halo and side-stone settings, especially those with large enough side stones to be certified, we recommend the side diamonds always match the color of the center stone or be slightly darker. This can be a particular challenge for K color center diamonds, as many settings use G, H, I or even higher color grade side stones. 

For K color diamonds, it’s best to consider settings without additional stones, such as solitaire, bezel, tension or cathedral settings. If you like a setting with side stones, such as a halo or pavé band, you may want to up the color grade of your center diamond and choose an H or I color center stone.

Best K Colored Diamond Rings in Yellow Gold

0.50 Carat Yellow Gold Ring

This gorgeous 0.77ct K VS2 round diamond from Blue Nile in this 14K yellow gold East-West solitaire engagement ring setting

1 Carat Yellow Gold Rings

This 1.00ct K VS1 princess cut diamond from James Allen in this beautiful 14K yellow gold cross prong solitaire setting

1.50  Carat Yellow Gold Rings

This 1.50ct K VS1 round cut diamond from James Allen in this floral 14K yellow gold Modern Tulip solitaire engagement ring setting

2 Carat Yellow Gold Rings

This 2.06ct K VVS1 emerald cut diamond from James Allen in this special Twisted Shank Contemporary solitaire setting

How do I choose a K color diamond?

Choose a high-quality K color diamond by paying attention to shape, cut grade and clarity. 

  1. Select a shape that’s appealing to you. Round brilliants, emerald, asscher and princess cuts are all great choices for K color diamonds that will be set in yellow or rose gold. 
  2. Ensure that the diamond’s cut is excellent or ideal. A diamond’s cut impacts its beauty and brilliance more than any other feature. 
  3. Look for a diamond that is eye-clean. In general, we recommend looking at diamonds graded between SI1 clarity and VS1 clarity. They will be clean to the naked eye but cost much less than higher-graded diamonds.

By following these tips, you’ll find a stunning K color diamond for your engagement ring.

FAQs

Is K color good in a diamond?

K color diamonds have a faint yellow tint, usually noticeable to the naked eye. This generally makes them less desirable – however, in certain shapes and settings (yellow gold) and with a high-quality cut, K color may be good enough to find a beautiful diamond.

What color diamond is cheaper?

The lower you go on the diamond color scale, the cheaper it becomes. Colorless diamonds are rarer, more sought-after, and thus more expensive. K color is nearing the cheapest you can go to get a diamond that’s passable in terms of color, assuming certain factors (such as the right shape and setting).

Is K grade diamond good?

K color diamonds are on the lower end of what you’ll find for sale at most diamond vendors. That’s not to say they can’t be good though. You can still find beautiful K color diamonds, and setting the diamond in the right conditions, such as a yellow gold setting, may adequately hide its faint yellow tint.

Conclusion

K color diamonds can be a stunning and affordable choice, provided they’re set in a yellow or rose gold setting. Round brilliant K color diamonds are the best choice for shape because they conceal color the best, but a princess cut or emerald/asscher can also work. 

Solitaire settings or other settings without side stones, such as a solitaire cathedral or bezel setting, are best for K color diamonds. The center diamond stands alone and isn’t placed next to smaller stones with better color grades. In these ring styles, a K color diamond can save you hundreds or thousands in your budget, depending on the carat weight, cut quality and diamond clarity.

By choosing a K color diamond for your rose gold or yellow gold ring, you can spend more of your budget on cut quality or carat weight. Or simply save more for your wedding, honeymoon or future together. 

For help finding a stunning K color diamond or deciding which color grade is best for your ring style, contact us. Our diamond experts can help you find the best quality diamond for your budget and style.

Here are more specific color topics to browse:

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well-known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high-quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. 
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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