Diamonds are the most well-known gemstones in the world, but Fancy Coloured Diamonds are 10,000 times rarer than Diamonds on the colourless spectrum. In colourless diamonds, the more colour they have (in this case Yellow or Brown), the lower the value, but it is the exact opposite on the Coloured Diamond grading scale.
History & Lore
Coloured Diamonds generally increase in value in accordance with its saturation. Fancy Yellow and Brown Diamonds are the most common colours for Coloured Diamonds. Lightly saturated Yellow and Brown Diamonds fall under the Colourless Diamond grading scale D-Z for colour grading.
The most expensive Coloured Diamond or any gemstone ever sold in history is the Pink Star Diamond, sold at USD$71.2 million in Sotheby's. This 59.6 cts Vivid Pink, Internally Flawless Pink Diamond is largest Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond ever graded by GIA. The most expensive coloured diamond sold by per carat is The Oppenheimer Blue Diamond, named in honour of its previous owner, Sir Philip Oppenheimer. This 14.62 Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond was auction off at USD$58 million in Christie's, that is close to USD$3.97 million per carat, it is also the most expensive gemstone by per carat ever sold in history.
Another very famous Diamond is probably what many of you will remember as a cursed stone, The Hope Diamond. Weighing at 45.52 cts, this Fancy Dark Greyish Blue Diamond is the biggest of its kind, it is currently on permanent display at National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
In our inventory, we currently hold many large sized Green Diamonds, and a variety of mid-sized pink and blue Diamonds around 0.5 carats to 1.00 carats.
Coloured Diamonds can be Grey, Violet, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, and Black. The colours can also contain secondary hues, but only in specific ranges, so example Yellowish-Green Diamonds exist, Bluish-Green Diamonds exist but not Yellowish-Blue Diamonds.
Fancy coloured diamonds are graded by GIA using nine grades:
2. Very Light
4. Fancy Light
6. Fancy Intense
7. Fancy Vivid
8. Fancy Deep
9. Fancy Dark
Described from lowest to highest in saturation levels, the rarest coloured diamond is a controversial topic that most would say Red. However, from our experience, Violet, Purple and Orange Diamonds without secondary hues are equally rare. We have seen a rare Fancy Deep Orange Diamond auctioned at China Guardian for a staggering USD$1.88 million, only for a 1.72ct stone. If comparing all at a pure colour without secondary hue, the most valuable colour would still be red, after which it becomes a debatable topic.
According to our views, it goes on to Violet, Blue, Purple, Orange, Pink, Green, Yellow, Grey, Brown, Fancy white and then fancy black. A red coloured Diamond without secondary hue can easily fetch prices of over USD$1 million per carat. Fancy White Diamonds are basically Diamonds that are white, which gives it a ‘milky’ appearance.
Of all Diamonds graded in the last decade, only 15,000 stones are Grey/Blue/Violet With pure violet only being 0.1% of the total stones, which means only 15 stones have been found in the last decade, this is still due to the Argyle mine still being in production. The biggest Violet Diamond ever found is the Argyle Violet, weighing 2.83 cts, is estimated to be worth about USD$4 million.
Green Diamonds are coloured through exposure through radiations, and it is almost impossible to determine between a naturally radiated green Diamond, or one that has been done artificially in a laboratory. Green Diamonds mostly have colours that only penetrates the outer layer of the diamond, which makes cutters try to save as much weight as possible to retain colour. Naturals (a type of inclusion) are sometimes left on the stone girdle for reason for easier identification, allowing it to be identified as natural Green Diamonds.
Green Diamonds generally are smaller in size, the most expensive Green Diamond ever sold is The Aurora Green, a stunning 5.03 cts Fancy Vivid Green Diamond, sold at USD$16.8 million. This price is one of the highest per carat prices ever reached for Coloured Diamonds, at about USD$3.34 million per carat.
Another thing to note is that not all Coloured Diamonds appear in every intensity graded by GIA. Orange Diamonds only exists in saturation of Fancy Light and above. Brown Diamonds is one of the most affordable Coloured Diamonds as they generally cost less than colourless Diamonds of the same size and clarity. Brown Diamonds were mostly considered to be only good for commercial use until after 1980s, when it is marketed by Australian companies as Champagne or Cognac Diamonds. It has been steadily gaining popularity since then.
Yellow Diamonds go for lower price than colourless Diamonds in lower saturations, but when the colour hits Fancy Intense or higher, generally the price of Yellow Diamonds exceeds those of colourless diamonds with all other qualities kept constant.
Colour Price Rules
Coloured Diamond can be affordable if you and your jeweller is familiar with pricings. For starters, fancy Coloured Diamonds are most expensive when they have no secondary colour. There is a separate price list of Diamonds with secondary colours, such as Orangy-Yellow etc. However, if the Diamond has tertiary colours, for example Greyish-Greenish-Blue, the price would be similar to the combination of the first and third colour, therefore in the price range of Greyish-Blue.
Also, as within a colour grade for example Fancy Intense Pink, a Diamond that has saturation levels closer to a Fancy Vivid can look very similar to a Fancy Vivid but is sold at a lower price. Hence, an experienced jeweller would be able to find a suitable stone at a suitable price with enough market knowledge and experience.
Coloured Diamonds are also graded by GIA on the same scale as Colourless Diamonds, in 11 clarity grades which refers to how free of inclusions and blemishes the Diamond is. The cleaner it is, the more valuable and rarer the Diamond will be. The clarity grades used are:
· FL (Flawless)
· IF (Internal Flawless)
· VVS1 (Very, very slightly included 1)
· VVS2 (Very, very slightly included 2)
· VS1 (Very slightly included 1)
· VS2 (Very slightly included 2)
· SI1 (Slightly Included 1)
· SI2 (Slightly Included 2)
· I1 (Included 1)
· I2 (Included 2)
· I3 (Included 3)
GIA grades based on the size, location, and relief of the inclusion. For example, a colourless crystal and a black crystal will have different impact on the clarity grade. Compared with Colourless Diamonds, Coloured Diamonds valuations are closer to coloured gemstones. Although clarity is still a very important factor, colour now has become the most important factor to look for in terms of valuation. Even Coloured Diamonds with low clarity but good colour holds considerable value.
Origin was not a matter of concern for Colourless Diamonds other than conflicted origins that produces Blood Diamonds. However, they are quite meaningful in Coloured Diamonds. Different mines produce different colours, and some mines are regarded as premium origins for certain Coloured Diamonds, such as Argyle mine for their Violet, Pink and Red Diamonds.
Another very interesting mine is the Zimmi mine, famous for producing Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamonds that are so saturated that some experts say it is almost double the level of saturation than normal Fancy Vivid Yellows. These Diamonds are always sold at a much higher price than normal Fancy Vivid Yellows, which might be hard to justify to someone not experienced with the Zimmi colours since GIA does not offer a grading of higher intensity level than Fancy Vivid.
There is a quite special range of Coloured Diamond called the Chameleon Diamond. A Chameleon Diamond is one with colour typically ranging from Greyish-Yellowish-Green to Greyish-Greenish-Yellow under normal conditions. Through heating to 150 degrees or exposing to light after prolonged storage in the dark, Chameleon Diamonds temporarily changes colour into an intense Brownish or Orangy-Yellow to Yellow colour. Chameleon Diamonds normally trades at affordable prices compared with other Coloured Diamonds.
Synthetic Coloured Diamonds are available in the trade as are irradiated Coloured Diamonds. Some jewellers also use settings to improve the colour of the stone by putting a foil behind the said Coloured Diamond of its colour, creating an illusion of a vivid coloured stone. We recommend getting certificates from only GIA, for Coloured Diamonds purchases.
Diamonds are the hardest gemstones in the world. With a Mohs scale rating of 10, Diamond jewellery of all settings are suitable for everyday wear. Diamonds can be cleaned most of the time in jewellery cleaning machines such as the ultra-sonic machine. Some Diamonds with low clarity and many fractures should not be cleaned with jewellery cleaning machines, they should only be cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft brush.