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Fancy Color Diamonds Guide
Diamonds are valued according to cut, clarity, carat wight and color. There is a great misconception that fancy color diamonds are more rare and therefore more valuable than white diamonds when in reality the opposite is true.
Diamonds that are totally clear, have no color and no occlusions or flaws are the rarest of all diamonds and therefore have greater value. But this does not mean that colored diamonds are not popular among consumers who are more interested in the aesthetic beauty of these precious gems than with the actual value.
However, if you are planning on buying fancy color diamonds, there are a few factors that you should keep in mind to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money:
1. Diamond Grading
Colored diamonds are graded alphabetically from D to Z and placed within the following categories:
- D, E, F are colorless and therefore have the highest value.
- G through J are near colorless meaning that the color differential can be difficult to detect with the human eye.
- K, L, M diamonds have a faint color.
- N through R have a very light color.
- S through Z have a light color making them the least valuable but the most popular choice for those looking for colored diamonds.
However, fancy color diamonds do not feature on this GIA grading scale as they often have a higher color gradient than a Z diamond. In other words, they have a darker color than a Z colored diamond. The current GIA grading system includes:
- Fancy Light
- Fancy Intense
- Fancy Vivid
- Fancy Dark
- Fancy Deep
These grades speak to the color saturation of the diamond. The greater the saturation the more intense the color of the stone. However, the grading does not necessarily affect the value.
So does this mean that a fancy color diamond is less valuable than those that do feature on the GIA grading scale? The answer to this question should be yes but depending on the popularity, scarcity and saturation, these diamonds can go for any price.
2. Diamond Cut, Clarity & Carat
However, the cut, clarity and carat weight of the diamond must still be taken into account when calculating the value. Cut is one of the most important factors affecting diamond value. The cut is designed to bring out the brilliance and radiance of a diamond. The incorrect cut or a less popular diamond shape can reduce the value of the stone.
With fancy color diamonds, the cut should not only affect the radiance but should also bring out the color in the diamond. It takes a master jeweler to recognize the best cut to highlight the color as well as the brilliance of a colored diamond.
Clarity refers to any flaws or occlusions that are on the surface or interior of the diamond. The more flawed the diamond, the less valuable it will be. As mentioned above, diamonds that are entirely clear have greater radiance and are therefore the most expensive. Colored diamonds with greater clarity will therefore be more expensive.
Fancy colors for diamonds are normally in the range of yellow to brown. Pink diamonds are also available but the color grade rarely reaches that of a Z classification and as a result cannot be classed as a fancy diamond. The hue or darkness of the color may not affect the value as it is largely up to personal preference.
However, the rarity does play a role in determining the value of a fancy diamond. Blue, green an pink diamonds are the rarest in that order and therefore have a much higher value than yellow or brown diamonds that are much more common. Red spectrum diamonds are the rarest. Other colors may include purple and grey.
It is important to note that the color differentials in diamonds are largely due to impurities that are found in the stone. For example, blue diamonds have boron impurities which results in the blue color. Color is therefore generally considered to be a discoloration in the diamond industry other than in the fancy diamond trade.
When looking for a fancy diamond of value, it is important to keep all of the above mentioned factors in mind.