What diamond color grade should I buy?

We analyzed the 70000+ engagement rings in James Allen’s diamond inspiration gallery to determine what diamond color grades people buy in practice. Color choice is influenced by three main factors: 1) natural or lab-created diamond, 2) shape, and 3) engagement ring metal.

Natural Diamonds

The most popular color grade for each diamond shape and ring metal combination is shown in the table below. For example, H is the most popular color for a round natural diamond in a platinum setting.

People generally bought lower color grades for rose/yellow gold rings compared to white gold/platinum rings. Higher color was more popular for oval, pear, and marquise diamonds; this might be due to color being concentrated towards the sides of an oval and tips of a pear/marquise.

Most Popular Diamond Color Grade by Shape and Engagement Ring Metal Type
Shape Rose Gold Yellow Gold White Gold Platinum
Round K I I H
Cushion I K H H
Radiant E J I G
Princess K J H G
Oval D H D D
Pear D D D D
Marquise D D D D
Heart I I H D
Emerald F G G F
Asscher G I H G

The full distribution of color grades for each combination is shown in the figure below. The distributions shift to the right (higher color) with whiter metal.

Lab-Created Diamonds

There isn’t a large enough sample size to analyze lab diamond color stratified by shape and metal type because James Allen only started selling lab-created diamonds in the second half of 2019. The overall distribution of lab diamond color grades is shown in the figure below.

E is the most popular lab diamond color. This may reflect James Allen’s stocking of higher colors for lab diamonds. It may also reflect the potential differences in color between lab and natural diamonds. People may buy higher color grades to avoid brown CVD and blue HPHT lab diamonds.