The classic diamond that comes to mind when we think of a diamond is one that is perfectly colorless. The truth is you can find colored diamonds of all varieties, from perfectly clear to nearly black, with every color of the rainbow in between. Colored – also known as fancy – diamonds can be used to make a statement or to give a piece of jewelry some added flair. And unlike white or clear (colorless) diamonds, the higher the saturation, the more valuable the diamond is.
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. Because it’s so common to find yellow in clear diamonds, yellow and brown diamonds make up the majority of colored diamonds. In fact, the GIA diamond color scale that most are familiar with scales from clear diamonds to light yellow diamonds, though these diamonds are typically still considered colorless.
Naturally colored diamonds are often lighter in tone or saturation. Typically, for every 10,000 carats mined, only one will be a true colored diamond. Finding a naturally occurring colored diamond with medium to dark tones are even rarer – which is what makes colored diamonds more expensive!
Do Colored Diamonds Occur Naturally?
Lab created diamonds and naturally occurring diamonds can come in all colors, but natural colored diamonds are much rarer. The best known sources of natural fancy diamonds have been in India, South Africa, and Australia. However, they have also been found in Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana, and Indonesia. Different mines around the world may produce different colored diamonds, due to the makeup of the rocks and soil nearby.
Fun fact: the composition of the earth nearby plays a role in contributing to the chemical impurities that are often responsible for creating colored diamonds!
What Are the Most Popular Colors for Fancy Diamonds?
Yellow & Brown Diamonds
Yellow diamonds are the most common colored diamonds. The color of a true yellow diamond can vary from dusky brown to an intense vibrant yellow. The most sought after yellow diamonds are known as canary diamonds, due to their bright hue like the bird that shares its name. The brighter yellows can often command a higher value than duskier shades of yellow. Yellow diamonds are formed when traces of nitrogen are present in a diamond and can contain as little as .10% nitrogen to display a memorable hue!
Blue diamonds are more rare than yellow and orange diamonds, but not as rare as some of the other colors. A blue diamond owes its color to boron impurities and its shade to either hydrogen or radiation exposure. Green-blue diamonds are due to radiation, while hydrogen creates gray-violet or gray-blue diamonds. One of the most famous blue diamonds of all time is the Hope Diamond, with an estimated value of around $300 million. However, most of the value comes from the fact that it’s a famous diamond with a storied history!
While red diamonds refer to colored diamonds that are extremely saturated, pink diamonds refer to every variation of saturation in between clear and red diamonds. This makes them one of the more common diamond colors, because there are so many different types of hues. These variations range from orangey pink to purplish pink, while true pink diamonds can range from fancy light to fancy vivid.
Just like any stone, the rarer it is and the larger it is, the higher a price it can command. That’s why larger colored diamonds like the Pink Star Diamond can sell for so much.
Naturally sourced red diamonds are the rarest of any colored diamond. As of right now, gemologists have not yet discovered what causes red colored diamonds, and their best guess is that there is a defect in the atomic structure that is responsible. Red diamonds are so rare that only 20 or 30 truly red diamonds have ever been discovered!
Just like yellow diamonds, orange diamonds get their color from nitrogen. However, the atoms must be aligned in a specific way to produce an orange diamond, which makes them incredibly rare. In fact, only mines in Australia and Africa have ever produced an orange diamond to date!
Green diamonds are so rare that most experts will examine them meticulously to make sure they’re genuinely from the earth, and not a lab created diamond! Most green diamonds get their color from natural radiation in the rocks around it. Usually, only the outside or surface area of the diamond is green with the color rarely making it to the center of the diamond, so it usually isn’t a truly colored diamond. If you’re lucky enough to have a natural green diamond, be careful when you get it polished so you don’t risk losing the color!
Have questions about buying or selling colored diamonds?
If you’re interested in buying or selling diamonds, look no further than Samuelson’s. We have 100 years of buying and selling gems behind us – and we make sure they all are of guaranteed origin.
If you are located in the DMV area and are looking for a diamond buyer near you, we have convenient locations throughout Maryland and Virginia. Additionally, we offer no obligation estimates when you sell online or in store. Call us today or contact us online to request an appointment with one of our certified experts today.
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