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G vs H Color Diamond (3 Differences)

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G vs H Color Diamonds

If you’re choosing a diamond for a piece of jewelry, its color is one of the many factors to consider.

The color of a diamond is graded along a scale created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) that goes from D to Z. A D diamond shows no color, while a Z grade means it has strong shades of yellow or brown.

G and H color diamonds fall toward the high end of the scale in the “near colorless” category.

The main difference between G and H diamonds is that G diamonds have shades of yellow that are less visible compared to H. If you place them beside each other, they’re often indistinguishable to the naked eye, but you’ll pay a premium for the higher color grade.

We’ll compare G and H color diamonds across the areas most important to your decision, including an overview of each, three ways they’re different, and how to know which is right for you.

What is a G Color Diamond?

A G color diamond is four positions from the top of the GIA color scale. 

GIA Color Scale

There are 23 total color grades, so G exceeds the vast majority in regard to its lack of yellow tints. 

It sits below the three grades that make up the “colorless” category, which are D, E, and F.

Although they’re designated “near colorless”, you’ll rarely notice yellow in a G diamond, even with high-resolution images.

As an example, check out this round-cut diamond from James Allen. 

G Color Diamond

It earned a G color grade. Even when you rotate the image, there’s no color to be found.

When you compare it to this D diamond, they appear identical.

That’s why many buyers opt against a colorless diamond and instead choose one that still resembles the same quality.

But the way gemologists grade the color of diamonds is by comparing them to others. They’ll take ones that earned each grade on the scale and compare the diamond at hand to all of them.

This allows the gemologist to assign a grade based on the one it mimics the most.

With that level of analysis, the color in a G diamond is more obvious than D, E, or F.

What is an H Color Diamond?

Diamonds that earn an H color grade are still considered “near colorless” but show more yellow than ones deemed G.

H Color Diamond

It’s positioned one grade below G and above I, so it’s the fifth position on the GIA color scale.

Even though it doesn’t reach the status of colorless, most H diamonds appear that way to the naked eye and in quality photos. 

For example, here’s an H diamond from Ritani.

Compared to this D diamond, you can’t tell the difference in color.

D Color Diamond

Only a trained gemologist comparing them against an ideal version of each grade can pinpoint the distinctions. Under ideal lighting, with a row of D-Z diamonds, they’ll identify its match.

Similar to G diamonds, buyers often select H diamonds to avoid the price increase of a higher color grade. 

It’s an effective way to save on the diamond’s cost and put that savings toward improvements in other areas.

What are the Differences Between G and H Diamonds?

If you’re comparing G versus H diamonds, you should understand how it affects their price, aesthetic, and overall performance. 

There are several differences between G and H diamonds beyond the degree of color present.

Let’s dive into these details to help you decide.

1. G Diamonds Show Less Color

The reason a diamond receives a G versus H grade is because it shows less color. 

Because the two grades are next to each other on the GIA scale, the difference is slight. To the naked eye, it’s often impossible to tell the difference.

Even trained jewelers don’t always agree.

That’s why you could send a diamond to one grading institution, like the GIA, and it could receive a different color grade than if you sent it to the American Gem Society.

This underscores the importance of choosing a reliable certification.

Consider the following two diamonds.

G and H Color Diamond

One is graded G, and the other earned an H color grade. Even in high-resolution, they look identical.

Yellow tints are more pronounced in certain cuts. For example, they’re more noticeable in Asscher and emerald cuts. 

Their large, step-cut facets don’t hide color as well as the smaller, brilliant-cut facets of round diamonds.

Check out this emerald cut with an H color grade. 

H Color Emerald Cut Diamond

A yellow shade is clearly visible.

Compare it to this round cut with the same grade. It appears colorless.

So if you’re considering a round cut, you can generally start your search with H color grades, but if it’s a step-cut diamond, you may need to consider ones designated G.

2. H Diamonds are Less Expensive

H diamonds are less expensive than G diamonds but cost more than I or J color diamonds. Buyers are willing to pay a premium as they move up the color scale because colorless diamonds are more visually appealing.

They’re also more rare, so vendors can afford to charge a higher price.

This idea is true across carat weight, cut, and clarity as well.

The best way to demonstrate the differences in price between G and H diamonds is to compare ones that have the same grades in other areas.

We compiled prices for more than 200 round-cut diamonds from James Allen, graded by the GIA, with the following grades:

  • Carat weight: 1.00
  • Cut: Very good
  • Clarity: VS1

Ones with G color averaged $7,622, with a range of $6,370-$8,880.

For H diamonds, the average price was $7,239. The range was $6,900-$7,860.

Prices of H Color Diamonds from James Allen

That’s a 5 percent increase in price for G versus H color diamonds.

The difference is often more significant for moving up one grade on the cut or clarity scale.

If the G and H diamonds you’re exploring appear identical to the naked eye, you could choose the latter and put the savings toward other aspects of the ring like its setting.

3. G Diamonds are Often More Popular

Many buyers choose G color diamonds because of the strong value they offer. You avoid the price premium of one in the colorless category, but to anyone viewing the gem, it looks the same.

This idea is true across many traits of a diamond. It’s often difficult to distinguish slight differences in carat weight or clarity grade. 

In subjective areas like cut, clarity, and color, even trained gemologists can arrive at unique conclusions.

Another reason G diamonds are more popular than ones graded H is because they won’t contrast with the color of pave diamonds or halos.

Halo Setting

When these small diamonds are placed on a setting, they typically appear colorless.

The ring would lose visual appeal if the center diamond had yellow tints, but it was surrounded by small, colorless gems.

Buyers also consider G over H diamonds for fancy cuts with large facets. But if you’re selecting a round-cut, H diamonds effectively hide color.

Lastly, G color diamonds pair well with rose or yellow gold settings. These colors have the potential to cause a diamond to appear darker. 

A higher color grade can counter this effect.

What are the Similarities?

The two similarities between G and H diamonds are their use in engagement rings and that they often appear colorless. 

G Color Diamond Engagement Ring

These two go hand in hand.

The center diamond is the most important part of an engagement ring. While the setting is meant to enhance its aesthetic, most buyers focus their attention on the right center gem.

So it makes sense to avoid any appearance of yellow or brown in the most prominent area.

In fact, we recommend sacrificing on carat weight in order to have an eye-clean center diamond, where no inclusions or color are visible, like this diamond ring.

Eye-Clean Engagement Ring

It’s less appealing if you have a large center diamond with black spots, cavities, or shades of yellow.

G and H diamonds often avoid this problem. You won’t have to pay a higher cost for a D, E, or F color, but to anyone viewing your ring, they’ll think it’s colorless.

How to Decide Between G and H Diamonds

G and H color diamonds are popular choices for engagement rings because of the value they offer compared to ones in the colorless category.

Comparing G versus H diamonds involves understanding how the slight difference affects its overall performance.

Here are some tips to help you decide.

You should consider a G diamond if:

  • You’re searching for a step-cut diamond and want it to appear colorless
  • You’re willing to pay a premium compared to an H diamond that may look identical
  • The setting has a strong yellow or rose gold color

An H diamond might be right for you if:

  • You want to avoid the price increase for diamonds with higher color grades
  • You’re choosing a round-cut diamond with an excellent cut
  • The setting is a solitaire in white gold

By pairing G and H diamonds with different types of settings, you’ll create the right piece of jewelry for you.

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler is the founder of TeachJewelry.com.

He earned an Applied Jewelry Professional Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America and now brings you essential information about diamonds, settings, and more.

Devon has consulted with leading jewelry brands, and his work has been cited in Diamond Nexus and other industry publications.

He's also a member of the International Gem Society.

Devon enjoys discussing jewelry with readers, so contact him with any questions at tyler.devon@teachjewelry.com.

Learn More About Devon

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