Learning how to evaluate diamond color is one thing, but do you know that the setting you choose can make the color of your stone look better or worse? Read on to find out how to pick the most suitable setting for your diamond according to its color.
Diamond Color Grades
Diamond color is graded by the G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America) using letter symbols from D to Z.
The diamonds that have an almost perfect white color are put in the Colorless range and assigned a letter grade of D (the highest), E or F.
The stones that are close to perfectly white are put in the Near Colorless range, which consists of the grades G, H, I and J.
Diamonds graded K and lower have a yellow tint that is more or less visible.
Best Settings for Diamonds with Yellow Tints
If you have a diamond that has a color grade lower than Near Colorless, i.e. a grade K or lower, then it is not a good idea to have the stone set in a white or metallic setting.
For instance, putting such a diamond in platinum or white gold will only make the stone’s coloration more noticeable. As a result of the increased contrast, your diamond will look even yellower.
Instead of going for a white setting, pick a colored metal or alloy.
The best choice for not-so-white diamonds is yellow gold. You can’t go wrong with such a setting as its color will mask the yellowish tints in the stone and make it look whiter against the gold mounting.
Other colored gold alloys such as rose gold can also do the trick.
When choosing a colored ring setting for yellowish diamonds, make sure the prongs and the metal surrounding the stone are of the same color as the rest of the setting.
Even if the mounting is made of yellow gold, if the prongs or the bezels holding the stone are white, they will still reinforce the yellow tints in the diamond.
Settings for Colorless Diamonds
If your diamond is perfectly white, then you have more latitude in choosing the color of your setting.
Yellow gold works fine for white diamonds as they will still stand out when set in it.
However, such a setting will add some yellow tints to your stone, and although there will be contrast, a white setting would be even more suitable.
After all, if you’ve paid so much money for a white diamond, you want to make sure that its color won’t be tinted in any way.
That’s why it is recommended to set a colorless stone in white gold or platinum if you don’t want to add more color to the diamond.
There is another reason to choose platinum or white gold for your diamond ring setting and it has to do with durability.
These two materials will last longer than yellow gold, and as a result, you will need to get your ring fixed less frequently.
Platinum, in particular, is a great choice when it comes to rings as the durability of this metal ensures that your prongs will wear down very slowly; yellow gold prongs, on the other hand, are softer, and you will need to have them repaired a lot more often.
Settings for Near Colorless Diamonds
We saw what settings are the most appropriate for colorless and tinted diamonds, but what about those stones on the fence, i.e. the ones in the Near Colorless range?
What the most suitable setting is will depend on where in the range your stone falls.
If your diamond is at the upper end of this color range, with a grade G or H, then the stone will barely have any tint, and you can have your stone set in white.
If your stone is graded I or J, then it will have a stronger yellow tint (which will still be very faint, though). For round diamonds, it is usually safe to put such stones in a white setting.
Other cuts show more color, so for such diamonds, consider a yellow gold setting if their color is in the I-J range.
The exception to this rule are the princess cut and the emerald cut (as well as the Asscher cut), which can be put in white gold or platinum even if their color is graded I.
For settings with side stones, as well as pave settings, don’t go below H color, unless the stone is round, princess cut or emerald/Asscher, in which case you can go as low as I color.
Halo settings are even more restrictive – don’t go below H color no matter the cut.
You should also keep in mind that how visible yellow tints in diamonds are also depends on their cut quality.
A well-cut stone may reflect light in a way that would make any tints practically invisible, whereas a poor cut would make the yellow color more prominent.
This is yet another reason to go for the best cut possible, which is the Ideal/Excellent grade for round diamonds.
Where to Buy a Diamond Ring?
For diamond rings, we highly recommend James Allen (read our review) because it shows real photos and videos for each diamond so you can take a 360-degree look at any stone before having it set in a ring.
For colored diamonds, we recommend Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy color diamonds (use code JewelryNotes200 at checkout to get a 5% discount).
Also read our Diamond Buying Guide and check out our selection of eye-clean diamonds that we've vetted for quality.