People are often dismissive of K color diamonds and the rest of the color grades below them. These stones do have a great deal of value and benefits, however, and can make for some gorgeous engagement rings.
The color in K color diamonds call for some planning with the ring design but the end result can be pleasant on the eye and light on the budget.
The Color Grading System
Diamond color is graded on an alphabetical scale that goes from D to Z. It’s established by the G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America) and it’s used worldwide. It has 23 different color grades with the first few being completely colorless and subsequent grades becoming increasingly tinted.
Here are the basic color grades for colorless diamonds:
- D, E and F – These diamonds are colorless and show no tints. These are also among the most expensive diamonds, all else being equal.
- G, H, I and J – These grades are known as near colorless diamonds. Of these, G is noticeably less yellow than a J.
- K to Z– These grades are faint yellow diamonds, increasing in intensity with each subsequent grade. Most retailers don’t sell diamonds below the M grade.
K color diamonds fall near the middle of this scale and they do have faint yellow or brownish color hues that can be seen by the naked eye.
What Does A K Color Diamond Look Like?
See this diamond in 360 degrees here and notice how the color changes depending on the angle the diamond is viewed at.
If you want a completely colorless diamond, the K color grade isn’t for you. Diamonds from this grade are noticeably warmer, especially when viewed from the side. However, with the right metal color and ring setting their color can be used to their advantage.
K Color Diamonds Have Undertones
As you go down the diamond color grading scale and reach the warm diamond categories, you’ll notice something new in the GIA grading report – undertones. This applies to K color diamonds and to all other diamond color grades that follow.
The undertones specification in the report refers to what color the “faint colors” are. With K color diamonds the most common undertones are yellow or brown but if you go into the Very light color and Light color grades you can see other undertones as well.
Choosing between yellow and brown undertones can seem like a trivial choice at first but it actually matters for several different reasons:
- The difference is noticeable. Because K color diamonds are sufficiently low on the color grading scale and their color hues are noticeable to the naked eye, brown toned diamonds like this one and diamonds with yellow undertones, like this, look distinctively different.
- The undertones of your faintly colored diamond can guide the type of metal you should choose for your ring or the other way around. K color stones with brown undertones look better with rose gold rings while ones with yellow undertones work best with yellow gold.
- Brown undertones in faintly colored diamonds are actually less expansive than yellow ones because the industry has deemed them to be less valuable. This is mostly because they don’t work as well with yellow and white metals, however, if you were going for a rose gold ring anyway, you can lighten your budget a bit by choosing a K color diamond with brown undertones.
G Color Grade vs. Other Color Grades
K color diamonds sit at the top of the third color grade group so they are pretty close to J color diamonds which are considered Near Colorless. This means that while an expert should still be able to tell the difference between a K color diamond and a G color diamond (in addition to the $1,000-$2,000 price difference), it’s much harder to differentiate said K color diamond from a similar J color stone.
Similarly, there are certain slight differences between the K color category and L or M color diamonds – L and M diamonds have a stronger color and usually a 3-digit difference in the price tag.
Best Ring Settings for K Color Diamonds
Faintly colored diamonds such as K color ones are usually paired with non-white metals such as yellow or rose gold. That’s because white gold or other white metals can make the slight color of K diamonds appear more prominent.
Notice the K diamonds in the two rings below. The diamond in the white setting appears warmer, with its hues more visible.
K Diamond in Rose Gold Setting. Check Price here.
K Diamond in White Gold Setting. Check Price Here.
As for settings, the common practice is to pick settings that cover the sides of the stone such as halo or bezel settings. This is because the color of diamonds are most easily noticeable when you look at the stone from the side. The drawback here is that covering more of the diamond’s surface reduces its exposure to light and thus lowers its brilliance.
If you want to use a halo setting or other side stone, pave, or channel settings, keep in mind that the white melee or smaller diamonds used in such settings can also cause an unfortunate contrast with the center diamond’s color. The halo of the ring should be set with diamonds of the same color as the center stone, as this blends in with the warm tints of the K diamond.
When carefully and expertly set, a K diamond will look as good as any other diamond. To reiterate, it’s best to opt for warm toned metals that bring out the sparkle of the diamodn while minimizing its hues.
What are the Pros and Cons of K color diamonds?
These are most of the major things you’ll need to know about K color diamonds. To help you decide whether you should buy a K diamond, here’s a quick rundown of K color diamonds’ Pros and Cons:
- K color diamonds are much more affordable than Colorless and Near Colorless diamonds. This makes them a great way to save some money from the diamond’s total price which you could then use on higher carat size, a better cut or cleaner clarity.
- While they do have distinct color, K color diamonds are still not too “colorful” and their color tinges can be easily masked or hidden with the right metal color and/or setting.
- K color doesn’t affect the brilliance of the diamond nearly as much as some would lead you to believe – a K color diamond will still offer a great deal of brilliance and sparkle depending on the quality of the cut.
- The main con of K color diamonds is self-explanatory – they have visible color hues. If that’s not a big problem for you – great! If it is – your wallet will be grateful.
Should you get a K color diamond for your engagement ring?
The quick answer here is that if you have a limited budget, K color diamonds are one of the best ways to save money on your ring’s stone without compromising with its beauty. K color diamonds can offer excellent brilliance and can look great on the right ring, and they are definitely not anything to feel bad about – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
On the other hand, if you do want a crystal clear diamond for your engagement ring that’s not only perfectly cut and devoid of any inclusions, but also has no color whatsoever – the K color range is not for you. Any of the Colorless or Near Colorless grades will offer a noticeable difference In color at a price difference of about 4 digits or more.