The color of a diamond
A regular diamond’s value depends on the 4 C’s. One of these is ‘Color’. The color of the diamond, or rather the lack of color, makes the stone more valuable. A colorless diamond is very valuable. That is because most natural diamonds have a yellow or brown tint in them. The diamond color scale
determines the actual color of the stone. This scale runs from D to Z. D means colorless and Z means very yellowish.
Fancy colored diamonds
Outside of the “regular” white, yellow-ish and brown-ish diamonds, there are also stones with another color. We call these ‘fancy colored diamonds’. Natural (fancy) colored diamonds are extremely rare. Only one out of 10,000 carats is a natural colored diamond. There are two types of fancy colored diamonds. The first category is those with more depth of color than the color scale up to Z has. The other one is any other color than yellow. This means fancy colored diamonds can be any color except white (colorless) or black. Black diamonds
are something completely different.
Which colors are there?
There are many various colors and shades we consider fancy colored diamonds. These are:
Besides the classic 'white' diamonds, there are also diamonds with a (bright) color which we call fancy colored diamonds.
The vividness of diamond color
But besides these different colors, there are also levels of vividness. The GIA grades colored diamonds in an increasing color strength:
- Very Light
- Fancy Light
- Fancy Intense
- Fancy Vivid
- Fancy Deep
When we look at the vividness scale (from faint to fancy deep), not all diamonds in this scale are considered fancy. Only diamonds with a color from ‘fancy light’ and up deserve the Fancy title. Usually, the color that pops most is the most valuable one. In this case “Fancy Vivid” and “Fancy Deep” command the highest prices This chart shows the color grading scale of pink diamonds. But these characteristics are the same for all fancy colored diamonds. Image source: Capetown Diamond Museum
Fancy yellow is the most popular of all colored diamonds. I already mentioned the diamond color scale that ranges from D to Z. In general, we can say, the closer the color of the diamond comes to Z, the lower its price. However, when the yellow of the diamond exceeds the scale, it gets another name: fancy yellow. Instead of the faint yellow color (we see at Z) the color pops more.
Rarity of yellow diamonds
Fancy colors are always rare. But some colors are less rare than others. About 60% of all fancy colored diamonds are yellow diamonds. This may sound like a lot. But it actually means that about 1 out of 16,500 mined carats is a yellow diamond. When you look at it that way, yellow diamonds are very rare. Yellow diamonds with good quality - VS or higher, good cut, over 2 carats – are actually very hard to come by. Over the last few years, we noticed an increase in the demand for yellow diamonds, which makes them even rarer. Fancy light yellow radiant cut diamond
Value of yellow diamonds
The rarity of a diamond determines its value. Therefore, one of the things that may strike as odd is the price of yellow diamonds. A yellow diamond can actually have a lower price than a white diamond with similar characteristics. However, this only applies to the ones with a low intensity or vividness. A stone with a higher intensity grace easily surpasses the similar colorless stone in price. But this high-intensity yellow diamond is less valuable than any almost any other colored diamond. In terms of prices, we can say that a fancy light yellow diamonds has about the same price as an I-colored (VS) white diamond with similar specifications. This flower-shaped ring contains a 2.38-carat fancy yellow diamond. It is for sale in our diamond polishing factory.
Just like yellow diamonds, brown diamonds
are less rare colored diamonds. Also, like yellow diamonds, we call the brown diamonds ‘fancy’ when they exceed Z on the color scale. Initially, brown diamonds were only used for industrial purposes. People simply didn’t like the brown color of the gem. But times changed. Trendsetters and famous celebrities started to wear brown diamonds and soon the rest of the world followed. The color scale can help you to find out the shade of brown. C1 - C3 are Top Light Brown diamonds; C4 - C5 are Champagne diamonds and C6 - C8 Cognac diamonds.
The rarity of brown diamonds
Make no mistake, brown diamonds are still valuable since they are fancy colors. However, they are more affordable fancy colored diamonds because there are so many available. The color of brown diamonds determines it value. You already know the vividness scale from above. Obviously, the more vivid the color, the more valuable the stone. But there is more. Many brown diamonds have another extra hue in it. This hue can be yellow or a whole other color, such as pink. Brown diamonds with a pink hue are rarer and more valuable than those with a yellowish hint.
Value of brown diamonds
The value of a brown diamond really depends on its color. If you have a popular color, such as chocolate, cognac or whiskey, the brown diamond will cost you a bit more compared to a gem with a lesser intensity. Brown diamond with a soft hue can be even less valuable than a F-colored white diamond with the same carat. Brown diamonds look good in rose gold.
Natural orange diamonds are rare fancy colored diamonds. Because they are so exceptionally rare, they are very desired by collectors. The color orange is a combination of red and yellow and is caused by the presence of nitrogen in the diamond’s carbon lattice. This means the color ranges from orange red to yellow-orange.
The rarity of orange diamonds
Even though orange is not the rarest fancy color, they are very, very rare. The GIA determines the vividness of an orange diamond. If they consider the diamond as “pure” orange, we consider the diamond extremely rare. Pure orange diamonds are almost as rare as fancy red diamonds! Orange diamonds are rarer than yellow and brown diamonds. This ring has a 0.37-carat orange brilliant cut diamond and is for sale in our diamond polishing factory.
Value of orange diamonds
The value of the orange diamond depends on the vividness and hue. If the diamond holds brown and/or yellowish hues, the diamond is less expensive. But if the orange fancy colored diamond looks more orange or has a reddish hue, it is very valuable. The same applies to the vividness. If the diamond only has a light orange tint, it will cost you less than a more vivid color. However, due to the rarity, a natural orange diamond will never come cheap. This ring has a valuable 1.92-carat radiant cut orange diamond. It is for sale at our diamond polishing factory.
Natural pink diamonds are a bit odd. That is because we do not know for sure how they got their color. But the most accepted idea is that it is because of the enormous additional pressure that these diamonds face during their formation.
The rarity of pink diamonds
More than 90 percent of the world’s supply of pink diamonds come from the Argyle Mine in Australia. This is also the most famous mine for brown diamonds. However, 80% of the diamonds from this mine are brown diamonds and only 1% are actually pink diamonds. Natural pink diamonds are as rare as they are beautiful. Only a limited number exists and experts believe only 500 gem-quality pink diamonds are left to be discovered. Pink diamonds are very valuable; they are true collector's items.
Value of pink diamonds
Just like other valuable fancy colored diamonds, pink diamonds vary in vividness. A very light pink diamond is less valuable than a fancy vivid or fancy deep pink diamond. Pink diamonds often have a secondary hue, which we describe as purple-pink or orange-pink.
Purple diamonds look a lot like pink diamonds. However, their shade is a bit darker. This makes purple diamonds even rarer than the already scarce pink ones. Just like these, most purple diamonds are found in the Argyle mine. Yet there are a few other finding locations around the globe. But in contrast to pink diamonds, purple diamonds are a result of an unusually high presence of hydrogen.
The rarity of purple diamonds
Since purple diamonds are so rare, they are a dream for every diamond collector. After all, a collection is only complete when you also possess the rare ones. Purple diamonds are extremely rare.
Value of purple diamonds
Remember that I told we have names for brown diamonds, such as ‘chocolate’ and ‘cognac’? We have the same for purple diamonds. We call these plum diamonds, orchid diamonds, lilac diamonds, mauve diamonds, lavender diamonds, and grape diamonds. All different shades of purple. The intense the color the more valuable the diamond. But don’t forget, something so scarce means it always comes with a certain price tag.
The color of royalty, wisdom and prestige. There are many well-known blue gemstones such as sapphires
. But did you know there are also blue diamonds? Blue diamond get their color from boron that’s trapped in the crystal’s structure. This means that, when a boron atom is in a diamond, one of its four carbon neighbors has an unused electron. The electron absorbs red light. White light that comes in through a boron-affected diamond comes out blue.
The rarity of blue diamonds
Apart from red ones, blue diamonds are the rarest fancy colored diamonds of all. We can only find them in India, South Africa and Australia. Most Australian blue diamonds are found in the Argyle mine. Many blue colors contain a greyish secondary hue and sometimes even a violet color. Every blue diamond is rare. But the ones with pure colors are even more unique. Extremely rare blue diamond sold for almost $15 million. Image source: mining.com
Value of blue diamonds
Those who want to purchase a blue diamond need to have deep pockets. As with all other fancy diamonds, the ones with a faint or light color are less valuable than those with vivid colors. However, a 0.3-carat light blue diamond has an average price of $15,700 already. A 0.5 carat will cost you almost double with $26,280 on average. A deep blue vivid colored blue diamond is around $75,000. As you can imagine, for higher carats, the prices grow exponentially.
are unique in many ways. Like pink diamonds, we don’t know exactly what causes the color but we believe it comes from changes to the atomic structure. We call this process ‘deformation’. This happens when a diamond travels to the earth’s surface. While other diamonds are graded on the vividness scale, red diamonds are not. The red color itself is a supersaturated level of the pink diamond spectrum. However, there are slight variations within the red diamonds. Different modifiers, or overtones, can be present along with the red color. The most common color combination is purplish red. We also have ‘brownish’ and ‘orangey’.
The rarity of red diamonds
Red diamonds are the rarest of all fancy colored diamonds. Especially diamonds with a deep red or purplish-red color are very rare. Right now, there are only about twenty to thirty true red diamonds in the world. Red diamonds are a supersaturated level of pink diamonds. They can have a purplish red hue, a brownish one, or an orangy tone. Image source: diamonds.pro
Value of red diamonds
The extreme level of rarity makes red diamonds the most expensive fancy colored diamonds in the world. Pure red diamonds are so highly-priced, they are generally even too expensive for celebrities. Especially red diamonds from over one carat. To give you an idea: a 0.70-carat fancy red diamonds with an SI2 clarity is between $600,000 and $850,000!
These fancy colored diamonds are a bit of a grey area (hehe). But due to their growing popularity, I’d like to address them as well. Grey diamonds aren’t just white diamonds with less of a sparkle. True grey diamonds have a different quality and a noticeable grey tone. Fancy grey diamonds are very rare and have high clarity. Just like most other fancy colored diamonds, they vary from faint to fancy dark. Most grey diamonds thank their color to a high concentration of hydrogen or (occasionally) boron. Necklace from Royal Coster Diamonds with a grey pear cut diamond.
The rarity of grey diamonds
Grey diamonds are not only rare, but they are also quite unknown. Most diamond lovers known about the above-mentioned fancy colors. But many of them don’t know about the fancy grey colored diamonds. However, over the past few years, they became more and more popular. They became a popular alternative to classic white diamonds.
Value of grey diamonds
Grey diamonds are rarer than (fancy) yellow and brown diamonds. But they are in the same price range as the lower fancy colored yellows and browns. This makes them very attractive. Example of grey Salt and Pepper diamonds.
Salt and pepper diamonds
Next to fancy grey diamonds, there is also a different kind of grey diamonds. These are the so-called “Salt & Pepper” diamonds. In contrast to fancy grey diamonds, the Salt and Pepper diamonds are highly included. The huge amount of diamond inclusions
give them a unique look. As you can imagine, these diamonds are not only less valuable than grey diamonds. But they are also less valuable than regular white diamonds.
Famous fancy colored diamonds
Every now and then, diamond miners find a very large or unique colored gem. After they are polished, these diamonds often gain worldwide attention. Here is a list of the most famous fancy colored diamonds.
Famous fancy yellow diamonds
There are a lot of remarkable and famous yellow diamonds. Since it is impossible to mention them all, we only cover the most famous ones.
The Sun of Africa
While many famous colored diamonds are found ages ago, The Sun of Africa is relatively new. It is the second-largest fancy Vivid Yellow in the world and was found in the Kimberly mines of Africa. Discovered in 2007, it currently is the most famous fancy yellow diamond in the world.
Sun of Africa. Image source: investments.diamonds
- Carat: 127.68 carat
- Color: Fancy Vivid Yellow
- Clarity: VS2
- Cut: Radiant
The Florentine Diamond
The Florentine Diamond, also known as the Tuscan, the Tuscany Diamond, The Grand Duke of Tuscany, the Austrian Diamond
and the Austrian Yellow Diamond
. The diamond was found in India but we cannot say exactly when or where. The rumor says that it was cut by Lodewyk van Bercken for Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in the 1470’s. What we do know is that the French jeweler and traveler Jean Baptiste Tavernier saw the stone. It was in possession of the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1657, hence the names. The stone has had many owners since then and it ended up in the Habsburg Crown Jewels in the Hofburg in Vienna. After World War I, the stone was taken into exile in Switserland. However, it was stolen some time after 1918. Rumors say it went to the US in the 1920’s where it was recut and sold. But to this day, we don’t know where this mysterious fancy yellow diamond is.
The Florentine Diamond (left) and the hat ornament it was once in. Source: famousdiamonds.tripod.com
- Carat: 137.27
- Color: Light yellow with slight green overtones
- Clarity: Unkown
- Cut: Nine-sided 126-facet double rose cut
The Kahn Canary Diamond
In 1977, an Arkansas resident called George Stepp discovered a yellow diamond in the “Crater of Diamonds state Park”. In this park you can look for diamonds and the rule is ‘finders keepers’. Stepp sold the diamond to Kahn Jewelers in Arkansas. They named the diamond after its color and their owner. There are a couple of things that are remarkable about this diamond. For example, it has a flawless clarity. Especially in colored diamonds, this is extremely rare. Another cool fact is that they didn’t polish the diamond. They kept it in its beautiful rough shape.
The Kahn Canary Diamond in its ring setting. Source: famousdiamonds.tripod.com
- Carat: 4.25
- Color: Canary yellow
- Clarity: Flawless
- Cut: none
In the 1980’s, a young girl in the Democratic Republic of Congo found a big rough stone while playing in a pile of rubble. The pile of rubble were leftovers of old mine dumps with rejected rocks that were not worth scanning for diamonds. The stone the girl found turned out to be a 890-carat yellow diamond. The diamond was sold via multiple jewelers and ended up at De Beers who sold it to Zale. At Zale’s 75th
anniversary, in November 1984, they unveiled the huge stone. Polishing the diamond was quite hard. Not only because the stone is so big. But also because it has an irregular shape. Eventually they cut the diamond in an unusual shield-shaped step cut with fourteen additional satellite stones.
The Incomparable's 890-carat rough form, left, and the finished Incomparable in its gold ornament stand, right. Source: famousdiamonds.tripod.com
- Carat: 407.48
- Color: Fancy brownish yellow
- Clarity: Internally Flawless (IF)
- Cut: Shield-shaped step cut
Famous brown diamonds
The popularity of brown diamonds is really something of the last decades. However, that does not mean there are no popular brown diamonds. One of the most famous one is actually one that is quite close to us.
The Golden Jubilee Diamond
This is the largest cut diamond in the world. It was found in 1985 in the Premier mine in South Africa from De Beers. The rough diamond was 755.50 carat by them. It was cut by Gabi Tolkowsky. He cut the diamond into a ‘Fire-Rose cushion’ shape of 545.65 carats. The diamond is now on display in the Royal Museum at Pimammek Golden Tempel Throne Hall in Bangkok as part of the crown jewels
The Golden Jubilee Diamond. Image source: Israeli Diamond
- Carat: 545.65
- Color: Brown
- Clarity: Unkown
- Cut: Fire-Rose cushion cut
The Star of the South
This diamond is one of the largest diamonds found in Brazil. It was also the first Brazilian diamond to receive international acclaim. It was found in 1853 by an African slave woman. For finding it, she received her freedom and life pension. The stone went to Amsterdam where we, Royal Coster Diamonds, cut the Star of the South
The Star of the South (top left diamond) has a fancy light pinkish-brown color.
- Carat: 128.48
- Color: Fancy Light Pinkish-Brown
- Clarity: VS2
- Cut: Cushion
The Earth Star Diamond
This diamond was found in 1967 in the Jagerfontein Mine that belongs to De Beers. Rough, the brown diamond weighed 248.9 carats. Though the mine existed already for a long time, there were never big or unusual discoveries. But the Earth Star was discovered very deep: at 2500-foot level. Baumgold Bros. of New York purchased the stone. They cut it into a 111.59 carat pear shape. The Earth Star is probably the 3rd largest brown diamond in the world today.
The Earth Star is a pear cut brown diamond. Image source: info-diamond.com
- Carat: 111.59
- Color: Brown
- Clarity: Unkown
- Cut: Pear
Famous orange diamonds
Orange diamonds are a lot rarer than yellow and brown diamonds. Therefore, there are less remarkable or famous orange diamonds. But that does not mean there are not any. These are actually so rare we already dedicated some articles about them.
The Pumpkin Diamond
The Pumpkin Diamond
is an orange 11-carat diamond, mined in 1997 in Central African Republic. It ended up at Sotheby’s who put it up for auction on the day before Halloween. Harry Winston bought the diamond and named it the Pumpkin Diamond after the combination of the auction day and its color. Winston put the diamond in a ring that later was worn by Halle Berry to the 2002 Oscars. The combination of the rare color grade and the rarity of the color orange makes the Pumpkin one of the rarest of rare of fancy colored diamonds.
The Pumpkin Diamond. Image source: Pinterest
- Carat: 5.54
- Color: Fancy vivid orange
- Clarity: Onbekend
- Cut: Cushion
The Koi Diamond
In the early 2000s, a big 60-carat multi-hued orange and white diamond was discovered in Congo. Because of its many inclusions and odd colors, it was slated for industrial use. But at last minute, an anonymous diamond polisher saw the stone’s possibilities. He shaped it like the Japan’s celebrated Koi fish that matches well with the pattern of the colors. Now, it is one of the most unique diamonds on the planet because of its remarkable graduations in color such as white, orange, yellow, black and even dark blue. In 2019, we welcomed our own surprise Baby Koi Diamond
The Koi Diamond has the shape of the famous Japanese fish. Image source: luxurious magazine
- Carat: 32
- Color: Orange with white, light yellow, dark blue and black
- Clarity: Highly included
- Cut: Pear shape
Famous pink diamonds
Even though pink diamonds are rare, there are actually quite a lot of large famous pink diamonds. Just to name a few notable ones:
- Williamson Pink diamond
- Martian Pink
- Unique Pink
- The Pink Star
- Hortensia Diamond
- The Graff Pink
- Pink Legacy
- Condé Diamond
- Agra Diamond
- Princie Diamond
Since we cannot cover them all, I chose the ones that are – in my opinion – the most special ones.
The Pink Star
In 1999, De Beers mined a large diamond in one of their mines in South Africa. The large gem was 132.50 carats. But besides the size, there was something else that was remarkable: its color. The diamond had a Fancy vivid pink color, which almost never happens for diamonds this big. Steinmetz Diamonds bought the stone from the Beers. They wanted to polish the pink gem, but this was no easy task. It took 8 polishers 20 months to cut the diamond. Steinmetz sold the pink diamond to an anonymous buyer who named the diamond “The Pink Star
The Pink Star Diamond
- Carat: 59.60
- Color: Fancy vivid pink
- Clarity: Internally Flawless (IF)
- Cut: Mixed oval brilliant
The Graff Pink
The Graff Pink is quite a special case. The early history of the diamond is not clear. But it was sold in the 1950s by Harry Winston to a private collector. That’s why the audience never saw it for 60 years. But in 2010 they put it up for auction. The estimated auction price was between 27 and 38 million of dollars. However, Laurence Graff purchased the stone at Sotheby’s for the whopping price of 46 million dollars. Laurence named the diamond the “Graff Pink”. The stone went into the books as the most expensive pink diamond price per carat ever paid at auction.
The Graff Pink. Image source: investments.diamonds
- Carat: 24.78
- Color: Fancy intense pink
- Clarity: VVS2, with potential of being internally flawless after repolishing.
- Cut: Emerald with rounded corners
Famous purple diamonds
As you know, purple diamonds are extremely rare. That’s why there are only three purple diamonds that are actually very famous.
The Purple Orchid
The journey of this precious purple stone starts in South Africa where it was unearthed in 2014. Upon discovery, it was immediately clear that this was a unique piece. Fancy purple diamonds account for only 0.2% of all colored diamonds. Let alone those that surpass 3 carats. The 4-carat stone had various owners. It eventually made its way to India where it was