Fancy colored diamonds are unique gemstones that naturally exhibit intense hues, unlike traditional diamonds, which are valued for their absence of color.
These colors can range widely, including blue, green, yellow, pink, red, and even black.
The color in these diamonds is caused by the presence of certain impurities or structural defects. For example, nitrogen causes a yellow color, while boron creates blue diamonds.
The color intensity, ranging from faint to deep, greatly impacts the value of the diamond. Among these, red, blue, and pink diamonds are the rarest and most valuable due to their scarcity.
If you want more surprises, go and explore the whole collection of Fancy color diamonds on James Allen.
Welcome to the World of Fancy Color Diamonds!
A fancy color diamond refers to a diamond that either has a shade other than yellow (such as blue diamonds and pink diamonds) or a diamond with so much yellow that the yellow color overtakes the white color and has a deeper yellow than the lowest white diamond (Z color).
At this point a new color scale begins by measuring the intensity of the color present in the fancy diamond. Unlike in white diamonds that receive higher grades for lack of color, in fancy color diamonds the more color that is visible the higher the color grade, and the “better” (more expensive) the diamond is.
Different Colors, Different Prices: How Much Fancy Diamonds Cost?
As with white diamonds, the rarer the fancy color diamond the more expensive it is.
While in white/colorless diamonds you are on the lookout for cut and clarity – in colored diamonds it’s all about, well… Color!
You will often find diamond cuts that would never be used in white diamonds. The cuts of fancy-colored diamonds are specially designed to bring out the most color possible.
The color itself plays a big part in the diamond price. Pink and blue diamonds, which are extremely rare, in turn extremely expensive. For example a 1 carat fancy light ping VS2 pear shape diamond can run about $50k.
Compare that to around $5k for a traditional white diamond of the same size, shape, color and clarity.
On the other hand, Fancy Yellow or Canary Yellow diamonds are much more affordable and are often a great way to buy a Fancy Color Diamond without spending a fortune.
It is common to find fancy light yellow diamonds that are priced in the same range as a J color white diamond. Of course, as the color (even in a yellow diamond) becomes more intense the price goes up.
GIA Grading of Fancy Color Diamonds
Unlike the D-Z color grading scale used for white diamonds, which is based on the absence of color, the grading of fancy colored diamonds is based on the presence of color.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades fancy color diamonds based on three main attributes: Hue, Tone, and Saturation.
Hue: This is the dominant color of the diamond. The GIA recognizes 27 hues for fancy colored diamonds, including red, blue, green, yellow, orange, and many more.
Tone: This refers to how light or dark the color of the diamond appears. It ranges from very light to very dark.
Saturation: This describes the strength of the color. Saturation can range from dull to strong, and up to vivid, the most intense level of color saturation.
The combination of these three factors is used to determine the final color grade of a fancy colored diamond.
Fancy Color Diamonds Chart
There is no “official” chart for fancy color diamonds, since colors are almost infinite, you can find mix of brown & orange, blue & pink, and a lot of variations between this and that.
That being said, there are specific set of grades/chart that groups each color into 6 different grades, ranging from Fancy Light to Fancy Dark, grouped with 10 common colors that are available in the market (some are much rarer than others, like Black & Gray).
Here is a reference we created for Fancy Color Diamonds chart:
Color Treatment/Enhancement in Fancy Color Diamonds
Similar to what we saw & discussed in our color & clarity treatment guide, this applies as well to fancy color diamonds.
There are several enhancements that can occur to diamonds to make their colors look better, the common methods are:
High-Temperature Annealing: This process involves exposing a diamond to high temperatures and pressures to alter its color. It can either intensify a faint natural color or induce a different color altogether.
Irradiation: This process uses high-energy particles or radiation to alter a diamond’s crystal lattice and thus change its color. It can create colors that are rare in nature, like blue or green.
HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature): Originally developed to convert less desirable brown diamonds into colorless ones, this process can also transform some diamonds into fancy colors, like blue or yellow.
Coating: This involves applying a thin layer of coloring substance to the diamond surface to modify its color.
Laser Drilling and Fracture Filling: These are mainly used to enhance clarity but can sometimes impact color, especially if a colored substance is used to fill the fractures.
It’s important to note that color treatments should be clearly disclosed to buyers, as treated diamonds are generally less valuable than those with natural colors.
How to Tell if Fancy Color Diamond is Treated?
First, only buy from a reputable jeweler! There are many ways that an unscrupulous jeweler will try and take advantage of you.
Second thing, always check the diamond certificate, it should indicate if diamond has been treated.
One of the most common tricks used is trying to sell a lab treated color diamond as a natural one. The cost of lab treated color diamonds is significantly lower than natural colored diamonds. Not only is the color in these diamonds is not “real”, but also in most cases, the diamonds used to create lab created color diamonds are poor quality to start with.
The best way to avoid getting ripped off is to buy from a reputable jeweler (have we said that enough times yet??)
Where to Buy Fancy Color Diamonds
So by now, after reading so many of our guides, you must realize we are big fans of buying online. The cost savings vs. buying from brick and mortar can easily reach 15%-20% and the same holds true for colored diamonds.
I can recommend two online websites:
Where do you expect to find 6k+ fancy color diamonds in a single store? Yes that’s right, James Allen as of writing this has 6655 fancy color diamonds (natural & lab-created) that you can browse in high quality 360 degrees images.
In the tail of JA, Blue Nile has around 3k fancy color diamonds as of writing this (all natural), Blue Nile offers great customer experience, all GIA-certified diamonds, and peace of mind when shopping from their store.
Fancy Color Diamonds Summary
Fancy colored diamonds are unique gemstones with naturally intense colors. Their color arises from impurities or structural defects and color intensity impacts their value.
GIA grades these diamonds based on hue, tone, and saturation. Fancy colored diamonds are often more expensive than traditional white diamonds.
For instance, a pink or blue diamond might cost around $50k for 1 carat, while a white diamond of similar specifications might cost around $5k. However, some fancy colored diamonds like yellow or canary yellow are more affordable.
Fancy colored diamonds may undergo treatments to enhance their colors, which should be clearly disclosed. It’s advisable to purchase from reputable jewelers to avoid fraud.