Fancy Colored Diamonds: What Are They, & Why Are They More Expansive

Sharif Khan
Sharif Khan
Last Updated    EST 

Diamonds are a relic of time and nature's incredible power, appreciated and revered for millennia. Every diamond has its unique history of tenacity and determination, shaped by the geological forces that formed it and the human hands that cut, polished, and set it into beautiful jewelry pieces.

Diamonds have long been integral to human expressions of love, devotion, and celebration. They are adorned in simple solitaire engagement rings and ornate patterns of extravagant necklaces. They come in various colors, from light to dark hues, each enabling a stir of style and elegance.

From their position of relative obscurity a few years in the past, fancy-colored diamonds have been steadily rising in popularity and value. Even though most people do not know them by the appellation "fancy colored diamonds" and refer to them primarily by their color ("pink diamond," "blue diamond), a Google search of the term will show millions of results. People are talking about fancy colored diamonds, and for a good reason.

Search and buy exceptional fancy colored diamonds at our top-rated jeweler.

Fancy Colored vs. White Diamonds

Fancy colored diamonds cut across a wide variety of colors, from the blue and pink celebrity favorites to various hues of yellow, orange, lemon purple, and many others. The rarest colors are blue, pink, pure orange, green, and red, with yellow (various hues all called canary diamonds), brown (chocolate, cognac, and champagne), and black and grey occurring somewhat more often. Despite this, each fancy-colored diamond is unique, with a color combination that is unlikely to be perfectly matched by any other diamond.

White color diamonds are more commonly traded, and unlike white diamonds, fancy color diamonds do not have a standard scale against which the color of fancy diamonds is measured. The more intense the color and the higher the clarity of the stone, the scarcer, and therefore more valuable, the stone. These are the criteria based on which fancy-color diamonds are priced. Pink diamonds, for example, are extremely rare. The stone would be highly valuable if you find a natural pink diamond with a highly intense pink color and fewer inclusions.

The Hope Blue Diamond

The Famous Hope Diamond is Worth $250M (Wiki).

The Famous Yellow Tiffany Diamond

The Famous Tiffany Diamond is worth $30M.

The Gold Jubilee Diamond

The Famous Gold Jubilee Diamond is worth $4-12M.

Different Types of Fancy Diamonds

Fancy color diamonds are a captivating subset of the diamond family, dazzling with various vibrant and captivating colors. In contrast to their colorless counterparts, these jewels display a spectrum ranging from soft pastels to intense, vibrant hues. In addition to their immaculate hues, fancy color diamonds are enticing due to their scarcity and singular appeal. 

Below are the numerous types of fancy color diamonds and their distinguishing qualities.

Yellow Diamonds

Yellow diamonds, also known as "canary diamonds," exude warmth and allure with their bright and sunny tints. During the diamond's formation, nitrogen impurities create a yellow hue ranging from light lemony to deep golden. Yellow diamonds are widely used in ordinary and statement jewelry.

Watch Yellow Diamonds in Super HD.

Pink Diamonds

Pink diamonds symbolize grace and romance, with delicate and enticing pink hues varying from pale blush to bright pink. Theories suggest that the deformation of the crystal lattice causes this color because of intense pressure during formation. These diamonds are uncommon and in high demand due to their exceptional beauty and limited availability.

High Intensity Colored Pink Diamonds are Exceptionally Pricey. Watch HD Videos Here.

Blue Diamonds

Blue diamonds are among the most valuable and coveted gemstones in the world. The presence of boron within the diamond's structure is responsible for its mesmerizing blue colors, extending from sky blue to deep sapphire shades. Boron absorbs the red, yellow, and green wavelengths of light, permitting blue tones to predominate. The illustrious Hope Diamond—entrancing with its intense blue luminosity--is a well-known example of a blue diamond.

Green Diamonds

Green diamonds display a captivating aura of freshness and vitality, providing a distinct and vibrant alternative to conventional diamond hues. Exposure to natural radiation during the process of gem formation causes the green hue, which is frequently accompanied by secondary hues of yellow and blue. Such an array of colors enhances their aesthetic value, making them desirable among collectors and connoisseurs.

Ruby-Colored Diamonds

Red diamonds are the rarest of all fancy color diamonds and are regarded as the most exclusive gemstones. Their enticing red tints, which evoke fervor and resilience, result from a unique molecular structure that scatters light to create the red color. Red diamonds command astronomical prices at auctions due to their exceptional rarity and attractiveness.

Orange Diamonds

Orange diamonds emit a warm and inviting radiance, exhibiting a harmonious combination of red and yellow hues. It is believed the coloration results from a combination of nitrogen impurities and structural flaws. The intensity of the orange tint can vary, with some stones showing a pure orange hue while others exhibiting secondary shades. Orange diamonds are renowned for their uniqueness and ability to stand out in any setting.

Purple Diamonds

These diamonds, from delicate lavender to rich and deep purple, captivate with their regal and enigmatic allure. The origin of their color is still a topic of scientific inquiry; it is speculated that hydrogen and lattice distortion likely contribute to the purple tints. These stones are highly valued for their rarity and aptitude to elicit a sense of luxury and sophistication.

Brown Diamonds

Brown diamonds, also known as "champagne" or "cognac" diamonds, reveal a broad range of earthy and warm hues. Once regarded as less desirable, they have gained popularity in recent years due to their adaptable appeal. Lattice distortions caused by plastic deformation during the diamond's formation are responsible for its color.

When were Fancy Diamonds Discovered?

They were discovered in the 17th century, when the Dresden Green and Hope Diamond surfaced. During the 17th and 18th centuries, as trade routes expanded and the demand for gemstones increased, fancy-color diamonds began to acquire considerable popularity. 

In the 19th century, more legendary colored diamonds, such as the Koh-i-Noor (originally from India and now part of the British Crown Jewels) and the Blue Hope Diamond (later renamed the Hope Diamond), were found. Apart from their scale and rarity, these diamonds attracted attention for their exceptional hues.

In the early 20th century, people’s fascination with fancy color diamonds increased. The development of gemological knowledge and diamond grading allowed for improved identification and classification of colored diamonds. The Tiffany & Co. Yellow Diamond, a well-known decorative yellow diamond, was discovered in South Africa's Kimberley diamond mines in the late 19th century and rose to prominence in the 20th century.

In the latter half of the 20th century and beyond, appreciation for the distinctive beauty of fancy color diamonds soared. Notable auctions, such as those that featured the sale of significant colored diamonds, further contributed to their notoriety and allure.

The Most Expensive Color Diamond

Red diamonds are the most valuable because of the high prices they command. Today, only around 20 to 30 of them are left worldwide. Due to the unusual nature of their creation process, red diamonds are exceedingly uncommon and come only in the tiniest sizes. Interestingly, the biggest diamond in this category weighed only 5.11 carats and was purchased for a stunning $8,000,000.

Given the unique combination of scarcity, distinctive hue, and tremendous demand, these incredibly rare gemstones come with hefty price tags.

Famous Red Diamonds in History

Red Shield Diamond

The Red Shield Diamond (previously known as the Moussaieff Red Diamond) is a 5.05-carat diamond belonging to the Moussaieff family. It was renamed the Red Shield Diamond and sold at auction in 2011 for a record price per carat, making it one of the most expensive red diamonds ever sold.

The De Young Red Diamond

This 5.03-carat diamond was discovered in Brazil in the middle of the 20th century. It was acquired by the Boston jeweler S. Sydney De Young, who had it recut into a smaller and more brilliant gem. The origins and precise hue of the diamond are still a matter of debate, but its distinctive red hue makes it a valuable specimen.

The Hancock Red Diamond

This diamond weighs approximately 0.95 carats and is famous for its intense and saturated red hue. It was once part of the collection of Montana rancher Warren Hancock, who discovered it while gold prospecting. Its exceptional hue and diminutive dimensions contribute to its high value.

Extreme Rarity

Only a few red diamonds have ever been discovered, rendering them uncommon and one of the rarest colors among fancy color diamonds. According to estimates, we find only a handful of natural red diamonds for every million carats of diamonds extracted.

Natural Coloration

The unique and particular arrangement of atoms within the diamond's crystal lattice gives these diamonds their red color. A deformation in the crystal lattice during the creation process frequently causes its distinctive hue. Their color is entirely structural, compared to other colored diamonds, which derive their hues from impurities.

High Demand

Red diamonds are highly prized by collectors and connoisseurs. Their extraordinary uncommonness and gorgeous color are two of their most stunning qualities. The appeal of owning one of the world's most valuable and rare jewels raises demand and, thus, the price.

Auction Successes 

Given the intense competition for bids, the few red diamonds that have shown up in auctions have commanded astronomically high prices. These auction outcomes further bolster the idea that red diamonds are priceless and renowned.

Strong Symbolism

Red is a hue linked with passion, love, and power. This symbolism makes them attractive as emblems of enduring love and exceptional elegance, representing worth and individuality.

Investment Potential

Red diamonds have become sought-after assets for investors wishing to diversify their portfolios with distinctive and notable assets. Hence, for anybody looking to buy colored diamonds for investment purposes, red diamonds stand as the most profitable option.

Why Are Fancy Colored Diamonds Valuable

The unusually high value of this class of diamonds stems from several factors. One of them is how little information is available about them. Their formation itself defies conventional knowledge as regards the formation of diamonds. The conditions that must be present for normal white diamonds to form are fundamentally altered to enable fancy colored diamonds to form. The elements that create the color usually replace some carbon atoms in the atomic matrix of the gemstone. For instance, the presence of nitrogen is responsible for the yellow coloration of some diamonds. At the same time, distortion in the atomic structure due to heat or pressure is believed to cause the various hues of pink diamonds.

Apart from their mystery, their sheer rareness is a very important factor contributing to their value. Fancy colored diamonds make up less than 1% of all the diamonds mined in the world today, and out of 10,000 carats of diamond cut, only one is a fancy colored diamond. For this reason, fancy colored diamonds are extremely valuable, whether uncut and loose or cut and set into one piece of jewelry. They have recently been touted in several places as a viable solid investment alternative, with some colors increasing in value at 10 to 15 percent every year, effectively doubling their value over just five years. Overall, natural fancy colored diamonds of investment grade have the highest per-carat value of all precious stones.

How the value of fancy colored diamonds is calculated is very unique too. As opposed to white diamonds, where the 4Cs of cut, clarity, carat weight, and color and jointly evaluated to assign a final grade and value, fancy colored diamonds have an inordinate amount of emphasis placed on their color. The hue, color saturation, color purity, and intensity are all considered important qualities in the value of a fancy colored diamond. The availability of the particular color of the diamond will also play a role in its valuation; the rarer a diamond’s color is, the more valuable it will be. Inclusions are also desirable in fancy colored diamonds, directly contrasting with conventional white diamonds. They are technical flaws but are valued in fancy colored diamonds for the unique tones and beautiful flashes of color that they usually add to the stone.

To provide people interested in fancy colored diamonds with a comparative level of peace of mind as can be gotten with conventional white diamonds, jewelry labs Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and International Gemological Institute (IGI) evaluate, grade, and issue certificates for fancy colored diamonds. All their features make fancy colored diamonds a viable and attractive investment alternative and beautiful jewelry pieces.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter