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A Guide to Fancy Colored Diamonds

When you think about jewelry from a layman’s perspective, some of the first words that come to mind are ‘gold’, ‘gem’ and more commonly, diamonds. Diamonds are precious gemstones that ranks number one as part of the ‘big four’, the four precious gemstones that make up a vast majority of the world’s fine jewelry, including rubies, sapphires and emeralds.

Due to the amount of time and effort it takes to mine,cut and form a diamond and then set it into jewelry, combined with its significance due being marketed by big names, diamonds are considered highly valuable and a solid investment. But what sets apart colored or fancy colored diamonds from their colorless counterparts? In this blog you’ll learn what makes fancy colored diamonds special.

How are Fancy Colored Diamonds Formed?

Fancy Colored Diamonds
Fancy colored diamonds get their color primarily due to the presence of certain trace elements.

As mentioned earlier, fancy colored diamonds are different from their colorless counterparts. While colorless diamonds remain a staple jewelry element, fancy colored diamonds have gained popularity over the decades as a result of new cutting techniques as well as marketing. Unlike colorless diamonds that are formed as a result of high levels of heat and pressure within the Earth’s crust that cause carbon atoms to crystallise, fancy colored diamonds have an additional step or element added which causes a change in the diamond color

Fancy colored diamonds are formed with the addition of a trace element such as boron, sulphur and nitrogen that lead them to become blue, green and yellow diamonds. However, there are some exceptions. Pink diamonds are instead colored due to a distortion in their crystal lattice. Natural green diamonds are formed due to radiation, similarly black diamonds get their color due to graphite inclusions and clusters. 

How are Fancy Colored Diamonds Valued?

Colored Diamonds Rarity
The most common diamond colors include yellow and brown, while the rarest diamond color is red.

Colorless diamonds and fancy colored diamonds are graded according to the same factors which are the 4C’s, their color, cut, clarity and carat weight. However, when it comes to color, the grading factor is reversed. While colorless diamonds are judged by their ability to be near to complete transparency and free of any hint of color or a yellow or brown tint, fancy colored diamonds are judged according to the different intensities of color ranging from very light, light and moving towards intense color.

While colorless diamonds, especially those ranging from the color grades D,E and F are preferred with a high clarity with a minimum of a VS2 clarity, sometimes a fancy colored diamond’s worth is not as dependent on clarity as it is on the intensity and even distribution of color. This is because an intense color is able to mask internal inclusions much better than lighter colored fancy diamonds that may have inclusions. Of course, this also depends on the rarity of each color.

Some fancy colored diamonds are rarer than others. The most common fancy diamond colors are yellow and brown, followed by orange, green, pink and blue diamonds in that order and finally, the rarest of them all, red diamonds. Pink and blue diamonds are usually considered to be tied, however pink diamonds occur more frequently compared to blue diamonds. Pure red diamonds are the rarest diamonds in the world. In fact, they aren’t even pure red most of the time.They tend to have either a purplish or brown tinge to them or are really dark, saturated pink to be considered as fancy red diamonds. Some diamonds are rare due to being limited to one or more areas, such as pink diamonds from the Argyle mines in Western Australia, or black diamonds that are mined from only two locations, one in Brazil and the other in Africa.

Some varieties of fancy colored diamonds are set apart not based on the usual grading factors, but rather as part of a niche market which has come about due to people having a particular taste. These include milky and salt and pepper diamonds which are actually heavily included diamonds. Milky white diamonds are formed due to cloud-like inclusions that are basically clusters of multiple small sized inclusions which gives them an almost opalescent effect. Salt and pepper diamonds are predominantly grey diamonds which contain carbon inclusions which are scattered within it, giving them a peppered effect. So while other fancy colored diamonds are still graded according to clarity, these diamonds usually don’t even require grading, which adds to their lower price points.

Fancy Colored Diamonds-Conclusion

If you’re considering investing in a fancy colored diamond, all of the aforementioned factors come into play. Of course some choices are influenced by celebrity choices, such as yellow or pink diamonds being a more popular choice over other fancy colored diamonds, which is also the result of marketing by several brands. Either way, it is important that whichever variant of fancy colored diamonds you are choosing is graded by a well-known diamond laboratory such as the Gemological Institute of America as well as sold by a reliable dealer or company.

All in all, both colorless and fancy colored diamonds are an asset to the jewelry industry all over the globe. We stock both colorless diamonds and fancy colored diamonds with graded reports from GIA as part of our loose diamonds catalogue. We also offer customised services where you can pick a diamond of your liking and have us create personalized jewelry according to your requirements. For more details visit