H color grade comes second in the near colorless group, right after the G color, which has almost no visual difference (to the eye) compared to an F color diamond (colorless).
When we study diamonds colors, it’s essential to differentiate what we can see, versus what a GIA expert with tens of years of experience and using advanced tools can see!
So when we read “faint yellow hue” for H color on Blue Nile’s education page for example, it’s important to know that this is not the default case for everyone, under regular conditions.
This diamond is 20% cheaper compared to an F color diamond for example, do you think the visual difference worth the money? Let’s see.
What is the H Color Grade?
H is the one of the best colors you can get for your budget, when inspected by eye, it doesn’t show any yellow color under regular conditions, and people would never tell the difference between it and its adjacent color G.
People who understand diamond colors pretty well know this, and use it to make an education decision to purchase a diamond that will not look yellow at all, for a great price compared to any other diamond color.
That being said, a LOT of people will be scared when they hear H color, thinking it will look as yellow as a banana, but that could not further from the truth.
Want a proof? Check what James Allen even had to say when they explained the H color, they didn’t find any difference for it compared to G color diamonds:
Same for Blue Nile:
They even had to use “much higher color grades”, so you need at least 2 grades to tell a difference.
And as you noticed, both retailers agreed that diamonds with this color have “excellent/exceptional value” for your money.
One great thing about H color as well (beside being budget-friendly, and colorless to naked untrained eye) is its popularity, along with the G color, they hold the largest inventory (for each) on largest online stores like James Allen or Blue Nile.
Where it Stands in Color Grade Chart?
GIA, who defined and standardized diamond characteristics defined H color as the 2nd grade in the near colorless group, as you see here:
While the chart shows a little color in near colorless diamonds, it’s important to note that this is not a 100% visual reflection for these grades; the H color does not show any yellow color when checked under normal lighting conditions.
Here are 2 images taken from GIA color grading guide, one for G and the other for H, try to tell a difference:
Feel free to read our diamond color guide if you would like to learn much more about this, but for now, what’s important is understanding what H color means in the chart, and how “colorful” is the near colorless group.
As you noticed already, the chart goes from D to Z, where D, E, & F are considered colorless, meaning that no one can tell any color in diamonds within this range, except an experienced gemologist.
Okay, next color is G, and we know for a fact that you can’t tell a difference in color when comparing 2 adjacent colors with you own eyes, meaning that G is very, very, very close to F color grade in terms of color, and both look the same to naked eye.
Where comes the H then?
H color grade is the sweet spot where it’s not visually any different to naked eye from G color, and at the same time, not close to lower grades like I or J (although in the same group), most diamond experts agree that H color is considered the best color grade you can get to guarantee a colorless stone.
This becomes much clearer when you set it on a platinum or white gold ring, the color of the ring will make it even impossible to tell if the stone has any color.
H & Neighboring Colors: G vs H vs I Grade Difference
Not our opinion only, but James Allen, the leading merchant on diamonds that sells hundreds of thousands of diamonds yearly, says that the visual difference between each color grade and the next one is very hard to detect.
Generally, when comparing color between two diamonds, the diamonds need to be at least two color grades apart to even begin to see a difference
For the H color, coming in the middle of the near colorless group, makes it very close to G & I in terms of color, but what’s the real difference here? And what you should pay attention to when picking a diamond color?
If you look at 2 diamonds side by side, whether an G vs H or H vs I, you will not be able to tell any visible difference between both diamonds, even when they are loose diamonds and not set on a ring (because that makes it even harder).
Same goes when you pick diamonds that are 2 grades apart, say G & E color grade diamond, it’s likely that you’ll think the two stones are 1 grade apart, because the difference in their appearance is so minimal.
A gemologist or experienced jeweler will be able to tell the difference only under ideal conditions.
To summarize, getting an H grade isn’t any different from getting a G color, both grades are very beautiful and will guarantee a flawless color diamond to the eye.
It’s difficult to compare diamond colors when they’re set in rings, because the visual difference between them isn’t as obvious as it is when you see them under 20x magnification and top imaging technology offered at James Allen.
You also need to keep in mind that many factors affect color appearance, so H color for a round shape diamond might look a little different from the same grade on a Cushion one.
Let’s fix the other Cs (cut, clarity, carat) to better compare the gems, here are 3 images for the H grade and its adjacent colors as well, taken from Blue Nile:
Do you think there is a significant difference between them? Feel free to check more examples on James Allen if you want even higher quality images.
The price difference between each diamond grade is around $600, so let’s break this down and see how you can save your money.
How Much Does H Color Diamonds Cost?
And we know for a fact that diamond pricing is influenced by a lot of factors, the “big players” in determining the price are the 4Cs, along with less common (yet, important) factors like polish, symmetry, table & depth, etc.
To get an estimation for H color price range, we will set our search to:
Polish & Symmetry: Excellent
Let’s then run a search on James Allen and see.
We see a total of 180 diamonds, and by excluding outliers, we can see that the price range for H color diamonds is something between $4800 to $6900.
Doing the same exercise on Blue Nile gives similar results, with prices ranging between $4700 and $6500 for the same characteristics.
This is indeed cheaper that price ranges we saw for G color diamond, and much cheaper than the colorless group grades like F, we’re talking about more than 20% cheaper prices here!
When shopping for an engagement ring or just any diamond, it’s important to know what factors influence the beauty of a diamond, and how each characteristic affects price.
It’s even more important to understand to what extent you have to go high in grades (whether cut, clarity, or color) to guarantee a sparkling & beautiful stone.
In a nutshell, always try to get an excellent cut grade before anything else, because diamond cut is on top of 4Cs in order of importance, then (and only then) start exploring other factors.
To be clear, the color of a diamond is a matter of personal taste, some people prefer to see some color on their gemstones, while others prefer a clean and colorless grade.
If you want a colorless diamond, you can guarantee that by picking an H color diamond, it will give you the best bang for your buck.
For clarity, start with SI1 if you’re getting 1 carat or lower diamond, it will be eye clean in most cases.
Still not sure where to buy your diamond?
We always recommend shopping diamonds online and created a Full guide to shop diamonds like a Pro.
Among online retailers, here are our favorite stores
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