In love with the glamour of fancy colored diamonds? Want your own, like Blake Lively’s pink diamond, Scarlett Johansson’s’ brown, or maybe the infamous blue Hope? It’s true. These unique stones make great engagement rings! If you want to know more about how to pick the right colored diamond engagement ring, what they are, and what traps to avoid – read on below!

 

1. What is a fancy color diamond?

A “fancy” colored diamond is any diamond color not in the “normal color range,” also known as the D-Z scale. What is the D-Z scale? The D-Z normal color range begins at colorless (like water) and continues through to light yellow or brown. So, any diamond that falls outside that range is “fancy.” This can mean that a fancy diamond is simply a darker shade of yellow (sometimes referred to as “canary”) or brown (also known as “Champagne”). However, what most people think of as “fancy” are diamonds that are a completely different color all together! This can include lush green, vibrant purple, exotic orange – literally any other color you can think of! When a diamond falls outside the “normal” color range, it is described by its color. So, for example, a purple diamond would be called a “fancy purple.”

 

2. How many colors can diamonds be?

Diamonds naturally come in every color of the rainbow (yep red, blue, green, purple, pink, etc.), as well as black, brown, gray, and white. There are even “salt and pepper” diamonds that look more polka-dotted. So, there are many different color diamonds! Some colors, such as red and blue, are much more rare than others. As a result of this rarity, these colors are much more expensive. On the other hand, less rare colored diamonds, such as champagne and black diamonds, can be much more affordable. So, selecting a fancy diamond for your colored diamond engagement ring may not be as crazy as you thought! Truly, for every different color you can imagine, there is probably a fancy color diamond in the world that shade.

various shaped different color diamonds on white surface

3. Are colored diamonds real?

They sure are! Fancy color diamonds grow in the Earth, and we also grow real fancy color diamonds in labs! Diamonds get their color from the unique conditions in which they form. These specific conditions are so unique that only 1 in every 10,000 natural diamonds is fancy! Because this just isn’t enough to keep up with the demand for fancy diamonds, gem scientists also now create fancy diamonds in labs, too. The conditions these scientists create actually mimic the unique environments required to form a fancy diamond in the Earth’s crust!

Lab-created fancy diamonds have the exact same mineral makeup, as well as the same appearance, as natural fancy diamonds. For example, both natural and lab blue diamonds can be vivid or more grey, and they both get their color from boron. As a result, both the natural and lab diamonds are, in fact, real (the FTC even says so)! Consequently, both lab and natural diamonds make great colored diamond engagement rings. 🙂

different colored diamonds in cushion cut shape on white surface

Credit: Swarovski Colored Diamonds

But are all different color diamonds real?

Not all different color diamonds’ have natural color. What I mean by that is that some diamonds get their color from treatments gem scientists give them. For example, some “normal” color diamonds are just too yellow or brown to be conventionally pretty. So, gem scientists (safely) irradiate them to make them change to more attractive colors. Most frequently, these colors include blue, black, green, and yellow.

Buyer Alert! Always ask your jeweler if the fancy diamond you’re looking at is natural, treated, or lab-created. Do Amore informs each customer about the natural, treated, or lab-created origin of the diamond they purchase. 🙂

 

4. Are colored diamonds more expensive?

For the most part, yes, however, it depends on the color. Champagne, gray, salt and pepper, chameleon, and black diamonds are actually less expensive than their white counterparts! All the other colors, however, are more expensive. Just how expensive a colored diamond is depends upon the rarity of the diamond and how in-demand the color is at any given point in time.

Money Tip: Lab-created fancy color diamonds are much less expensive than natural diamonds because gem scientists make them on demand. So, gem labs can control the rarity and price!

 

5. What is the rarest color of diamond?

The rarest color of diamond is red. As a result, the most expensive colored diamond in the world is also red! This is because a diamond’s relative expense comes from its rarity and how in-demand the color is. Shockingly, there are only a handful of natural red diamonds in the entire world. Other rare and in-demand colors include blue, pink, orange, green, and purple.

Fun fact! After JLo received a pink colored diamond engagement ring from Ben Affleck, pink diamonds went up in value!

various shaped pink diamonds on black surface

Various shapes of pink colored diamonds. Credit: GIA

6. What causes colored diamonds?

Diamonds are born with color when unexpected things happen to their crystals. In some instances, diamond crystals absorb teeny tiny “trace elements” during formation. These trace elements are so small you can’t see them – even with magnification! For instance, if a diamond crystal absorbs nitrogen, it may turn yellow. But, if it absorbs boron, it will be blue! Natural radiation can cause diamonds to turn green, like the famous Dresden diamond. Mysterious pink diamonds have no trace elements at all, and instead, occur when extreme stress acts upon the diamond crystal. This stress is so intense, the entire structure changes and turns pink!

Finally, scientists can also “treat” diamonds to make them colorful. Many blue, black, green, and yellow diamonds on the market today are actually lower “normal” color diamonds which have been irradiated by gem scientists. These treatments make the otherwise lonely “normal” color diamonds marketable, and make fancy color diamond lovers happy! Treated natural diamonds offer great value because they give you the look you want at a much lower cost.

blue natural vs treated diamond and pink natural vs treated diamond

Left: Natural VS Treated Blue Diamond | Right: Natural VS Treated Pink Diamond

7. What fancy diamond is most valuable?

Natural fancy vivid red diamonds are the most valuable diamonds in the world. This is due to their incredible rarity and gem collector’s demand for them. The next most valuable diamond is fancy vivid blue (think Hope Diamond blue)!

 

8. How do you grade a fancy diamond engagement ring?

Fancy color diamonds are graded by the traditional 4Cs. But, color grading a colored diamond is unique! So, in addition to cut, carat weight, and clarity – we also grade fancy diamonds for what color they are (hue) as well as how vivid that color is. Also, all colored diamonds start with the word “fancy.” So, you’ll see colors like “fancy light pink” or “fancy intense orange.” Cool, huh?

chart of blue diamond hue vividness

9. How much is a colored diamond?

How much a colored diamond is depends upon its color, its lab or natural origin, and if it has undergone any treatment. In natural fancy diamonds, a stone’s value comes from its color, the pureness of that color, and how dark that color is. The first step is to determine the stone’s overall color and how rare it is. For instance, pink diamond are more rare and valuable than yellow. The second step is seeing if that color has any grey or brown tint. These modifiers lower a diamond’s value. Finally, gemologists look at how light or dark the color is. Stones with more color are more rare than diamonds with light tints!

Where were you in April 2017? The Pink Star diamond (a whopping 59.60 carats) was being sold at auction for over $71 million!

Are lab-grown diamonds cheaper?

As you would expect, lab-created fancy diamonds are less expensive than natural fancy diamonds. That’s because we control the rarity! Interestingly, however, treated natural diamonds (like irradiated black, blue, and yellows) are often about the same price as lab-created stones.

Natural Blue Treated Blue Lab Blue
Per carat pricing $40,000+/carat $1,500-$4,000/carat $1,500-$3,000/carat

 

 

10. Where can I get a fancy diamond?

Right here! I love finding unique colored diamonds for our customers! I found a glamorous 1.01ct light pink diamond for a customer yesterday. And, a super cool black diamond last week! Want a colored diamond in your engagement ring? Send me a note here (my name is Corinne, I’m the gemologist), or email me at [email protected]!