May 31st 2023
H Color Diamonds: Are They Worth It?
By Devin Jones
H color diamonds are in the sweet spot for value, helping smart diamond buyers to maximize the diamonds aesthetics without overpaying for qualities they can't see with the untrained eye. That's why H color is tied for the second most popular diamond color grade on StoneAlgo's massive diamond search engine.
If you're shopping for a round diamond or are considering a fancy shaped diamond (emerald, asscher, etc.) under 3 carats, an H color diamond is a great choice.
What Is An H Color Diamond?
H color diamonds are the second whitest grade of “near colorless” diamonds, the name for the color grades that include G, H, I, and J. Near colorless diamonds are the most popular choice for jewelry purchases since they're less expensive than colorless diamonds (D, E, and F color) and they tend to appear white to the naked eye (especially once they're placed in a metal setting, as we'll discuss later).
H color diamonds (like most diamonds) may have a very faint yellow hue when viewed from the side, but should face up white to an observer. But that's enough talk - it's easier to show you how subtle the differences are between different diamond color grades than it is to explain them.
The above diamonds range from D color to K color. Click on a diamond for more details and videos.
For most people it simply won't matter, you won't be able to notice a difference in the way an H color and a G color diamond looks at all, even if you see them side by side. They're the top two grades of Near Colorless diamonds and the differences between them are incredibly subtle.
H Color Diamond Prices
H color diamonds are a far more affordable option than colorless diamonds. According to our diamond price calculator, H color diamonds cost 33% less than D color diamonds, 22% less than E color, and 21% less than F color diamonds on average. Yet G, H, I, and J color diamonds are all considered part of the "near colorless" class of diamonds. So why the huge price difference?
Below is a chart showing the price differences between H color diamonds and diamonds of other color grades based on data from our diamond price calculator.
The two main reasons for the significant price differences between color grades are:
- Whiter diamond grades are more rare (D, E, F)
- Certain color grades are more popular with consumers (F, G, H)
This is the main reason that F and E color are nearly identically priced at the moment (this tends to change over time and vary by diamond shape). E color diamonds are more rare, but F color diamonds are far more popular.
This also explains the massive drop off in prices after H color. The diamond color grades become far less popular as diamond shoppers begin to get nervous that their diamond may appear yellow (it probably won't, until you reach K color or lower).
H Color vs. I Color Diamonds
The difference between an H and an I color diamond is where some people do begin to pick up on a slight difference in color grade, even if they're not a GIA certified gemologist. For this reason, we typically advise you steer towards an H color over an I color unless you have seen the diamond in person, are buying a diamond under 2 carats for a round or under 1 carat for a fancy shape, or if you are on a very tight budget that requires you to step down to an I color. I colors can look great beyond these recommendations, but it's best to look at diamonds in person as you get closer to K color so you can get a better understanding of what you're buying.
That said, an H color diamond is going to cost you significantly more than an I color as you can see in our popular diamond price calculator tool. If you are going to opt for an I color to save money, you should also consider diamonds with faint or medium diamond fluorescence as these can appear slightly whiter than diamonds with none fluorescence. Basically, some of the blue fluorescence will help to cancel out some of the yellow in the diamond. It's not going to make your I color diamond look like a D color stone, but it can help.
Which Clarity Grade Is Best For H Color Diamonds?
At StoneAlgo we pride ourselves on using data to help shoppers make better diamond buying decisions. When we look into which clarity grades are most popular across the various clarity grades, a very obvious trend appears. Those people who are shopping for D color diamonds tend to also shop for more expensive and higher clarity grades as well (like VVS2 clarity).
People shopping for K color diamonds who are more budget conscious tend to choose SI1 or SI2 clarity. So what about H color? As you'd expect, H color diamond buyers are some of the savviest. They know how to maximize the diamond's appearance without overpaying for quality they can't see. It's no surprise that the most popular clarity grades for H color diamonds is a near perfect tie between VS1 and VS2 clarity.
VS1 clarity diamonds tend to be almost exclusively eye clean. VS2 diamonds also tend to be overwhelmingly eye clean, though sometimes you'll easily notice imperfections in the images you see of VS2 diamonds online. That's because images online are incredibly magnified and can make even the smallest imperfection look terrifyingly obvious. Don't be scared off by this, get comfortable understanding inclusion types and you can find a lot of value in VS2 diamonds. If you're still nervous, a VS1 is a safe choice and anything beyond this clarity grade is overkill.
The most popular clarity grades for H color diamonds:
- VS2 Clarity H Color Diamonds (26%)
- VS1 Clarity H Color Diamonds (26%)
- SI1 Clarity H Color Diamonds (15%)
- VVS2 Clarity H Color Diamonds (12%)
- SI2 Clarity H Color Diamonds (9%)
- VVS1 Clarity H Color Diamonds (8%)
- IF Clarity H Color Diamonds (4%)
- FL Clarity H Color Diamonds (<1%)
Is Fluorescence Good In An H Color Diamond?
We've already mentioned that faint or medium fluorescence can help a diamond look slightly whiter depending on its color grade. This holds true for H color diamonds as well. If you're shopping for an H color diamond you should consider stones with faint or medium fluorescence if you want to save a little bit of money and can make your diamond appear slightly whiter. It's really a win-win.
Fluorescence tends to affect diamond prices differently depending on how much it actually helps the appearance of the diamond. Basically, for D - F color diamonds, fluorescence is kind of pointless as it can't help to make the diamonds look much whiter. For G/H color it helps a little bit, and for J color and K color it is actually sought out by many buyers.
Faint or medium fluorescence can save you an average of 4.8% to 5.9% based a study from our diamond fluorescence guide
The only reason not to buy and H color diamond with faint or medium fluorescence in my opinion is that there are way more diamonds graded as "none fluorescence" than there are with faint and medium fluorescence combined. So, if you excluded none fluorescence from your search you'll be eliminating the vast majority of diamonds and might miss out on an amazing diamond at a great price. You don't need fluorescence, but it doesn't hurt and it can save you money if you find a great diamond that has it.
If you're searching for a great deal on your diamond, check out our diamond search engine. When you click on a diamond you'll see it's Fair Price Estimate which is like a Zillow Zestimate for your diamond, and it takes into account fluorescence as well.
Is An H Color Diamond Worth It?
As you can already tell, we're huge fans of the H color grade due to it's price and appearance. Mix in a little fluorescence and it's hard to beat the value you get from an H color diamond.
If you're on the fence between and H color diamond and an I color diamond we'd recommend spending some time at your local jeweler asking questions and looking at diamonds under different lighting conditions. If you plan to buy online, and H color diamond is a safe bet as it should look totally white in almost any size, shape, or setting color. If you're buying a very large diamond or a asscher or emerald diamond that has large, flat facets, you may be better off steering towards a G color diamond to make sure it looks totally white.
Finally, if you're going to choose a yellow or rose gold engagement ring setting you should know that even a lower color grade diamond will appear whiter in these settings and you can more confidently step down to an H from a G or an I from an H if you want to save money.
H color is a great choice for most diamond engagement rings, earrings, or necklaces and will offer show stopping beauty at a fair price.
© 2024 StoneAlgo, Inc. All rights reserved.