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The Various Colors of Diamonds

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The Various Colors of Diamonds

Diamonds are typically colorless and sometimes may look a little yellow, depending on their color grade. You might have noticed that colored diamonds are becoming more and more popular as well. We’ve seen them in jewelry and some are even chosen as engagement rings because people are seeking an alternative look. 

Maybe you’re looking for a unique-colored diamond for your engagement ring or another piece of jewelry, or maybe you simply want to learn a bit more about why and how diamonds come in different colors.

How is the color of diamonds graded?

You can learn about the system for grading colorless diamonds in our article on the 4Cs, but there’s also a grading system for colored diamonds. Diamonds with color are referred to as “fancy color” diamonds. If a diamond has shades of yellow or brown, they’re often included in the typical grading scale, but once other hues appear, they’re graded simply by their color instead of on the official scale. Once the color is identified, the diamond is then labeled on the intensity of the color: Very Soft, Fancy Soft, Fancy Medium, Fancy Deep, and Fancy Dark. You can follow the above link to see a detailed report from the AGS on how a fancy color diamond is graded.

How is diamond color created?

A completely perfect and defect-free diamond is colorless. When you see color in a diamond, or in other gemstones, it’s from some kind of defect or impurity that has gotten into the diamond. For example, blue diamonds achieve that gorgeous color because boron got trapped in the crystals as the diamond was forming. Naturally occurring blue diamonds are extremely rare; only about 1 in every 200,000 diamonds is blue and the shades are usually fairly light. Perhaps the most famous blue diamond is the Hope Diamond, which you can see at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. This diamond has a deep shade of blue and is over 45 carats.

For yellow, or canary, diamonds, their color comes from nitrogen that’s found in the crystal structure of the gem. Yellow diamonds come in a variety of hues and combinations. For example, some lean toward a brownish-yellow, while others have such slight shades of yellow, it can be difficult to tell. Pure canary diamonds are a bright yellow that often have incredible clarity as well. However, these diamonds are exceedingly rare.

You’ll also find green, pinkish, and reddish diamonds, though most red-colored diamonds are merely dark pink. These natural diamond colors are all very expensive, since it is so rare to find one. If you sincerely want a fancy color diamond and aren’t looking to spend more than you would for a regular, colorless diamond, you can also opt to purchase synthetically colored diamonds.

You’re probably wondering, “what exactly is a synthetically colored diamond? What is the value of these diamonds?” If you’re looking for a diamond that has richer color and is more affordable than a naturally-colored option, synthetic color may be the route to go. Many synthetically colored diamonds are not natural diamonds; they’re created entirely in a lab.

However, not all synthetically-colored diamonds are entirely lab-manufactured. Some diamonds, especially those that already have shades of color in them, can be treated to enhance the brilliancy of that color. These diamonds can be treated on their surface to create a bright color or can be put through simulations of the pressures and heat naturally-colored diamonds experience deep in the earth’s surface. Putting a diamond through these stressors in the lab can replicate the naturally-occurring color, but in a shorter period of time.

When is color desirable?

In naturally-colored diamonds, the color, especially when it’s very bright and in shades of red, pink, or violet, means that the diamond can sell for over $100,000; some will sell for over a million. 

While some consumers buy fancy color diamonds for engagement rings, it’s also popular to purchase them to create other types of custom jewelry that feature the fancy color diamond, such as a pendant or other kind of ring. Other consumers buy fancy color diamonds simply to add them to their gem collections. Other purchasers of fancy color diamonds are museums; these diamond exhibits are extremely popular in museum gem collections.

For some fancy color diamonds, gem institutes even purchase them in order to study them and improve their grading methods for colored diamonds that will be sold to consumers. 

Other consumers buy fancy color diamonds simply to add them to their gem collections. Many view fancy color diamonds as an investment opportunity; they purchase these unique diamonds with the hope that they’ll increase in value and resell for a higher price at some point in the future.

If you’re interested in choosing a fancy color diamond for your engagement ring or another piece of jewelry, we can help you here at Vanscoy, Maurer & Bash Diamond Jewelers in Lancaster, PA. We’re taking various measures to ensure our store is safe and comfortable for all patrons; call us at 717-299-4283 with any questions or to schedule an appointment.