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Fancy Colored Diamonds


The absence of color gives a diamond its value, thus diamonds that are colorless are the rarest and most costly.  Fancy-colored diamonds, on the other hand, are hued to various degrees.  For example, the rarest and most valuable fancy diamond colors are blues, pinks and greens with the slightest color intensity affecting a diamond’s value.

Color (Hue)

The most prevalent fancy diamond colors are yellows and browns.  All other hues, especially blues, reds and greens are extremely rare thus the color determines the diamond’s value.  

GIA System for Color Grading

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has a system of color grading that is formulated to take into consideration the color saturation range found in fancy-colored diamonds.  To illustrate this, yellow diamonds run the gamut of saturations.

Fancy Light Yellow Fancy Yellow colored Diamond Fancy Intense Yellow Diamonds Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond
Fancy Light Yellow Fancy Yellow Fancy Intense Yellow Fancy Vivid Yellow

Color (Hue) Value / Rarity / Comment Uses / Characteristics
Red or Reddish Highly Valued / Extremely Rare Rose-colored, purplish (mauve) colored
Blue Extremely Rare Slight hint of grey, boron determines intensity
Green Natural Green Extremely Rare Light in tone, yellowish-green hue
Brown Most Common Medium priced jewelry, industrial uses
Yellow Second Most Common Marketed as “canary” colored
Black Gaining in Popularity Used in jewelry, used in pave settings
White Milky White Color Opalescent flashes of color
Gray   Contain a high level of hydrogen as an impurity

Clarity

Fancy colored diamonds can have several flaws (or inclusions) giving them a low clarity grade, however, even with this, they can be desirable to enthusiasts especially if they exhibit good color when viewed straight on. 

Cut

The size, shape and style of the cut can influence a fancy-colored diamond’s color.  The size (bigger is better) of the diamond, the depth of its pavilion (so the light travels farther) and the style of its cut (i.e. radiant, etc.) can improve the intensity of the stone and as a result, increase its price per carat.

Carat Weight

As discussed above under “cut,” large fancy-colored diamonds are rarer, hence more valuable.

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