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Colored Diamond Value
Colored Diamond Value

Colored Diamond Value

Out of every 10,000 diamonds, just one will have natural color, which is known as a fancy color diamond. The value of a fancy color diamond therefore lies in the intensity and distribution of its color. Other factors that normally matter a great deal with white diamonds, like cut grade and clarity, are not top priority in fancy color diamonds.


Color is the most important aspect of any fancy color diamond. Fancy color diamonds can have one or more colors. When only one color exists in the diamond, the price will be much higher than if it were to have multiple colors. So it goes without saying that a fancy blue will cost more than a fancy grayish blue and a fancy pink will command a higher price than a fancy orangey pink. Aside from primary and secondary colors, also referred to as overtones, in fancy color diamonds, color is based on the level of intensity. Whereas white diamonds are graded on a D-Z scale, fancy color diamonds are evaluated on an intensity scale that runs as follows: Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Dark and Fancy Deep. Understandably, the higher the intensity, the higher the price.

To get a better understanding of how fancy color diamonds acquire their color, a bit of scientific discussion is in order. Firstly, natural color in natural fancy color diamonds is formed when trace amounts of other elements combine with the standard quantity of carbon during the crystallization process. Mutations in the basic crystalline structure of the diamond also contribute to the formation of natural color. If any secondary elements fuse with the carbon as it crystallizes, the color in the resulting composition can change. Other factors that can affect the natural color of a fancy color diamond are radiation and additional pressure applied to the crystalline structure.

Diamonds exist in practically all colors of the rainbow -

Pink - Since pink diamonds are so rare, they have become very collectible as both an investment opportunity and a luxury fashion statement. Argyle pink diamonds are especially coveted.

Purple - The most expensive of all purple diamonds are those that are uniformly pure purple without any secondary color modifiers.

Red - Natural red diamonds are indeed so hard to come by that up to a mere thirty are known to exist.

Orange - Fancy orange diamonds are commonly found with modifying colors of brown and yellow and such diamonds are typically less expensive.

Yellow - Thanks to a large celebrity following, yellow diamonds have become a very fashionable diamond color.

Green - Natural green diamonds owe their color to radiation exposure that unfolded over millions of years during their formation.

Blue - Most years, only one natural blue diamond rough is mined, emphasizing how truly rare they are.

Champagne (Brown) - Although a champagne diamond may look luxurious, its price is often quite affordable since the color is more abundant in nature.

Black - Black diamonds are opaque instead of translucent and owe their color to evenly distributed, dark inclusions.

Grey - fancy grey diamonds are generally considered to rank among the most affordable color diamonds.

Chameleon - Chameleon diamonds got their name because they are the only diamond that can change color (often from green to yellow.)

Among these main colors of diamonds, secondary color modifiers, and occasionally secondary base colors are often present to transform the overall hue, resulting in the creation of a unique colored diamond hybrid.

What Color Is A Diamond?

Natural fancy colored diamonds are an entirely separate group that exists and is graded independently of colorless diamonds. The colorless (often called "white") diamonds are graded on a D-Z scale. This is because even white diamonds can have slight hints of color in the form of yellow or brown. However, colorless diamonds are prized for their lack of color, so these hints of yellow or brown negatively affect a diamond's value. The exact opposite is true for colored diamonds, where the color is the most important factor of value. All diamond colors, including a yellow or brown color diamond with color that is stronger than the D-Z scale, will be graded based on intensity of color. Intensity refers to the combination of tone and saturation. Tone is how much lightness or darkness exists in the diamond and saturation refers to the depth of color.

Diamond color grading proceeds in the following ascending order of intensity: Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Deep, Fancy Dark, Fancy Intense, and Fancy Vivid. The more intense the color of diamonds, the more rare, and rarity determines overall value. For example: A Fancy Vivid Pink is rarer and more valuable than a Fancy Brown-Yellow.

A diamond with a light tone and light saturation is either Light or Fancy Light.

A diamond with a medium tone and deep saturation is Fancy Intense.

A diamond with a dark tone and deep saturation is Fancy Dark.

The most desired intensities are usually Fancy Vivid and Fancy Intense, the perfect marriage of tone and saturation.

Colors Of Diamonds, Explained

We mentioned earlier that diamonds can have one or two base colors as well as color modifiers. The first color in a description is the modifier and the last is a base color. This means that a colored diamond can have:

• One dominant (base) color - Example: Fancy Intense Yellow

• Two base colors - Example: Fancy Light Brown-Pink

• One modifier two base colors - Example: Fancy Greenish Yellow-Grey

• Two modifiers and one base color - Example: Fancy Dark Grayish Greenish Yellow

• Because of this amazing phenomenon, virtually all colors of diamonds exist to suit our uniquely individual tastes.


Next to color grade, carat weight has the greatest effect on price. Smaller diamonds are typically mined much more often than large ones, which of course makes large diamonds much more rare and valuable. Because natural color diamonds are already rare, imagine how much rarer - and more expensive - a large natural fancy color diamond will be! So the larger the fancy color diamond, the higher the price will climb.


Clarity is the amount, size and type of imperfections, referred to in the diamond industry as "inclusions," that naturally exist within a diamond but cannot be easily seen, for the most part, by the naked eye. It is generally agreed that due to the microscopic nature of the inclusions, clarity does not negatively affect how a diamond looks (unless, of course, the inclusions are of the I3 variety and are accordingly so massive even the unaided human eye can see it).

A glaring difference between the importance of clarity in white diamonds and fancy color diamonds is that clarity amounts to nothing more than a mere afterthought in fancy color diamonds. Whereas clarity matters much more when it comes to premier white diamonds, in fancy color diamonds, the clarities are frequently in the SI-I range but, luckily, the inclusions often blend in with the color of the diamond, rendering them less invisible to the naked eye. The probability of fancy color diamonds having VS or better clarity is statistically small. When it does happen, such diamonds will of course carry a hefty price tag. The most important thing to look for in a fancy color diamond with respect to clarity is that it's eye-clean.


Fancy color diamonds are cut and polished differently from white diamonds in an effort to maximize their color. On the other hand, white diamonds are cut in a way that will produce the most brilliance, commonly referred to as sparkle. Excessive brilliance in a fancy color diamond can occasionally take away from the focus on its color, which is not what you want in these types of stones. Although fancy color diamonds can and do have brilliance, color trumps every other characteristic and is the one quality in these types of diamonds that carries the most weight (figuratively speaking).