Should I Buy a K Color Diamond for My Engagement Ring?

K color diamonds fall in that special category of diamonds that are the perfect balance between quality and value. They have noticeable color but those can be hidden by a good jeweler when the stone is mounted in its setting.

Like most slightly colored diamonds, K color stones do have a bad reputation in the eyes of some people. They are viewed as “inferior” and “unworthy” by those that judge a diamond exclusively by its rarity and purity. However, if you’re simply looking for a nice looking diamond that will look great on an engagement ring and will last a lifetime (or more) as a symbol of your love – K color diamonds can very well be the ones to look at.

JamesAllen Engagement Rings

Who Should Buy a K Diamond?

Bride wearing k color engagement ring

Before we go into the meat and potatoes of this article, here’s a quick look at if a K diamond is right for you. Buy a K diamond if:

  • You have a strict budget and you want to save on your diamond – K diamonds are much cheaper
  • You want a bigger stone by playing around with the 4Cs – Save on your color and put it into carat or cut
  • You like warm tinted diamonds – K diamonds exhibit slight yellowishness
  • You want to be able to mask the yellow tints – K diamonds hide their color well when set in a matching setting
  • You have a bit of time to sort through and pick the perfect diamond depending on your criteria – take each K diamond on a case by case basis

What Is The Diamond Color Scale And What Are K Diamonds?

Before we delve deeper into the specifics of K color diamonds, let’s look at the color grading scale for diamonds. Devised by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the color grading scale is an industry-standard that’s used worldwide. In this scale, diamonds are rated from D to Z based on how much color can be seen in them when viewed in a face-down manner under controlled lighting.

To see the difference between a D and K, click on the images below and check out the 360-degree videos of these two diamonds. Also note the difference in price – almost $4000!

Round shape loose diamond
A perfectly colorless D diamond. See this round diamond here.
Round cut diamond K color
A faint yellow K color diamond. See this round diamond here.

Diamonds rated D, E and F are completely colorless and are the most expensive and valued kind. G, H, I, and J are the near-colorless range and are also highly valued and priced. Diamonds from the K, L, and M category, on the other hand, are called faint or faintly colored and do exhibit a noticeable color typically yellow or sometimes brown.

The faint category of diamonds is often viewed as the “first bad category” by a lot of specialists who only really care about D-J diamonds. Most retailers don’t offer diamonds below the M grade.

As for diamonds below the faint category, N-R are considered very lightly colored and S-Z are called lightly colored, with each of these categories exhibiting increasingly noticeable color.

Sitting well above the middle line of this list, however, K are essentially on the border between near-colorless and faint diamonds, and one might argue – on the right side of that border. Because they fall in the faint color category, K color diamonds are significantly cheaper than their D-J counterparts while still being beautiful.  

Can A K Color Diamond Look Good On An Engagement Ring?

We’ve answered this above but simply put, yes, a K color diamond can look good on an engagement ring. However – it can also look poor if certain conditions aren’t met. To pick the right K diamond engagement ring, you have to consider the diamond’s cut and the specifics of the ring setting, using these to your advantage and to complement the K diamond.

What roles does the K diamond’s cut play in its overall appearance?

When choosing an engagement ring with a K diamond as its centerpiece, just picking one at random or based on its price tag can end up quite badly for you. The reason for that is simple – the cut of the diamond is the hidden linchpin of its overall quality.

We all know that a diamond’s cut is king. However, for diamonds in the faint color category, the cut is even more important as it can offset the color hues of the diamond quite significantly.

Simply put, a good cut will maximize the diamond’s reflective ability and therefore – its brilliance and sparkle. And when a diamond has a lot of brilliance and sparkle thanks to its cut, the faint color hues of the diamond can be minimized.

Likewise, if a diamond is not only of a K color quality but is also poorly cut, it will have a sub-par brilliance and its color hues will be much more noticeable. 

What are the best engagement ring settings, materials, and styles to go with a K color diamond?

So, the cut is important. What else can you do to achieve the best possible results with a K color diamond, however? The next step is picking the right style, setting, and material for your ring.

The setting of the ring

Because the sparkle of a K color diamond is so important, choosing a setting that will emphasize and improve the sparkle is a good idea. This is why prong settings tend to work better for such faint colored diamonds than bezel settings as they allow for more light to enter the diamond and thus – to be reflected by its nice cut. Some other excellent settings for the K diamond halo, pave and channel. The extra brilliance of the side diamonds add to the overall sparkle of the ring.

The style of the ring

k color vintage engagement ring
A K diamond set in a vintage setting. The yellow gold perfectly complements the warm tint of the diamond. See it here for inspiration.

As far as any specific styles are concerned, we’re not going to steer you into a certain direction – suffice it to say that whichever style you choose should allow for maximum brilliance of the stone. Most styles can offer that when you make sure that the setting is open enough. The main concern with the style of an engagement ring should mostly be whether or not it will look good on the hands of your loved one.

The color of the ring setting

The color of the metal you choose for your engagement ring is has a significant impact on how your diamond looks once set. The color can hide or flaunt or K color diamond’s warm tints.  Take a look at the two rings below. Which diamond looks more yellow?

Prong setting k color diamond engagement ring
K diamond in white gold prong setting. Check price here.
k color diamond engagement ring in yellow gold
K diamond in yellow gold solitaire setting. See it here.

If you said the second ring, you’re right. By setting the K diamond in a yellow gold setting, the K diamond’s color is minimized in contrast to the yellow of the metal. Yellow gold is our favorite metal for the K diamond, if you want to hide its color.

White gold settings are excellent to bring out sparkle and emphasize its brilliance. There is a chance that the yellow tint of the diamond will be more visible against the white metal. However, this can make for an intriguing warm look.

Rose gold settings also work well with yellow tinted K diamonds, especially if set in a halo. The pink hue of the metal will contrast beautifully with the K diamond and show it off to advantage.

Rose gold k color diamond engagement ring
The diamond’s color is masked in this rose gold setting. See it here.

It should also be pointed out that even though K color diamonds and other faint or lightly colored diamonds are often called out for being “yellowish” their color hues are not always yellow and can come in other colors as well such as brown, orange and pinkish. Knowing what the color hue of your K color diamond is can help you choose a perfectly matching setting.

Always make sure you’re viewing the actual diamond, if not physically then via HD images and videos. This will help you to assess the quality of the stone and whether you can work with the color the stone is exhibiting.

Wrapping up…

K color diamonds can be an excellent choice for engagement rings.

They come at much more affordable prices than D-J color stones, they can also be bought in larger sizes for the same price if you want something bigger, and they can offer nearly the same visual effect as those “higher-quality” diamonds.

All in all – if you’ve done your homework, if you’re on a budget, and you know what you’re looking for, K color diamonds should be on your radar.

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years in the jewelry niche. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education. She has always been interested in expression through fashion and accessories, and her extensive experience in the field has made her a respected voice in jewelry trends and education. As the chief editor of Jewelry Shopping Guide, she not only leads the content strategy but also shares her insights through engaging articles. Her passion for storytelling is reflected in every piece she curates, exploring the intricate relationship between jewelry and personal identity.

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