Orange Diamond: A Buying Guide

Natural Fancy Orange Diamonds

Natural fancy orange diamonds are completely natural and caused by the presence of nitrogen in the diamond's carbon lattice structure upon the diamond's formation thousands of miles under the Earth's surface in the Earth's mantle.

Orange Color Diamonds

Orange color diamonds.

A pure fancy orange diamond, in the same hue and intensity as the color of a pumpkin, is truly rare. Fancy orange diamonds are more commonly paired with secondary color modifiers, or overtones, of common Brown and Yellow, the rare and highly valuable Pink or the very elusive Red. The majority of orange diamonds is type Ib diamonds, which make up less than 0.1 percent of all diamonds, and puts them roughly on par with type IIb diamonds for being the rarest kind of diamonds.

Orange Diamond Color

Fancy orange diamonds are usually Type Ib diamonds that consist of atoms of nitrogen uniformly distributed in the crystal lattice and absorb blue and yellow light, resulting in an orange color. Because the odds of an orange diamond being only orange are extremely long, they are typically found with modifying colors. The saturation of a color diamond is determined by its intensity. Differences in color appearance are therefore credited to tone, which is the particular point that a diamond falls in the light to dark spectrum.

Orange Diamond Intensity

The eight natural color grades for natural fancy colored orange diamonds are, in ascending order:

Fancy Orange Diamond Intensity Scale
Faint Orange
Very Light Orange
Light Orange
Fancy Orange
Fancy Intense Orange
Fancy Vivid Orange
Fancy Deep Orange
Fancy Dark Orange

Fancy orange diamond intensity scale.

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Orange Diamonds Color Intensity

Intensity grades of orange diamonds - From left to right: Faint Orange, Very Light Orange, Light Orange, Fancy Orange, Fancy Intense Orange, Fancy Vivid Orange, Fancy Deep Orange, Fancy Dark Orange.

The further along this spectrum you go, the richer and more intense the orange is to be seen in the diamond. The more intense a diamond's color saturation, the more it will be worth. For example, a Fancy Intense Orange diamond will be worth more than a Fancy Orange diamond.

Fancy Vivid and Fancy Deep are the most desired hues.

Orange Diamond Secondary Hues

Because pure orange is a mixture of the primary colors Red and Yellow, natural fancy orange diamonds range from Orange Red diamonds, to Yellow Orange diamonds. The rare and highly valuable Red, Orange, Pink, Purple and common Yellow and Brown are the secondary hues found in natural fancy orange diamonds. Although orange is not one of the rarest colors to be found in diamonds in nature, the GIA rarely grades a diamond as "pure" orange, as they mostly occur with a secondary color tone. Because of this, pure orange diamonds are almost as rare as fancy red diamonds!

Orange Diamond Tone

Tone refers to the lightness or darkness of an orange diamond, and the continuum in between. GIA grading does not make a distinction in tones, but to the eye a stone with darker tones may appear more intense in color. For someone looking for the appearance of a Fancy Intense Orange without the price tag of one, a good option may be a Fancy Orange with a darker tone.

Orange Diamond Fluorescence

Fluorescence is a natural experience that affects up to one-third of diamonds. When fluorescence occurs in a diamond, it will glow upon being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light is a major component of natural daylight and exists in artificial light as well. Fluorescence typically appears as a blue color but can be encountered in assorted colors such as yellow, orange, and green. When fluorescence is present in fancy orange diamonds, the color is often times medium to strong yellow in diamonds that are Fancy Intense or Vivid Yellow Orange or Yellowish Orange. Yellow fluorescence in an orange diamond can lend a golden cast and make it appear more pastel. In the final analysis, the enhancement to a stone's aesthetics that fluorescence offers is entirely subjective.

Orange Diamond Clarity

Natural fancy orange diamonds generally tend to have clarities that fall within the VS1 to I1 range. For those orange diamonds that fall on the lower end of the clarity spectrum, the vitality of their color is usually able to mask even sizeable inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. As with other fancy color diamonds, because of the acknowledged rarity and value of orange diamonds, their clarity is far less of a consideration than actual color and intensity.

Orange Diamond Shape

Because round cuts tend to produce lower color saturation, orange diamonds, like other colors, are generally cut into fancy shapes such as pear shapes, radiants, cushions, etc. Round cuts cause color desaturation because they are best at reflecting white light, which also gives them their scintillation. In the case of natural orange diamonds, a round cut may make the orange color appear fainter, whereas a fancy shape, which reflects less white light, will maximize color saturation. Take note of uneven color distributions as well (these will be noted on your GIA certificate), as they can certainly affect a diamond's appearance and value.

Orange Diamond Value

Pure orange diamonds are particularly rare and enjoy a value that is comparable to certain pink and blue diamonds. To that end, fancy orange diamonds are commonly found with modifying colors of Brown and Yellow and such diamonds are typically less expensive. Orange diamonds combined with rare and highly valuable modifying colors of Red and Pink, on the other hand, will see a spike in demand and price.

A color diamond's worth is determined first and foremost by its color. The more intense the base color in an orange diamond, the more valuable it will be. From an investor's perspective, natural fancy orange diamonds represent excellent investment opportunities. The best investment choices for orange diamonds are those that have deeper color saturation and the largest size your budget can accommodate. Color, size (carat weight) and clarity are the biggest factors that determine an orange diamond's value.

Orange Diamond History

Fancy orange diamonds can be traced to Australia's Argyle mine and the mines of South Africa. Compared to more popular fancy colors such as yellow and pink, the history of orange diamonds has not been examined in depth. To date, natural orange diamonds continue to be an enigma that stuns and stumps en masse. Stephen C Hofer describes pure Fancy Vivid Orange as Pumpkin Orange.

Famous Orange Diamonds

One of the most famous orange diamonds is the Pumpkin Orange. The Pumpkin Orange is a 5.54 carat, Fancy Vivid Orange, cushion shaped diamond. The 11.00 carat, Brownish Orange colored rough was mined in South Africa in 1997, but the mine of origin is unknown. Its original owner was a farmer and it is therefore assumed to have been found in alluvial deposits.

The Orange, is another famous orange diamond recently set a world record for highest price paid per carat. This rare orange diamond weighs 14.82 carats. It was auctioned at Christie's on November 12, 2013 and fetched a record $35,540,612 (the highest amount paid for an orange diamond.) It set the record for "highest price paid per carat" at $2.4 million/carat.

Orange Diamond Buying Guide

A color diamond is generally rare when it exists as one color without any additional modifying colors. The only instance that color in natural fancy orange diamonds can experience even greater rarity and value than if such diamonds were to have just its primary color of orange is when the primary orange color is combined with equally, if not more, rare colors such as Red or Pink. A "Fancy Reddish Orange" of considerable saturation will therefore be a lot more rare and valuable than a color diamond that has only orange in a comparable saturation.

Because of the rarity of orange diamonds, collectors actively seek even enhanced orange diamonds.