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Fancy Colored Diamonds 101


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When we think of Diamonds, color isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind. However Colored Diamonds are an important part of the Diamond industry. Most Diamonds range from colorless to light yellow or brown, and fall into the D-Z color range. Diamonds displaying color beyond D-Z are known as fancy colored Diamonds. This post reviews the market for Fancy Colored Diamonds and how they get their color.

Fancy Colored Diamond are rarer than Diamonds in D-Z color range, and therefore cost more per carat on average. In the D-Z color range, price increases based on absence of colored. With Colored Diamonds, the opposite is true. Most colored diamonds are yellow or brown. If the diamond has a hint of any other color, the price will increase significantly.

A perfect Diamond crystal is made up completely of Carbon Atoms. For a diamond to have color, it must have a structural defect known as a color centre. A color center usually creates an opening for an impurity such as Nitrogen or Boron to enter. The impurity reacts with carbon atoms to create Color. Nitrogen causes diamonds to turn yellow and Boron causes Diamonds to become blue.

Red Pink and Purple Diamonds

Diamonds with a pinkish to red hue are extremely rare. Currently the only viable source for pink Diamonds is the Argyle mine in Australia. Only one tenth of 1% of the Argyle’s production includes pink diamonds. The pink color comes from graining in the diamond crystal.

Blue Diamonds

Most blue diamonds have a hint of Grey and are not as saturated as Blue Sapphires. The Smithsonian’s Hope Diamond was graded as Fancy Depp greyish blue. Boron causes the Blue color in Diamonds, and the more Boron there is, the more saturated the diamond will appear.

Green Diamonds

Green diamonds often appear light in tone and low in saturation. The green color is confined mostly to the surface which is why cutters try to keep as much of the natural rough around the girdle as possible. The green colored comers from displaced atoms caused by radiation. This often happens naturally with diamonds are located near radioactive rock.

Brown Diamonds

Brown is the most common color in Fancy Colored diamonds. Up until the 1980’s brown diamonds were considered industrial grade. The Brown is caused by internal graining in the crystal lattice. Australia made Brown diamonds popular by giving them names like Conac and Champaign

Yellow Diamonds

Yellow is the second most popular color in Diamonds. The yellow color comes from the presence of Nitrogen. People have coined terms such as “canary yellow” which is commonly used to describe yellow diamonds

Colored Diamond have become more popular in recent years and are available in almost every color of the rainbow. Understanding how these colors come about helps one to appreciate the rarity of a naturally colored Diamond