We’re continuing our spotlight on April’s Birthstone for just one more week. Today, meet the Fancy Colored Diamond.
What Are Fancy Colored Diamonds?
Typically, the term “Diamond Color” refers to the absence of color, which is a marker of quality along with the other 4Cs of Diamond Clarity, Diamond Carat Weight, and Diamond Cut. The majority of diamonds with color will have tints of yellow or brown, but diamonds are found in almost every color of the spectrum. Since most diamonds have a bit of yellow or brown, the colors outside of those hues are called “fancy colors.”
The creation of a natural color diamond is nothing short of a miracle. In addition to the extreme conditions that must be present for a diamond to form inside the Earth, minute amounts of trace elements must also interact with the carbon atoms to permanently alter the color. It is estimated that a diamond has only a 1 in 10,000 chance of possessing any natural color, regardless of the spectral hue, which makes any fancy colored diamond a true natural wonder.
How Are They Assessed?
The GIA Diamond Color Scale ranges from D to Z. Beyond Z color, diamonds are graded as Fancy Color with a separate set of parameters. Colorless, near colorless, faint and light diamond colors are graded from the face-down position. Laboratory graders assess fancy color diamonds from the face-up or top view of the diamond. They evaluate the overall color, the lightness or darkness of that color, and saturation or intensity of the color. They also look at secondary colors that may be present.
Diamonds in the colorless (D-Z) range generally decrease in value as the color becomes more apparent, however the opposite is true with fancy-colored diamonds. Their color is graded on a scale from Faint to Fancy Vivid. Those factors, along with the relative frequency (or rarity!) of finding a particular color will determine the cost of the stone. Grading fancy color diamonds is complex and specialized, and it takes highly trained laboratory graders to complete the process accurately. Certain shapes intensify fancy color – typically, the deeper the pavilion (bottom half of a diamond) the more color is returned to the eye.
Where Do They Come From?
Natural Fancy color diamonds are mined in Australia, Canada, Brazil, and throughout Africa. They are also created synthetically. Synthetic diamonds are only grown in three primary colors though: yellow, blue and white/colorless. Yellow diamonds grow the fastest, so they cost the least, and are available in the largest sizes. Irradiation, heating, and high-pressure, high-temperature treatments of those yellow diamonds result in the creation of synthetic colors. Treating a diamond that is larger than 1/3 carat usually results in a vivid, deep and dark color.
What Colors Do They Come In?
Diamonds are found naturally in every possible shade of the color spectrum. The most common colors however are Pink, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange & Brown. Red, olive, purple, violet, gray and black diamonds also exist, however they are much more rare.
Pink diamonds range from delicate pastel to bubble gum pink to deep raspberry. They are typically associated with romance. Pinks have long been revered by Hollywood stars. Diamonds become pink when heat and pressure deep within the earth cause the crystal lattice to distort. One of the most well known pink diamonds is the Graff Pink, sold at auction last year. Others include the The Princie Diamond and The Steinmetz Pink.
Blue diamonds are considered extremely rare and mysterious. They range from the light blue sky of a winter’s day to the deep blue of the ocean. The vast majority of blue diamonds are blue due to the presence of boron. Probably the most famous blue stone is the ‘Hope Diamond.’ The Hope Diamond was originally 112.25 carats when it was purchased in India and sold to the French King Louis XIV.
Green diamonds are extremely rare and highly valued, ranging from light mint greens to vivid grass greens. Only a handful of natural green diamonds are introduced into the market each year making green diamonds some of the most sought after of all the natural colors. The green color comes from being near radioactive sources during formation, but this process takes at least a million years to occur, hence their rarity. The Dresden Green is the most famous green diamond. Weighing approximately 41 carats, it is often referred to as the cousin of the Hope Diamond.
Yellow Diamonds capture the sun’s rays resulting in a dramatic and brilliant glow. They are very popular among celebrities for that very reason, and as a result, they are the most widely known of colors. In most yellow diamonds the nitrogen atoms have grouped themselves in very specific ways. This usually happens right after the diamond is formed. Some of the most famous fancy yellow diamonds are The Incomparable, The Tiffany Yellow, The Allnatt, The Florentine.
Orange diamonds come primarily from Africa, and range in shade from tangerine to amber. The interest in this color surged in 1997 with the auction of the Pumpkin Diamond, so named because it was purchased the day before Halloween.
Brown diamonds are the most common color variety of natural diamonds. The brown color makes them less attractive as gemstones because of the reduced glimmer, and most are used for industrial purposes. However, improved marketing programs, especially in Australia and the United States, have resulted in brown diamonds becoming valued as gemstones in recent years and even referred to as chocolate diamonds.
If you are interested in a colored diamond, give Susan a call today – 212-398-1256. And don’t forget the traditional diamonds – you can always find Diamond Essentials and other Fine Jewelry featuring diamonds on GrantsJewelry.com, and Susan will also help you locate the ideal diamond(s) for custom engagement rings.
We’ll have one last feature on Diamonds later this week, when we explore the creation of synthetic diamonds and what it means in the diamond industry.
Source: GIA, Natural Color Diamond Association
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