For most people, the ”default” image of a diamond is crystal clear – colorless or nearly colorless. But did you know that diamond comes in a broad variety of hues, saturations and tones?

Gem quality diamonds, those readily available to the buying public, are expressed as color grades of a range from D-to-Z with “D” being the best. Diamonds with an increasing hint of color continue down that scale and usually decrease in value as the color becomes more obvious. Past “Z”, different descriptive terminology is employed and the prices start to increase with fancy color diamonds: Their value generally increases with the strength and purity of the color. Large, vivid fancy-color diamonds are extremely rare and very valuable. However, many fancy diamond colors are muted rather than pure and strong.

The variations in these tones and saturations give rise to the industry grading terms: Fancy Vivid (the best), Fancy Incense, Fancy, Fancy Deep, Fancy Dark Fancy Light and Light.  In each the color hue and a modifier, if any, provides the total expression of color. An example would be “Fancy Light Greenish-Yellow”.

Though various sources report the rarity differently, the order of their rarity is generally considered as follows:

  1. Red –  extremely rare. In fact, a pure ”red” has yet to be found, but the world is hopeful.  Usually they are purple-red to shades of brownish red. A real treat to get to even see one!
  2. Green – equally rare. The cause of color in green diamonds in most cases is due to natural radiation. Radiation imparts color to external skin or surface of green colors. It is rare for the green color to reach deep in a diamond. Lab graders evaluate the natural color of green diamonds by the depth of color.
  3. Blue – Exquisite colors, often modified by violet or green.  Notable diamonds in this category include the Hope Diamond and Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond
  4. Pink – Pink diamonds are highly preferred due to the vivacious beauty and impassioned appearance. Check out the details of a 14.83-carat, fancy-vivid-purple-pink, internally flawless oval diamond called Spirit of the Rose” being offered by Sotheby’s in November!!
  5. Orange – Among the most beautiful and interesting of fancy colored diamonds! Diamond collectors and enthusiasts completely understand the nature of these diamonds. Having a lower demand on the market, connoisseurs know their significance.
  6. Purple & Violet – Pure purple diamonds are super rare, tending to have secondary hues and lower saturation of color.  Lovely colors, but demand is usually limited to aficionados.
  7. Fancy White, Grey and Black – These diamonds break the rules and exist in their own special category. These more mono-chromatic diamonds have seen a surge in popularity in recent years, partially due to their lower price points.

The upcoming auction of the “Spirit of the Rose” diamond at Sotheby’s has brought a renewed interest and excitement for colored diamonds. If you should already be the proud owner of a natural colored diamond and haven’t reviewed the changes in value over the past several years, Gemcorp, Inc., stands ready to prepare a current and complete appraisal to assure that you have appropriate insurance protection for it, and any of you fine jewelry valuables.