Diamonds are the world’s most popular and valuable gemstone. Diamonds can be worth hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars. But what makes a diamond valuable?
One factor to consider is color. While most diamonds are clear, others have stunning, breathtaking colors. A diamond’s color can play a huge role in determining its value.
But which color diamond is the most valuable? Keep reading to learn the answer.
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What Gives a Diamond Value?
A diamond’s value depends on many factors, not just color. At Samuelson’s Buyers, when we evaluate a diamond, we also look at its carat weight, clarity, and cut. Together with color, these are known as the 4 C’s of Diamonds and each influences a diamond’s value.
Color alone doesn’t make a diamond valuable. But that said, all other things being equal, certain colors of diamonds are more valuable than others.
Why Are Some Diamonds Different Colors?
The classic diamond, the image that springs to mind when we think of a diamond is usually a perfectly colorless (also known as a white diamond) gemstone. In reality, you can find diamonds in an incredible variety of colors, from perfectly clear to almost fully black, with every color of the rainbow in between.
Where do these colors come from?
It’s actually microscopic amounts of chemical impurities that give diamonds their color. Different mines around the world may produce more colored diamonds, simply because of the makeup of the rocks and soil nearby. Structural defects in a diamond can also make light reflect in a certain way that makes diamonds look a certain color.
How Rare are Colored Diamonds?
The vast majority of diamonds mined throughout the world are considered colorless– even if they contain a bit of yellow color. Only 1 out of every 10,000 carats mined are considered to be colored (also known as fancy) diamonds.
To put that in perspective, 1 carat is about the weight of one coffee bean and 10,000 carats is about 5lbs.– the size of a small chihuahua.
In other words, colored diamonds are very rare! But it isn’t just the rarity of colored diamonds that makes them valuable. The color itself plays a huge factor in what a diamond is worth. Let’s look at a few of the most popular and valuable colored diamonds.
Popular Diamond Colors
Yellow diamonds are the most common colored diamonds. Yellow diamonds are formed when traces of nitrogen are present in a diamond. A concentration of as little as 0.10% nitrogen is enough to turn a colorless diamond yellow! The color of a yellow diamond can vary from a dusky brown and yellow color to an intense vibrant yellow.
Generally speaking, brighter yellows are more desirable and more valuable than darker, more brown shades of yellow. The most sought after yellow diamonds are known as canary diamonds and are named for the songbird of the same color.
Overall, yellow diamonds (especially those that aren’t bright yellow) can actually be quite affordable and are the least expensive colored diamond.
Any guesses what the blue diamond above is worth? We’ll talk more about it in a bit.
When traces of the element boron are present in a diamond, it will appear blue. Depending on the concentration of boron, a diamond may look to be light blue, brilliant sky blue, dark blue, or a variety of blue-green shades.
One of the most famous diamonds of all time, the Hope Diamond is a blue diamond. It’s considered to be one of the most valuable diamonds in the world, with an estimated value of around $300 million dollars. However, most of the value comes from the fact that it’s a famous diamond with a storied history, not necessarily from the fact that it’s blue in color.
Red & Pink Diamonds
Red and pink diamonds are the rarest of any colored diamond. They’re only found in mines in Africa, Australia, and Brazil. Unlike some other colored diamonds, it’s a quirk in the diamond’s structure that makes them appear red, not the presence of a chemical impurity!
They’re so rare that only 20 or 30 truly red diamonds have ever been discovered! And most are incredibly valuable! The largest red diamond in the world is the Moussaieff Red Diamond. It was discovered in Brazil and a weight of a bit over 5 carats. It was most recently sold in 2001 for nearly $10 million!
In 2013, an orange diamond sold for $35.5 million dollars, a record at the time! That orange diamond was the biggest in the world, at 14.82 carats. It was described as a “miracle of nature” and is nearly 3 times bigger than any other known orange diamond!
Just like yellow diamonds, orange diamonds get their color from nitrogen. However, in order to produce an orange color, the atoms must be aligned in a very precise and unusual way– making them incredibly rare. In fact, only mines in Australia and Africa have ever produced an orange diamond.
A New World’s Record
Recently, a the blue diamond you saw earlier in this article was sold for $48.4 million dollars, a new record for the most expensive diamond ever sold. What makes the sale especially notable is that the Blue Moon diamond, as it’s known, weighs 12 carats, meaning that it sold for over $4 million dollars per carat.
An average 1-carat diamond, by comparison will sell for between $3,000 & $25,000. In 2010, a “perfect” 100-carat colorless diamond sold for a relatively “low” $22 million!
The Blue Moon was bought by a billionaire as a gift for his daughter!
A Diamond’s True Value
A diamond’s sale price isn’t necessarily the best way to determine its true value– especially because the value of diamonds can change over time. One example is the increase in popularity (and price) of pink diamonds after Victoria Beckham’s engagement ring included a $2 million pink diamond.
A diamond’s true value is how much it is worth to its owner. Can you really put a price on the sentimental value of the diamond in your engagement ring? And because a wealthy tycoon buys a blue diamond for $50 million dollars does that make blue diamonds more valuable than red diamonds?
It’s like comparing apples and oranges– or like comparing red diamonds to orange diamonds.
Do you have a favorite color diamond? Let me know in the comments below!
Photo Credits: Fancy Diamonds on Flickr
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