What are Fancy Colored Diamonds
Fancy Color, or "Fancies", are a name GIA gives to Diamonds that are Strong in Color and fall outside of the normal Color Range of Diamonds.
The normal Color Range of Diamonds is D-Z. Fancy Colors are beyond Z, they are Z+.
Diamonds normally sold on the market are in the "White", or "off-White" Color Ranges. Generally the stones you see in stores are in the D-M Color Grades.
Take a look at the GIA Color Grading Chart below to get a better grasp of normal Diamond Color...
Generally "White" is the preferred Color of choice, but most Diamonds aren't trully White, they have shades of Yellow or Browns in them.
Yellow and Browns
It's important to note that a lot of Diamonds in the Color Grades of M-Z will display some tones, or color of Yellow or Brown (Which are the most common natural colors of Diamonds). These M-Z Colors are NOT considered Fancy Colors even though they have some color.
Light Yellow Diamonds are often sold with cool names like "Yellow Cape" "Light Cape" or even "Dark Cape" Diamonds. These generic names make them sound neat and appear better, but they are just Yellow Diamonds of Poor Color.
Many light Brown Diamonds are also sold on the market under such names like "Chocolate" "Champagne", "Cognac" and the such. This makes them appealing as well. Much more than actually calling these low grade stones "Poor Color". But again, they are NOT true Fancy Colored Diamonds!
It's also important to note that a Diamond can be sold by the term of "Blue-White". This term would make one think that it was a Blue Diamond or a Fancy Colored Diamond. It's not! Blue-White is an old term used to describe Colorless Diamonds (D-E-F) with a Strong Blue Fluorescence to them. In the past, people were led to believe that these stones were better than other Colorless Diamonds, but the term became very confusing, missused, and conflicting.
That's why nowadays the FTC is very strict with the usage of the word Blue-White, and most Jewelry Stores today actually prohibit the very use of the term. These stones should not to be confused with a Fancy Blue Diamond, or a Colored Blue Diamond. It can only be used on a Diamond that is Colorless with a Strong Blue Fluorescence!
What Colors do Diamonds come in?
Diamonds can come in every color of the rainbow. The most popular shades are:
The most common of these Fancy Colored Diamonds are Browns and Yellows. They actually make up 60% of all the Fancy Colors out there. This is also why Browns and Yellows are the most affordable Fancy Colors on the market! :)
The Color in Diamonds is unlike any Color in any other Gemstone. This is because of Diamond's natural ability to Disperse Light. You put a Yellow Diamond up against a Yellow Topaz, and the Diamond will out shine the Topaz by a mile (see below). Plus, this light Dispersion also gives the Diamond Flashes of multi-colored light as well. A Pink Diamond could have Colored Flashes of Blue, Green, Yellows or even Purple in it. It makes Colored Diamonds truly unique!
What causes Color in Diamonds?
Many things cause Diamonds to obtain their Color.
Yellow Fancy Diamond are caused by trace elements of Nitrogen.
Blue Fancy Diamonds are caused by Boron, Hydrogen and even Nitrogen.
Green Fancies are caused by millions of years worth of Gamma Rays and Radiation (Sounds like something out of Superman).
Gray Diamonds are caused by Hydrogen.
Brown Fancies are caused by Internal Grain Lines and a Distortion in the Molecular Structure. (Yeah, that!)
White Fancy Diamonds (Truly Milky-White - shown above in the heart shape) are caused by Internal Inclusions that scatter light.
Pink and Red Diamonds are caused by Graining in the Diamond.
Black is caused by heavily Included Crystals or Inclusions.
These are all natural causes that were done millions and billions of years ago by exposure, radiation or even structural damage to the crystal. They all affect the color of the stone.
For a stone to be a "Fancy", it needs to have a noticeable depth in body color.
Keep in mind, if a Diamond shows any trace of body color (other than Yellow or Brown), it's considered a Fancy! Even if that hue is very, very light.
But for Yellow and Browns to be considered a Fancy, that hue needs to be at least a "Fancy Light" hue (Which is 3 Shades darker than any other Fancy Color).
How are Fancy Diamonds Graded?
Fancy Diamonds are NOT Graded like normal White Diamonds.
Fancy stones are primarily graded by only ONE of the 4 C's:
Color Rules in Fancy Colored Diamonds! (Read more in my: Fancy Colored Diamond's Top Priority is Color Post)
Color is all about the Diamond's Visual Appearance. How it looks in the face-up position (unlike regular Diamonds that are Color Graded face-down).
The more Color there is in a Diamond, the less important Clarity and Cut become.
You'll notice this when you view some Diamond Reports for Fancy Colored Diamonds and see that almost all of the normal Diamond info that you look for is blank... As so...
There's not much info on that GIA Report!
Color is Paramount!
Fancy Colors are graded solely by Color. Do note that the Shape of the stone also affects the Color of the Stone. Some Cuts help bring out the Color better, like Brilliant Cuts (Round), and Radiant Cuts, as seen here...
Other Cuts of stones like the Emerald Cut (which has very little Facets or Brilliance), have a harder time with darker colors and shows the Flaws in the stone much easier.
The same goes with elongated Cuts as well, like the Marquise Cut , Oval Cut, and the Pear Cut. These often get the Bow-Tie effect in the center of the stone, which is a darkening shadow that looks like a bow-tie. This Bow-Tie makes the Color of the stone different in the center than at the ends. It makes it inconsistent and almost distracting. Like so...
Fancy Diamond Color Grades
GIA grades Fancy Diamonds with 9 different Color Grades. They are, in order from the lightest to the darkest:
- Very Light
- Fancy Light
- Fancy (whatever the Color of the stone is - Pink, Blue, Green...)
- Fancy Intense
- Fancy Deep
- Fancy dark
- Fancy Vivid
Here's an idea of what the Color Range are from Faint to Vivid for Pink and Blue Diamonds...
Remember, for a Yellow or Brown Diamond to be called a Fancy, it can't be one of the top 3 light Grades (Faint, Very Light or Light). They need to be at least a Fancy Light or darker in hue.
Any of the other Colors of Diamond (Red, Pink, Orange, Green, Blue) can get the top 3 pale shades: Faint, Very Light or Light.
Color is Evaluated for:
There are 3 main things used to determine these 9 Grades of Color with. They are:
- The Purity of the Color
- The Depth of the Color
- The Distribution of the Color
Let's take a closer look at these...
The Purity of the Color
The Purity is the hue of the stone. It's how Pure the color is. Which means, is the body color ONE color, like Yellow, or is it an in between hue, like Yellow-Orange?
Pure Colors are more rare and cost much, much more. Most Diamonds don't have Pure Color though. Most are a mix of multiple colors like Pinkish-Purple, Greenish-Blue, Yellowish-Green...
The Purity of the Color is listed on the Diamond Report. It's listed under COLOR GRADE!
What ever the Color of the Diamond is, that's the Purity of that stone. So if it says Yellow, it's Pure. If it says Orange, it's Pure. But if it says Yellow-Orange, it's not Pure. It's a combo of hues!
Pure is one Color. Multiple Colors is not!
This Pure Color doesn't make one Diamond any less appealing or less beautiful than any other Color. It just makes that Diamond much more rare and expensive because of the presence of only one hue.
Take a peek at the difference between a Pure Yellow Diamond below, and an Orangy-Yellow Diamond...
The Depth of the Color
Depth of Color is how Light or Dense the Color appears.
Is the stone very light and transparent, or is it deep and thick with color?
The stronger the color, the more valuable the stone becomes (with the exception of Brown Diamonds).
A dense stone (with a rating of Fancy Vivid), is extremely rare to find and extremely expensive.
Take a peek at this beautiful, but small, Fancy Vivid Diamond... Notice the Price! (And this stone is not even 1/3 of a Carat!)
The most expensive Dense Colors are Red and Blue. Those are difficult to obtain or locate.
Depth of Color is also about the amount of White or Black in the Diamond as well. Since we all know that Shades and Hues can go from Pale to Dark, they can also shift from Whiteness to Blackness in the color spectrum.
If the stone gets too much Whiteness, or too much Blackness (which makes them more opaque and harder to see through), then the price of these Diamonds gets much lower, and sometimes very inexpensive (which is the case of Fancy Black Diamonds that are all the way in the Black Range).
The Distribution of the Color
Distribution is how evenly the color is across the stone. Is it darker in one spot than another? Is a section of the stone clear? Are there bands of deeper color running throughout the stone?
Distribution affects price. An "EVEN" Distribution is better and gives the Diamond a more appealing overall appearance. An "UNEVEN" Distribution is a Diamond that's inconsistent in shade and hue and will also be lower in price.
Compare the two Fancy Colored Diamonds below. One Baguette Diamond has an Even Distribution of Color, the other Diamond has an Uneven Distribution of Color. You'll notice that the uneven Diamond looks more like a watercolor painting with all the different blended shades.
Color Distribution is listed on the Diamond Report. It will say "Even" or "Uneven".
Fancy Color Diamond Reports
Not all Fancy Colored Diamonds are sold with an actual Diamond Report. But they should be!
A Diamond Report from a reputable company (like GIA or the actual Mine that produced the Diamond - Like the Argyle Mine) is important. You want to be 100% positive that the Fancy Diamond you're buying is truly a Fancy Diamond and not some Heat Treated Stone that just looks like a Fancy. The two types of Colored Diamonds could be THOUSANDS of dollars different! And some could be off by as much as $300,000.00 or more!
Diamond Reports don't list a lot of info when it comes to Fancy Diamonds. Since the most important aspect is COLOR, that's mainly what you'll find.
A Fancy Colored Diamond Report will list 4 main characteristics:
Sometimes they will also list CLARITY on the report, but this is usually only if the Clarity is quite high. Like VS or VVS, or Flawless! You'll sometimes also see Cut Grades, Polish and Symmetry listed. Like so...
Most Fancy Stones are NOT so lucky!
Most DO have eye-visible Flaws and Inclusions in them (Like I1, I2 and I3). These Imperfections give the Diamond personality, a way to identify the stone, and it also alerts you to the fact that the Diamond is REAL (not man-made).
Clarity gives the stone character, like bugs trapped in a chunk of Amber. It's Cool stuff! You'll see Air Bubbles, Lines, Feathers, Black Specks... all neat things that makes Fancy Colored Diamonds one of a kind! Take a peek at some cool Clarity Characteristics found in these Fancy Colored Stones...
Word of Caution!
Take Note of this Warning: GIA ONLY Grades True Fancy Colored Diamonds as Fancy Colored Diamonds!
What I mean by this is that it has to be a Real, Natural Diamond (with all the right Fancy Color Characteristics) to be called a Fancy. If the stone has been Heat Treated or Color Enhanced, it won't be a Fancy, and won't come with a Fancy Colored Diamond Report!
Here's an example of a GIA Diamond Report for a Fancy Stone...
Another type of Report that often comes with Fancy Colored Diamonds is an Authenticity Report or Certificate from the Mine. This helps identify the stone and the source that it came from. The origin!
Mines like the Argyle Mine usually issue reports with their Diamonds to verify the Origin and Color of the Diamond.
Here's an example of an Argyle Mine Report...
Do note that the Argyle Mine (located in Western Australia) produces 90% of all the Pink Diamonds in the world, as well as most of the Orange Diamonds as well.
Also note that a Pure Orange Diamond is the most rarest Diamond Color there is!
As rare as an Orange Diamond is, it's not the most expensive. Reds and Greens are the most expensive. This is because of their Dense Colors!
In fact, a .95 Carat Red Diamond (called the "Hancock"), sold for a whopping $880,000.00 recently. Almost a Million Dollars! WOW!
As crazy as that sounds, it doesn't compare to a Diamond sold in Hong Kong. A Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond, 6.04 Carats (HUGE Carat Weight) sold for a massive 7.9 MILLION DOLLARS!
Affordable, right? ;)
A more Famous Blue Diamond...
The Hope Diamond
The most Famous Fancy Diamond in the World is the Hope Diamond. This is a Grayish-Blue (not Pure) Diamond that is 45.52 Carats in weight (in it's rough state it was 110.50 Carats), it's a Cushion Cut stone (which is also a Fancy Cut) and is graded as a Fancy Deep stone with VS1 Clarity. That's a stunning stone!
One of the coolest things about the Hope Diamond is the fact that it glows RED in ultraviolet light. It has a Strong Red Fluorescence that makes the Hope Diamond spectacular. It's very worthy of Kings and Queens, and in history, it was certainly owned by many.
The Hope Diamond was not always called the Hope. It's name has changed throughout the years as ownership changed. Some former names were "French Blue Diamond" and "Blue Diamond of the Crown".
Henry Philip Hope renamed the Diamond to "Hope" in 1830, and it's held that name ever since.
Harry Winston purchases the Diamond for a cool 1.3 Million in 1947, and then donated the Diamond to the Smithsonian Institute in 1958 (located in Washington D.C.).
Here's a pic of the Hope Diamond as worn by Evalyn Walsh Mclean (former owner)...
Colored Diamond Fashion Trends
Colored Diamonds are all the rage in Jewelry Stores today (Every now and then you will see some real Fancy Colored Diamonds... Look for the word "FANCY"). Visit any store and you're sure to see Blue Diamonds, Brown Diamonds, Yellow Diamonds and Green Diamonds.
One thing to really note here is the fact that these are Colored Diamonds AND NOT TRUE FANCY COLORED DIAMONDS!
Remember, for a Diamond to be called "Fancy" it can't be Heat Treated or Color Enhanced! Only Mother Nature can do that!
It's also true that any Diamonds sold on the market that have been Heat Treated or Color Enhanced MUST be disclosed to the public. They must have it stated somewhere that the stones have been altered by man to intensify the color.
You'll often see this in Jewelry Catalogs if you read the fine print or disclaimer at the bottom of the page. It will say something like this...
If they don't tell you it's treated or enhanced, or it's not stated anywhere or said... it's FRAUD!
These stones should be called Colored Diamonds on an Appraisal as well. You shouldn't ever see the term Fancy unless it's a true Fancy!
The ONLY exception to this rule are Black Diamonds. Black Diamonds ARE Fancy Colored Diamonds. They are in the Black Spectrum and can be classified as a real Fancy Stone. These Diamonds have not been heat treated or enhanced. They are Black and are Fancies!
Take a peek at some Black Fancy Diamonds here...
Colored Diamonds, treated or not, are beautiful and stunning! I love them!
The designs and styles out today are vast and impressive.
Take a peek at some of the awesome rings available in Jeweler's Showcases...
Colored Diamonds vs Fancy Colored Diamonds
Let's face it, Colored Diamonds look just like Fancy Colored Diamonds, and sometimes even better... Because of their Color Distribution and Depth.
But the biggest advantage to buying Heat Treated Diamonds is one huge factor: PRICE!
The prices for Colored Diamonds are quite inexpensive when compared to a Genuine Natural Fancy Colored Diamond.
Compare a Pair of Blue Colored Diamond Earrings against a Loose Blue Fancy Colored Diamond below... Now that's a big difference in price! :P
Chocolate Diamonds are Natural
While I keep talking about Fancy Colors being "Natural", you have to remember that most Diamonds dug out of the earth come in various shades of Browns and Yellows. And a good portion of these Browns and Yellows are Natural in Hue (commonly graded M-Z on the Diamond Color Chart).
Even though these are the Natural Color of the stone (not enhanced), they are NOT Fancy Colored Diamonds. If you recall, a Brown or Yellow Diamond needs to be beyond the first 3 Grades to be a real Fancy Diamond (they can't be Faint, Very Light or Light).
If they do fall in these ranges, they are sold as just Colored Diamonds. Browns are more common and have been on the market for quite some time, they tend to look a little bit more appealing than a pale Yellow stone. Names for such Brown Diamonds are: Chocolate Diamonds, Coffee Diamonds, Cinnamon Diamonds, Champagne Diamonds, and Cognac Diamonds.
Great Names! They all sound Yummy!
These stones won't lose their Color or change Colors because their color is natural.
Other heat treated Diamonds CAN lose their color if subject to extensive heat. When they enhance Diamonds, the labs are putting them under heat of 800° - 1000° C. This changes an off-white or faint Yellow or faint Brown Diamond into a Bright Blue, Green or Intense Yellow Diamond. Applying Heat to an otherwise low color stone can make them valuable, beautiful, and markatable!
The HPHT Process
One of these modern Heat Treating Processes is called the HPHT Process (Became widespread on the market around 2000). HPHT stands for High Pressure, High Temperature Annealing (or Heating).
The results are great looking Colors.
But, and this is a big But...
These Colors may Fade!
Color Treated Stones may not be permanent. They may not last.
You have to be more careful with them and treat them different than a normal Diamond.
You have to keep them away from intense Heat or Harsh Chemicals!
The heat from a Jeweler's Torch can be enough to change your lovely Caribbean Blue Diamond into an ugly Gray or Yellow hue of stone. Not very pretty!
Even the extra hot liquid in an Ultrasonic Cleaner can be enough to Fade the Colors if left in too long.
Steam Cleaning is the same. It blows intense Hot Steam on the Gems and can alter the Color Enhancement of Green Diamonds, Blue Diamonds and Yellow Diamonds.
So clean these Colored Diamonds by hand with mild-soapy, warm water, and remind any Jeweler working on your rings (like getting your Prongs Retipped) that the stones are Treated or Enhanced Stones and to watch out for Torch Heat!
That is, if you want to keep your Color!
What should you look for in Fancy Diamonds?
Things to look for when purchasing a true Fancy Colored Diamond are:
- Reputable Diamond Report (GIA or from the actual Mine)
- The Origin is "Natural"
- The Color Distribution is "Even"
You could also look for "Pure" Colors (One Color, like "Pink") as well, but really, ALL colors of the rainbow are pretty, rich and beautiful. It's just a matter of taste!
Keep in mind, that any real Fancy Colors are really rare, no matter what hue or density.
Only 1 out of over 10,000 Diamonds mined today are Fancy Colors.
Also keep in mind that 1 stone is rare, and matching that stone with another similar colored stone for a Ring, or Earrings is difficult and adds to the price. This is true whether we're talking about Fancy Colored Diamonds or Colored Diamonds, as in the ring below...
Matching is tough and costly!
Keep it Legit!
Not all Fancy Colored Diamonds are Legit! Which is why I suggest ONLY buying Fancy Colors with a Diamond Report!
Some fraudulent places do tricks to the stones to make them appear more colorful. They do color changing tricks like: Applying Fingernail Polish to the bottom of the stone to make it look darker and Fancy. They also put Carbon Paper under the Prongs so it casts more Color into the stone. Some unscrupulous stores have added Ink Dots to the Girdle to improve Hue.
Only buy from a reputable Jeweler with a reputable Diamond Report! These Fancy Diamonds are just too expensive to learn a lesson the hard way!
Where to Buy Fancy Colored Diamonds?
There are not a lot of true Fancy Colored Diamond Dealers. And most of the Jewelry Stores only carry Colored Diamonds (not Fancies, even though you will find a few here and there).
Fancies are expensive and very rare, which means stocking them is costly and difficult!
One of the best sources online for Fancy Colored Diamonds is James Allen.
James Allen carries one of the biggest and most impressive lines of Fancy Colors that I have ever seen.
Take a peek at their website...
James Allen carries (at the time of this post) 225 Fancy Colored Diamonds in Cuts and Shapes of: Round, Princess, Emerald, Asscher, Oval, Radiant, Pear, Heart, Marquise, and Cushion Cuts.
They carry different Colors of Fancy Colors like: Yellows, Pinks, Blues, Greens, Oranges, and Browns.
They also stock Carat Weights between .13 Carats all the way up to 5.00 Carats! That's big!
Prices ranges for these true Fancy Colors are between $1.400 - $390,000.
Hope you brought your Wallet! :)
Take a look at some of the AWESOME Fancy Colored Diamonds they sell...
Do note that these are available while supplies last! Stones sell fast and new inventory is added daily!
Enjoy these Beautiful and Awesome Fancy Colored Diamonds!
0.64 Carat Fancy Purplish Pink Diamond $146,770
0.45 Carat Fancy Red Diamond $313,440
3.01 Carat Fancy Yellow Diamond $74,340
0.72 Carat Fancy Green Diamond $390,580
0.92 Carat Fancy Intense Purple Pink Diamond $231,250
0.96 Carat Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink Diamond $301,190
1.00 Carat Fancy Yellow Diamond $4,250
0.19 Carat Fancy Light Blue Diamond $10,780
3.37 Carat Fancy Deep Yellowish Green Diamond $132,200
0.53 Carat Fancy Intense Purplish Pink Diamond $110,080
0.90 Carat Fancy Yellow Diamond
0.73 Carat Fancy Intense Green Diamond $62,940
0.21 Carat Fancy Intense Pink Diamond $12,400
1.05 Carat Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond $14,120
0.52 Carat Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond $95,860
1.02 Carat Fancy Yellowish Green Diamond $3,710
0.20 Carat Fancy Blue Diamond $17,750
3.13 Carat Fancy Brown Diamond $20,120
2.00 Carat Fancy Yellow Diamond $15,200
2.32 Carat Fancy Deep Brown Diamond $22,580
0.53 Carat Fancy Intense Pink Diamond $57,540
0.63 Carat Fancy Green Diamond $63,710
3.05 Carat Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond $54,180
4.32 Carat Fancy Brownish Greenish Yellow Diamond $17,320
0.82 Carat Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink Diamond $218,590
0.17 Carat Fancy Intense Purplish Pink Diamond $4,320
0.32 Carat Fancy Brownish Green Diamond $7,490
0.46 Carat Fancy Deep Orangy Pink Diamond $45,020
1.13 Carat Fancy Intense Greenish Yellow Diamond $7,270
1.47 Carat Fancy Brownish Yellow Diamond $4,550
0.43 Carat Fancy Deep Yellowish Orange Diamond $1,230
0.29 Carat Fancy Intense Yellowish Green Diamond $1,280
0.40 Carat Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink Diamond $52,860
0.55 Carat Fancy Intense Greenish Yellow Diamond $4,980
0.31 Carat Fancy Intense Purplish Pink Diamond $23,420
0.52 Carat Fancy Intense Green Diamond $30,920
0.20 Carat Fancy Deep Pink Diamond $12,470
2.04 Carat Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond $172,390
0.52 Carat Fancy Yellow Diamond $1,970
0.45 Carat Fancy Red Diamond $313,440
0.38 Carat Fancy Intense Purplish Pink Diamond $40,270
1.50 Carat Fancy Brownish Orange Yellow Diamond
1.04 Ct Fancy Intense Yellowish Green Diamond $108,640
0.41 Carat Fancy Blue Diamond $38,340
1.07 Carat Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond $15,640
1.08 Carat Fancy Deep Brownish Yellow Diamond $3,140
0.26 Carat Fancy Intense Purplish Pink Diamond $15,050
1.28 Carat Fancy Yellow Diamond $3,140
0.21 Carat Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink Diamond $16,880
0.60 Carat Fancy Yellow Diamond $1,730
0.91 Carat Fancy Yellow Diamond
0.75 Carat Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond $4,560
0.56 Carat Fancy Intense Pink Diamond $52,110
0.51 Carat Fancy Deep Pink Diamond $55,370
Makes you want to own one, or two... :)
Color IS Paramount!
Fancy Colors RULE!
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