Following on from our recent Guide to the 4Cs post, we're going to take a dive into the beautiful world of fancy color diamonds. Diamonds are usually thought of as the crystal clear, white sparkling gemstone so closely associated with love and commitment. But diamonds occur naturally in an entire rainbow of colors. Before we get into that, let's differentiate between the concept of diamond 'color', and fancy colored diamonds.
Diamond Color Vs. Fancy Colors
Diamond 'Color' is one of the 4Cs that grades a diamond's rarity and value. But when talking about Color grading (with a big C), we're not referring to colors, such as pink, blue or green. Diamond Color, as part of the 4Cs, is only used in relation to white (or clear) diamonds. And it actually refers to an absence of color. How's so?
During the natural formation process of white diamonds, various aspects of the diamond's structural makeup can affect its hue. Pure, colorless diamonds are very rare. These diamonds have no tinge, just like crystal clear water, and they rate the highest on the Color scale. They are also extremely expensive.
Moving down the Color grading scale from D to Z, diamonds range from colorless, to a very faint yellow tinge, to a dark yellow tinge, which is considered a low quality Color grading. You can see the differences in this image of the Color grading scale.
That's a quick summation of Color grading of white diamonds. Fancy color diamonds are a different ball game, all together.
What Are Fancy Color Diamonds?
Fancy color diamonds are diamonds that have a naturally occurring color. Fancy diamonds come in the whole color spectrum, from blue to pink, red to yellow, green to black. Check out the color wheel here to see the amazing range of fancy colors.
Some colored diamonds are extremely rare, such as blue, pink and red. Others, such as brown and yellow are more common.
Fancy color diamonds are categorized by the tone and saturation of their color. Tone refers to the darker/lighter character of the hue, whereas saturation denotes the strength of the hue. There are 7 standard categories used to define fancy color:
- Fancy Light
- Fancy Intense
- Fancy Vivid
- Fancy Deep
- Fancy Dark
Vivid and deep hues tend to be rare and more expensive. However, it depends upon the specific fancy color. Some colors do not occur naturally at certain tones or saturations.
Fancy Blue Diamond Sets Record
Fancy color diamonds have increased in popularity in recent years. Due to the incredible rarity of some fancy color diamonds, they often come with extremely high price tags. In fact, a 3.5ct blue diamond recently set a world record as the most expensive blue diamond per carat every sold. The price? $6.7 million, or $1.9 million per carat.
Fancy Pink – The Rare Beauty
Fancy pink diamonds are extremely rare and highly desirable. In fact, only 0.02% of diamonds submitted annually to GIA for testing are pink. In 2017, the 59.6 carat Internally Flawless, Fancy Vivid Pink 'Pink Star' diamond was sold for $71.2 million, making it the most expensive gemstone ever sold. It even broke the previous world record set by the Oppenheimer Blue diamond, which sold for $57.5 million the year before at Christie's auction house in Geneva, Switzerland. When it comes to fancy color diamonds, it's truly the battle of the blues and pinks.
Understanding the Fancy Color Price Spectrum
According to industry experts, the white diamond market is fairly saturated, and as a result, has opened up to the lower ends of the markets. This led to increased demand for and excitement surrounding fancy color diamonds, which are – after all – much rarer, more mysterious and special. In addition, grading factors for fancy colors diamonds are less defined, which only adds to the mystique surrounding them. Blue and pink diamonds are so rare and valuable, they are consistently performing strongly and are recommended as investment diamonds. At the other end of the spectrum, there are the more common fancy colors, such as brown, champagne and black, which have traditionally been used only for industrial purposes. However, savvy marketing techniques (chocolate anyone?) are leveraged to repackage even the commonest fancy color diamonds as something special – while also being affordable.
Fancy Color Diamonds - The Bottom Line
Let's do a quick review of what we've learned about fancy color diamonds:
- Don't mistake Color grading for fancy diamond colors.
- Fancy yellow is a desirable and popular fancy color diamond - yet a white diamond graded as yellow color is considered low quality.
- Diamonds come in a full rainbow of diamonds - naturally.
- Some fancy colors are extremely rare and valuable, such as blues and pinks.
- Other fancy colors, such as brown and champagne, are common and inexpensive. Yet marketed correctly, they can do well in retail as a more affordable fancy color option.
- Due to the proliferation of white diamonds across the market, fancy color diamonds are rarer and hold a certain mystique that keeps their prices high.
- Fancy color diamonds can give retailers a much larger profit margin than white diamonds.