While elegant white diamonds are still ruling the market, fancy colored diamonds are slowly but surely making their way to becoming just as popular as their colorless counterparts.
The rise in the popularity of fancy-colored diamonds is due to their unique and naturally occurring colors. No matter the color, it’s extremely hard, if not impossible, to find the exact same color shade of a diamond, meaning each fancy diamond is one of a kind.
In a world where everyone wants to be unique and invent themselves in new ways to stand out, fancy colored diamonds are the perfect alternative to classic elegance. They can easily fit your mood, outfit, or character, make a statement, attract attention and make a great conversation piece.
Moreover, a colored diamond in a pair of earrings or a necklace provides more character to the jewelry. A fancy diamond is also a perfect choice for an engagement ring. Nothing says more “I Love You” than choosing the favorite color of your partner for an engagement ring.
Is the Color in Fancy Diamonds Natural?
This may come as a surprise for some, but diamonds come in a variety of naturally occurring colors. Yes, the color can be artificially enhanced, but natural fancy colored diamonds can be found in nature just like clear ones.
With no further ado, let’s dive into everything you need to know about fancy diamonds.
What Causes the Color in Diamonds?
The color in diamonds is caused by structural defects and chemical impurities in their crystal lattice, such as the presence of nitrogen or sulfur. It can also be caused as a result of distortion in their crystal lattice, like in pink diamonds.
Colorless diamonds are priced based on their purity and structure. For example, colorless diamonds with a hue of yellow cost less than clear ones. That’s because they’re lower on the diamond color scale.
However, the color of a diamond won’t always have a negative impact on the price. If the diamond is considered to be a fancy one, it falls off the diamond color chart and the color increases its value.
For example, if the yellow color in a diamond is so strong that it can’t be measured on the D to Z scale, the diamond is considered to be a yellow-colored diamond rather than a tinted colorless diamond. Other colors aren’t so complicated and their price will rise proportionally to their color intensity.
Color Enhanced Diamonds
Color-enhanced diamonds are made from low-priced natural colored diamonds. Their color can be enhanced in labs by treating them in a high-pressure and high-temperature environment.
The price range of color-enhanced diamonds is around 30%-50% less than natural-colored ones. So, if the price of a fancy diamond seems too good to be true, it most likely is an imitation or a color-enhanced diamond.
In some cases, it can be easy to tell if a diamond is enhanced. If the color is too intense, it’s most likely it has gone through an enhancing process. However, sometimes the enhancement is slight and can only be determined by a professional.
Our recommendation is to buy fancy colored diamonds only from a reputable dealer where you can verify that you are getting what you are paying for. This way you’re making sure you won’t get scammed.
What Are the Natural Diamond Colors?
Natural diamonds come in a wide range of colors and shades. Their color is formed due to chemical bonds and structural defects in the crystal lattice. In this section, we’ll talk about the variety of naturally occurring colors in diamonds, what causes the color, and where they are mined.
Blue Colored Diamonds
If you’re looking for a colored alternative to the classic clear diamond, a blue diamond is a perfect choice. No matter if low or heavily tinted, a blue-colored diamond will always shine with elegance.
Its distinct blue color occurs because of the presence of the element called boron that replaces carbon in the early stages of diamond formation. Their color can range from an arctic blue to a heavily tinted royal blue. Blue diamonds can also have secondary hues like green and gray that influence their color.
Blue diamonds are rare and they are mined in Africa, India, and Australia. Their rarity determines their price and the color intensity just adds up to the final cost. Just like all diamonds, you can buy them in various shapes and they will provide a sophisticated look no matter which one you choose.
Learn More: Blue Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know
Pink Colored Diamonds
Pink fancy diamonds are mined only in Australia’s Argyle mine and are just as rare as blue diamonds. However, due to their soft and romantic color, they are often bought as engagement rings, hence they can be more expensive than the blue ones.
Pink diamonds, just like colorless diamonds, consist of pure carbon. Their color occurs because of the distortion in the crystal lattice that causes the absorption of green light resulting in the pink color. This happens deep in the earth’s crust under high temperatures and high pressures.
The price of pink diamonds increases with their color intensity. This means, that the stronger the color, the higher the price tag. There are many color variations in pink diamonds, so they are graded from faint to fancy vivid.
Pink diamonds can also have secondary hues. In most cases, orange, brown, and purple modify their color further.
Learn More: Pink Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know
Purple Colored Diamonds
Purple diamonds are mined in the inhospitable environment of Siberia, Canada, and even the Amazon. Hence, it’s not a surprise they’re among the rarest diamonds. They can weigh up to 5 carats, but that’s extremely rare.
It’s speculated that purple diamonds get their color due to the distortion in their crystal lattice, just like pink diamonds. Their purple is usually light, so they are sometimes referred to as lilac, lavender, or orchid diamonds. Vivid strong purple colors, like those in plums and grapes, are particularly rare.
A fun fact is that there are no historically known nor famous purple diamonds!
If you intend to buy a purple diamond, better be ready to pay a good price. They can be difficult to come by, so make sure you’re buying from a trusted and reputable dealer.
Learn More: Purple Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know
Violet Colored Diamonds
Violet fancy diamonds are incredibly rare because their color is the result of the combination of blue and purple which are both rare diamonds. In fact, diamonds that have a strong violet color are so rare that less than ten are found annually.
Violet diamonds have a secondary hue that determines their color and these make the majority of violets. Only 10% are pure violet color diamonds.
Moreover, violet diamonds are usually tiny. It’s extremely hard to find one that’s over 1 carat. It’s not hard to understand why these diamonds are so expensive.
They’re mined in Australia, in the Argyle mine. It’s believed that their colors come from hydrogen. However, the exact formation process of the violet color is yet not fully understood.
Learn More: Violet Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know
Red Colored Diamonds
Red-colored diamonds get their color just like pink and purple diamonds, due to changes in their crystal lattice. Red diamonds are actually heavily saturated pink diamonds.
You may expect that a true red colored diamond resembles in color a ruby, but that’s not the case. A natural red diamond is more of a rose or imperial red.
They are mined in Australia, Brazil, India, and Russia and are extremely rare to come by. They are so rare that even some of the most famous diamond and jewelry dealers have never seen a true red fancy diamond.
The largest red diamond ever sold had 5.11 carats and was bought for a price of $1,000,000. It was found in Brazil and is called the Moussaieff Red Diamond just like its owner – jeweler Moussaieff.
Like other fancy diamonds, red diamonds can have secondary hues. In most cases, these hues are orange and brown. What makes them stand out from other colored diamonds is that they come in only one intensity level and that is fancy red.
Learn More: Red Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know
Orange Colored Diamonds
Just after red, pink, violet, and blue comes the orange-colored diamond in rarity. Orange fancy diamonds usually have hues of brown, yellow, and even pink. The modified colors are more common than pure orange ones.
Their specific color comes from nitrogen atoms that are arranged in a specific way in their structure. This arrangement in the crystal lattice causes the absorption of blue and yellow light, which results in orange. The color intensity in orange diamonds ranges from fancy which has only a tint of orange to fancy vivid which is a strong orange.
Orange diamonds are mined mostly in Africa and their popularity has experienced a spike in the late 90s. The most famous orange diamond is named Pumpkin Diamond because it was bought the day before Halloween and had a weight of 5.54 carat.
Learn More: Orange Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know
Yellow Colored Diamonds
Although yellow hues in white diamonds have a lower grade on the color scale, if there are enough nitrogen atoms in a diamond, it’s considered to be yellow.
These yellow stones are rare like all fancy diamonds. However, compared to other colors, yellow diamonds are the most available on the market. Because of their availability, these fancy stones are priced lower than other colored diamonds of the same size, and even some colorless ones.
Yellow fancy diamonds have become widely popular in the last few years, mostly because celebrities started showing their jewelry crowned with yellow diamonds. This color is also a good alternative to classical colorless diamonds, so they can be a perfect choice for an engagement ring.
The color intensity ranges from light yellow to vivid yellow and their price rises with the color intensity.
Learn More: Yellow Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know
Green Colored Diamonds
Green diamonds come from South America and Africa and get their green color thanks to the naturally occurring radiation deep in the earth’s crust. Radiation basically displaces the carbon atoms in the diamond causing it to absorb light in the red and yellow regions of the light spectrum.
Their color intensity ranges from faint green to fancy deep with many different shades in between. Green diamonds can have hues of yellow, blue, brown, and even grey.
An intense deep green color resembling an emerald is the most expensive and most desirable green diamond. There are only around 300 diamonds in the world with vivid green colors. Green fancy diamonds are just as popular and rare as blue diamonds. Moreover, their popularity hasn’t degraded throughout history.
Caution is recommended when buying green diamonds because even professionals struggle with determining if the color was enhanced. Since it’s almost impossible to tell if the green you’re looking at hasn’t been fiddled with, always buy from a trusted diamond or jewelry dealer.
Learn More: Green Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know
Olive Colored Diamonds
Even though olive is a variation of green, olive diamonds don’t fully fit the green diamond category. Green diamonds have darker green even if it’s only a tint and olive ones are a crossing between green and yellow. They can have hues of green, yellow, brown, and gray.
An interesting fact about these diamonds is that they sometimes exhibit a change in color when subjected to high temperatures or even left in the dark. That’s why olive fancy diamonds are sometimes called chameleon diamonds.
Although rare, olive diamonds vary quite in size. Some olive diamonds have over 10 carats and small ones are relatively available on the market.
Brown Colored Diamonds
Brown diamonds, together with yellow diamonds make up more than 50% of all colored diamonds. Because of their availability and the brown color that makes them less attractive, they’re usually lower priced compared to other fancy diamonds.
However, for heavily tinted brown diamonds with golden hues, you’ll have to pay a small fortune, because of their desirability and rarity.
Just like yellow diamonds, brown diamonds have become popular in the last few years and are sometimes referred to as chocolate and cognac diamonds.
A huge percentage of brown diamonds are mined in Australia, Africa, and Brazil. Their brown color comes from the presence of nitrogen atoms and defects in their crystal lattice. Some defects in the crystal lattice can be healed so that brown diamonds become yellow or even clear diamonds.
Learn More: Brown Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know
Black Colored Diamonds
Black diamonds stand out among all other colored diamonds. Black isn’t a color that will associate you with diamonds and even in jewelry, it doesn’t resemble the others. That’s because they are opaque rather than shiny. They don’t have the brilliance that’s connected to other diamonds.
Their specific black color is formed when there is dark color inclusion within the diamond. These inclusions are usually graphite, hematite, and pyrite. The color inclusion will also determine how dark the diamond will be and what hue it’ll have.
Black is sophisticated and can be paired with any other color. That’s why a black diamond will look fantastic on its own and in combination with other colors in the jewelry. They are mined in Brazil and Central Africa and it’s extremely hard to come across a totally opaque black diamond.
However, in comparison to colorless diamonds, black fancy diamonds are more affordable. That is due to the demand. Black diamonds haven’t yet achieved the popularity some other colored diamonds have.
Learn More: Black Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know
White Colored Diamonds
It’s a common mistake to call colorless diamonds white diamonds. Colorless diamonds are clear and have a specific brilliance, while white diamonds possess a translucency and opacity that makes them white. They can have hues of yellow, brown, black, blue, and even red.
Because of this common misconception, many don’t even know that these beautiful milky gems exist. However, there are widely popular among collectors and designers.
White fancy diamonds are extraordinarily hard to find. Every once in a while, miners stumble upon a genuine white diamond.
Their white color is caused by the presence of microscopic inclusion that prevents them to reflect light. It’s not quite understood how these inclusions are formed and what they are, but it’s speculated that the presence of nitrogen in the carbon structure causes the snowlike color.
Gray Colored Diamonds
Fancy gray diamonds are often confused with colorless diamonds. However, you don’t have to be an expert to tell the difference. When viewing a gray and a colorless diamond side by side the difference is pretty obvious.
Gray diamonds get their color during their formation in the earth’s crust. Experts say that the gray color is caused by inclusions of hydrogen or boron. They are found in mines throughout the world from Australia to America and are really rare. Because of their specific color, gray diamonds are also called pigeon, steel, and silver diamonds.
Gray diamonds are also considered to be masculine fancy diamonds, so it comes as no surprise that they’re more popular among the male population.
Learn More: Gray Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know
How Are Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds Priced and Graded?
Fancy diamonds are priced and graded similarly to their colorless counterparts. In other words, the 4Cs play a huge part in determining their final price.
The same pricing rules for carat and cut as for colorless diamonds are applied to fancy diamonds. Color grading and clarity on the other hand are a different story.
Here are the differences in the 4Cs in colorless and fancy diamonds:
Starting out with the most important of all 4Cs in fancy diamonds – color is what gives these gems their high value. The color intensity is what determines the price of a diamond regardless of the color. The higher the color intensity the more valuable the fancy diamond is.
Here are the color strengths that are used for color grading a fancy diamond:
- Very light
- Fancy light
- Fancy intense
- Fancy vivid
- Fancy dark
- Fancy deep
Not all colored diamonds are graded in all 9 color strengths. Some will have only three, while others can have all nine. Fancy diamonds are also color-graded based on their tone and hue. Tone represents how light or dark a diamond is on a scale from 0-100 and the hue is the actual color of the stone.
Most diamonds are mixed color, meaning they have one main and one or more secondary hues. According to IGS, the International Gem Society, there are around 30 base colors that can create more than 200 color combinations. For example when a diamond is an orangy pink, orange is the modifying color while pink is the primary one.
Fancy diamonds with no secondary hues are incredibly rare, thus they cost way more. The rarest among all diamonds is the red diamond and there are only four known red diamonds with no secondary hues.
Among the 4Cs, carat weight is the only C that has the same pricing rules both for colorless and fancy diamonds. However, this applies only when talking about the carat weight within one color. One carat weight of a fancy diamond can cost way more than the same carat weight on another.
This is because of the rarity of certain colored diamonds. All fancy diamonds are rare. Among all diamonds mined throughout the year, only 0.1% are fancy. So, finding one specific color in this 0.1% makes it even rarer.
In colorless diamonds, the most important of the 4Cs is the cut quality. The cut has a huge effect on the brilliance of a colorless diamond. The better the cut, the more radiance, and brilliance the diamond will have. Moreover, the price rises proportionally to the cut quality.
In natural fancy colored diamonds, cut is important but not in the same way as in colorless diamonds.
In fancy diamonds, the cut is what brings out their most important characteristic – color. A cut that has asymmetry, large bales, and open culets will give a fancy diamond the perfect color, rather than a cut that will maximize light reflection and symmetry.
Clarity is the least important of the 4Cs in fancy diamonds. That’s because their main value factor is their color which can come from inclusion within the diamond. In colorless diamonds, an inclusion will drastically lower its value, while in natural fancy colored diamonds inclusions can skyrocket their price.
The only exception is when the inclusion can affect the durability of a fancy diamond. Buying a fancy diamond is a big investment, so every buyer wants their diamond to last as long as possible. If experts determine that the inclusions will have an impact on the diamond’s lifetime, its price will be significantly reduced.
Natural Fancy Colored Diamond FAQs
For those of you who don’t want to read the whole article to find out the answer to their question, here’s a quick summary:
What’s the Most Important of the 4cs in Fancy Diamonds?
The most important of all 4Cs in fancy diamonds is color. The color and intensity of the diamonds are what determines their value.
Of course, the other three Cs are also important. Carat weight is measured just like in colorless diamonds, while cut and clarity are a bit different.
The cut in fancy diamonds should enhance its color. What may result in a decrease in value in a colorless diamond can result in an increase in fancy diamonds.
Clarity is the least important of all Cs. That’s because in most cases the color is caused by impurities, so it doesn’t play a huge role in the value of fancy diamonds.
What’s the Most Expensive Natural Fancy Colored Diamond?
All-natural fancy colored diamonds are extremely rare and therefore expensive. However, the most expensive color is red.
There are only a few red-colored diamonds known to the public in the whole world. Red fancy diamonds with only a slight red color are immensely hard to find and cost a fortune. There are only four full red diamonds and anyone who will want to buy them will really have to break their bank.
What Is the Cheapest Fancy Diamond?
Yellow and brown diamonds make around 50% of all colored diamonds. That’s why they’ve usually priced much less than their colored friends and sometimes even colorless diamonds.
In the last few years, these yellow and brown fancy diamonds are starting to get more and more popular, so their price is getting higher with the demand. The most expensive ones among them are Canary diamonds and chocolate diamonds with a golden hue.
Are the Colors of Fancy Diamonds Really Natural?
Absolutely! The colors are formed during the formation of the diamonds thanks to high temperatures, chemical processes, and microscopic inclusion. However, there are lab-enhanced diamonds, so always make sure to buy from a trusted diamond and jewelry dealer.
We’re aware that the amount of information presented to you is vast, and that the possibility of you remembering it all is low, but that’s why this article is here for you any day! You can scroll through and recap with ease, but to make it even easier for you, let’s recap together.
Natural fancy colored diamonds have started to become more and more popular over the past couple of years. Between red, orange, yellow, green, and blue fancy vivid-colored diamonds, it’s hard to pick and choose a favorite. But that’s all right since they have become more available on the market since their spike in popularity.
So, now that you have a complete overview of all the most important information about these diamonds, you’re all set for diamond shopping. We wish you successful diamond hunting!