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A Tour Through the World of Fancy Color Diamonds

Fancy Color Diamond Terminology


Start the Tour

The diamond pros at AMGAD specialize in natural fancy color diamonds and other fine gemstones. I'm so excited that they said yes when I asked them to participate in this tutorial about colored diamonds.

Visit every page if you want to learn pricing details, read facts about the Four C's for color diamonds, find out all about popular pink diamonds, and view photos that will make you decide to add a fancy color diamond to your wish list.

Let's get started.

What colors do fancy color diamonds exist in?

AMGAD: Natural colored diamonds come in all shades, hues and colors of the rainbow, with some of the most popular colors being shades and combinations of pink, blue, brown, yellow, orange, green and red.

They are generally smaller than other diamonds and are used primarily in fashion jewelry. Yellow is the most commonly-occurring fancy color, while red, blue and green diamonds are extremely rare. 

How can we interpret color names for fancy color diamonds?

AMGAD: The predominant hue is always expressed as a noun, such as "pink." Any secondary colors will precede the primary hue and are usually expressed with an "ish" at the end, such as purplish pink. This means that the primary hue is pink with some hints of purple throughout.

If the grade is stated as two nouns--like "brown pink," it means that the two colors are virtually even throughout the stone.

Fancy Color Four C's

The price of fancy color diamonds depends in part on the Four C's--color, cut, clarity and carat weight--but the factors used to judge those qualities differ somewhat from the Four C's of colorless diamonds.

How are colors graded?

AMGAD: Fancy colors are graded in two ways. The first factor is the basic hue, such as pink, yellow, blue, green, etc. The second is the intensity. Both color characteristics form the basis for determining a fancy colored diamond's worth.

Usually, the more intense the color, the rarer and more expensive the diamond will be. For example, a fancy light pink diamond costs less than a fancy vivid pink diamond of equal size, shape and clarity.

Is there a scale of color saturation that we can refer to?

AMGAD: The GIA uses nine categories for color grades.

 

  1. Faint
  2. Very Light
  3. Light
  4. Fancy Light
  5. Fancy
  6. Fancy Dark
  7. Fancy Intense
  8. Fancy Deep
  9. Fancy Vivid

What about undertones? How do they fit in?

AMGAD: A secondary undertone that enhances the color of a stone is a plus, a secondary that detracts is a negative.

For instance,
  • a purplish pink diamond can be worth more than a pink diamond, depending on the amount and intensity of purple

     

  • a brownish tint in a pink diamond usually decreases its value (but is a more affordable gemstone)

Fancy Color Diamond Cut & Shape

Are cutting considerations different for fancy color diamonds?

AMGAD: Like other diamonds, fancy colored diamonds achieve maximum brilliance when cut to the most ideal and accurate proportions. A good cut gives a fancy diamond its sparkle and helps to bring out the most intense color possible.

When cutting color diamonds, the cutter usually considers its inclusions, which can enhance the diamond's color. Facets and angles also give color to a diamond, so the cutter must think about what shape would bring out the gemstone's best color.

What shapes are most popular for color diamonds?

AMGAD: Round/brilliant, oval, princess and radiant shapes are in high demand. You'll also see color diamonds cut into fancy shapes such as hearts, trapezoids, asschers and others.

The scarcity of the fancy cuts helps those diamonds command a premium price.

re pink diamonds difficult to find?

AMGAD: Yes-natural fancy pink diamonds are rare, and account for only a fraction of one percent of the Argyle Diamond Mine's entire production of pink diamonds. Pink diamonds mined in India, Brazil and Africa are usually lighter in color than the intensely pink Argyle diamonds.

So there are many shades of pink diamonds. How are they classified?

AMGAD: Pink diamonds are primarily divided into five color categories:
  • Pink
  • Purplish pink
  • Brownish pink
  • Orangey pink
  • Pink champagne

The richness of the pink diamond color is categorized by GIAís nine-tiered color intensity rating system.

Of the pinks, which ones are most difficult to find?

AMGAD: Pink diamonds with no secondary coloring are the rarest and most expensive of all pink diamonds.

This color of pink diamond ranges from a faint pink, resembling a white diamond with just a slight pink hue, to very sweet colored fancy pink, to an vivid pink, also referred to as a "raspberry pink," and finally a deep, almost reddish pink. The closer to red a pink diamondís coloration is, the more rare it is and thus the more expensive. 

What's a desirable clarity for a pink diamond?

AMGAD: Most available pink diamonds will be I1-SI clarity, but VS, VVS and internally flawless pink diamonds are available from some wholesalers and usually command a premium price.

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