In the world of diamonds, value is associated with rarity. Because colourless diamonds are the rarest, they hold the most value, at least within the normal colour range. But for fancy-coloured diamonds, some colours are more valuable than others based on their rarity.
Even though colourless or ‘white’ diamonds have been the most popular kind for a long time, fancy colour diamonds are now gaining more popularity. It’s rare for any two colours to be the same.
Diamonds are classic and beautiful gemstones that have been adored for generations. They are associated with elegance and class, and they catch the light in a way that commands attention.
Diamonds are the most expensive and valued among all precious gems, primarily because of their toughness and high optical dispersion, which is how they diffuse light of different colours.
There are a variety of colours, names, and ways to grade these gems to determine their worth. Here you will find out what you need to know about fancy coloured diamond classification.
Fancy coloured diamonds are gems with a visible hue other than yellow or brown. They contain impurities or defects that cause their colour, as opposed to the ‘pure’ or colourless.
Fancy coloured diamonds are extremely rare gems where the stone colour appears strong. The shades of fancy-coloured diamonds include yellow, brown, purple, pink, red, blue, and green.
Natural fancy-coloured diamonds owe their colouring to natural causes, such as impurities and/or the presence of boron elements, nitrogen, or crystal lattice defects during formation. About one in every 10,000 diamonds is formed with a natural colour, making them very expensive and rare.
Fancy Coloured diamonds and the 4 C’s
Fancy coloured diamonds are graded differently than colourless diamonds, as in transparent diamonds, the less colour there is, the better because completely colourless stones are the rarest. However, while coloured gems are influenced by the four C’s (Colour, Carat, Clarity and Cut), the colour intensity is much more important, as is how evenly the colour is distributed throughout the stone.
To understand coloured diamonds, it helps to know how fancy-coloured diamonds can be described:
This is a grading system that helps define the strength of colour within a given fancy diamond. The colour strengths are:
These last three descriptors are common among all diamonds and can also describe fancy coloured diamonds.
The cut in fancy-coloured diamonds is focused on highlighting the diamond’s colour rather than brilliance (as with white diamonds); therefore, there are more limited options when cutting.
In colourless diamonds, clarity influences the price, the less clear (more imperfections), the less valuable the diamond. However, in coloured diamonds, clarity doesn’t influence the value of the diamond as much, as fancy diamonds hide their characteristics within the colour.
The carat weight of a diamond plays a big part in the price of a fancy coloured diamond' Again, this comes down to rarity; large gems are rarer than smaller ones.
Fancy coloured diamonds
Fancy champagne diamonds are the most common coloured diamond, often appearing with browner tones caused by the presence of nitrogen when the stones were developing.
Brown/champagne diamonds appear in a wide range of saturations and intensity, and under different light, they can appear different to the eye. Typically, tones that run medium to dark with a golden appearance are most prized
Sometimes referred to as canary diamonds, yellow fancy diamonds are the second most common type of coloured diamond, found mostly in South Africa but sourced worldwide. Though they are common, yellow fancy diamonds can come in quite intense saturations.
Ranging from yellow to brownish hues, yellows are most prized for their brilliance, the more intense the colour, the more likely the diamond to increase in value over time.
How green diamonds come about is quite interesting; radiation displaces carbon atoms within the crystal structure.
Orange diamonds are an interesting case. Though they are relatively rare, lower market demand keeps their price down. Many hues of orange diamonds can be quite vivid, meaning if you love the look of an orange diamond, you can secure a rare beauty at a good value.
Fancy pink diamonds are rare, with the majority minded from Argyle in Western Australia. Interestingly, only about 1 out of 1 million carats mined is fit to sell. While they come in various saturations, the more vivid, the more prized.
Incredibly rare, purple diamonds are only found in Australia and Siberia and are almost exclusively under 5 carats with colours that rarely reach vivid range and saturation. Similar to pink diamonds, their colouring comes from crystal distortion
It is extremely rare to find a blue diamond, and blue diamonds generally do not have a wide range of colour strength. It is unlikely to find fancy blue diamonds in intense or vivid categories. The blue in blue diamonds is caused by the presence of boron within the diamond. The more boron, the bluer. However, compared to the intense colour of blue sapphire, blue diamonds are typically lighter or paler in tone.
Blue diamonds with strong, deep colours are among the rarest diamonds on earth and thus are extremely valuable
Of all the fancy diamonds, red is by far the rarest and consequently most valuable.
Diamonds are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle so intensely. We often think of a diamond’s cut as a shape (round, heart, oval, marquise, pear), but what a diamond cut does mean is how well a diamond’s facets interact with light.
Achieving the best cut for a diamond reflects in the stone’s final beauty and value.
The cut of a diamond is determined by what will create the most desirable visual effects, such as:
Diamond Colour or a lack of colour
Understanding what diamond colour means helps in choosing the right diamond. Interestingly, the diamond colour evaluation of most gem-quality diamonds is based on the absence of colour. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water and, consequently, a higher value. The D-to-Z diamond colour-grading system measures the degree of colourlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to master stones of established colour value.
Many of these diamond colour distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye; however, these distinctions make a massive difference in diamond quality and price. Coloured Diamonds, such as yellow, pink, champagne etc., have a different grading process.
Natural diamonds result from carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in inclusions and blemishes.
Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these and how they affect the stone's overall appearance. No diamond is perfectly pure. But the closer it comes to purity, the better its clarity.
The Clarity Scale has six categories, some of which are divided, for 11 specific grades.
A diamond carat weight measures how much a diamond weighs.
A metric “carat” is defined as 200 milligrams. Each carat is subdivided into 100 ‘points.’ This allows exact measurements to the hundredth decimal place. A jeweller may describe the weight of a diamond below one carat by its ‘points’ alone. For instance, the jeweller may refer to a diamond that weighs 0.25 carats as a ‘twenty-five pointer.’ Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.08 carat stone would be described as ‘one point oh eight carats.’
Diamond price increases with diamond carat weight because larger diamonds are rarer and more desirable. However, two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values (and prices) depending on the three other factors of the diamond 4Cs: Colour, Clarity, and Cut.
While you know what carat means, it’s important to remember that a diamond’s value is determined using all of the 4Cs, not just carat weight.