At A Glance
- There are 27 different hues of Fancy Color Diamonds
- Fancy Color Diamonds become more valuable with the greater intensity of their color
- There are natural Fancy Color Diamonds and diamonds that have been "color enhanced"
What is a fancy color diamond?
When we think of a diamond, we customarily will picture the mainstream colorless or white diamond that has become the trademark stone used in engagement rings and wedding bands. However, diamonds come in a vast variety of colors that range from red, yellow, blue, brown, and many variations in between. You might be familiar with likely the most famous fancy color diamond, the "Hope Diamond", with its fancy dark grayish-blue color, as graded by the GIA. Growing more popular over the years, fancy color diamonds are extremely rare, as only one in every 10,000 diamonds possess these unique hues naturally. There is no denying that these colorful counterparts are extraordinary and beautiful beyond compare.
Contrary to colorless diamonds, fancy colored diamonds become more valuable with the more color they possess. Thus, it is important to note that there are some differences in the grading system for fancy color diamonds and you should be conscious of what those differences mean before making a purchase. The single most valuable quality of a fancy color diamond is the intensity of its color and how evenly it is distributed in the diamond. Other qualities that are revered in colorless diamonds, like the cut quality and clarity, have less importance in the value and quality of a fancy color diamond.
How is a fancy color diamond graded?
Fancy color diamonds are graded with the same primary four characteristics commonly referred to as the "4 C's": Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat. There are some variations in importance, as well as what qualities make a fancy color diamond more valuable and of higher quality that differ greatly from their colorless counterparts. When purchasing a fancy color diamond, it is in your favor to understand what these differences are, so you will know what to look for and what diamond to buy. Such as the fact that while usually cut quality should be your primary concern when purchasing a colorless diamond, it has much less impact on the appearance of a fancy color diamond. For fancy color diamonds, color intensity is the most important characteristic.
Color intensity is the single most important characteristic of a fancy color diamond, increasing its rarity, value, and quality. Obviously, fancy color diamonds are not graded on the same scale of colorlessness, but rather have their own scale that rates the intensity of the color the diamond possesses. This grade also deals with how evenly color is saturated throughout the diamond. Fancy color diamonds are graded on a scale of intensity that increases from Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Dark, and Fancy Deep. The more intense or rich the color of the diamond is, the more expensive it becomes.
Considering that fancy color diamonds are rare as it is, discovering large gems during the mining of these diamonds is even more seldom. You can expect fancy color diamonds to rise exponentially as carat weight increases, because they are even less common than colorless diamonds. It is the second most influential characteristic on the price of a fancy color diamond.
With colorless diamonds inclusions and any imperfections can be more easily seen, simply because they are clear. However, as you can imagine, clarity has less import and influence on the appearance of a fancy color diamond due to its color. The color can easily mask inclusions and imperfections from even being visible.
Usually the cut of a diamond is to optimize the light it reflects to create that fire and brilliance we covet so much. Meanwhile, with fancy color diamonds the cut is utilized to emphasize and enhance the natural color of the diamond. Fancy color diamonds still exude brilliance, but showcasing the natural color of the diamond is the primary objective of the cut.
What colors are there?
Lustrous and lavish, there are 27 different hues of fancy color diamonds. Offering a wide range to select from, you can truly personalize the diamond you choose to suit your particular taste. You will notice a wide price difference among them, as there are certain hues that are rarer than others.
Blue, Red, Green, and Pink diamonds are the rarest of fancy color diamonds in all of their marvelous variations. You can expect any of these colors in their many variations to be exponentially more expensive to reflect their rarity. Yellow diamonds are the second most common of the fancy color diamonds on the market and are extremely popular for both their value and beauty. The most common of fancy color diamonds are the brown diamonds, which also come in beautiful variations. Although not popular for a long time, they have increased their appeal today, often advertised or described in luscious ways, like "chocolate", "champagne", and "cognac".
What is a color enhanced diamond?
When purchasing a fancy color diamond, you need to be aware of whether or not the diamond you are purchasing possesses color naturally or through enhancement techniques. The most valuable and rare will of course be natural fancy color diamonds that were mined with the color you see and developed it naturally. However, you can also come across fancy color diamonds that were altered using color enhancements techniques. The value difference between a natural colored diamond and one that has been enhanced is exponential, thus you should be wary of any retailer that does not clearly document whether their diamonds have been color enhanced. To ensure you aren't overpaying, you should know whether or not the diamond you are looking to purchase is a natural fancy color diamond or one that has been color enhanced.
There are three primary methods for changing the color of a diamond considered to be permanent. Those include the application of high pressure and high heat, irradiation, and the application of a coating. The first two are generally accepted as permanent changes to the diamonds color, but a coating can be worn down over time. Thereby, if you choose to purchase a fancy color diamond that has been color enhanced, it is recommended you acquire one that has been treated with one of the first two methods of enhancement.