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What Are Fancy-Coloured Diamonds?

Lewis Findley
Lewis Findley

Guide - Fancy-Coloured Diamonds

Diamonds are fascinating objects. They are formed deep within the earth and come in an array of different shapes, sizes and even colours. 

One of the reasons why fancy-coloured diamonds are so entrancing lies in the feelings they evoke when you interact with them.

In addition to their ability to engage our emotions, they are also incredibly rare. In this guide, you'll explore the fascinating and vivid world of fancy-coloured diamonds.

How rare are fancy-coloured diamonds?

Fancy-coloured diamonds are rare. Very rare. However, they are not as rare as the following:

  • Winning an Oscar - 11,500 to 1.
  • Finding a pearl in an Oyster - 12,000 to 1.
  • Dating a Supermodel - 88,000 to 1.

For every 10,000 diamonds found, only one is classified as a fancy-coloured diamond. As you can imagine, their rarity is significant and it's influenced their prices along with their saturation, tone and hue.

If fancy-coloured diamonds and natural diamonds come from the same place, how do they get their colour?

How are fancy-coloured diamonds formed?

Just like natural diamonds, coloured diamonds are formed deep in the earth under huge amounts of pressure and temperature.

Their colour comes from other elements interfering with the process of their creation.

For example, if a diamond becomes saturated, or soaked, with nitrogen, it develops a yellow colour. The amount of nitrogen exposed to the diamond will influence the hue of the yellow.

When a fancy-coloured diamond is discovered, it will need to go through the same process of classification. However, one aspect is different.

How are fancy-coloured diamonds evaluated?

Evaluating fancy-coloured diamonds is a complex process. Although traditional aspects such as cut, clarity and carat are unchanged, determining their colour is completely different. In fact, it has its own set of principles.

To help identify the colour of a fancy-coloured diamond, it can be broken down into Hue, Tone and Saturation!

  • Hue - The colour e.g. purplish-pink.
  • Tone - How light or dark the colour is e.g. light, medium, dark etc.
  • Saturation/Strength - How weak/strong the colour is? E.g. fancy, fancy vivid etc.

Let's take a closer look at these principles.

Fancy-coloured diamond's hue

The hue will describe the colour of the diamond. However, it isn't uncommon for a fancy-coloured diamond to have a secondary colour. This can affect its purity and ultimately, the price. 

When a diamond has two colours, the first colour mentioned will modify the actual colour e.g. reddish pink.

There are also fancy-coloured stones which change their colour and they are known as chameleon diamonds. 

As you can imagine, the most-valuable fancy-coloured diamonds are those with a single colour and are highly-prized and sought after.

Fancy-coloured diamond's tone 

The tone will measure how light or dark the hue of the main colour. This can range from faint to dark. 

Let's go through some examples:

  • Light - their level of saturation is low.
  • Fancy Light - it means the stone has darker tones than light with mild saturation.
  • Fancy Vivid - a light tone but contains the best level of saturation. 
  • Fancy Dark - A dark tone and high levels of saturation.

A fancy vivid pink diamond sold for $71.2m in an auction!

Fancy-coloured diamond's saturation

Saturation refers to the intensity of the fancy coloured diamond's main colour. However, the colour's tone can affect the saturation.

For example, diamonds with a lighter tone can have a saturation from light to vivid. 

However, diamonds with a darker tone can have saturation levels which range from dark to deep. 

These principles come together with cut, carat and clarity to determine the quality of a diamond.

Final Words

Now that you have a grounding on fancy-coloured diamonds, it's important to understand the potential pitfalls. 

Treated stones are natural diamonds that were treated to enhance their appearance. They are exposed to high temperatures and this alters their appearance.

Examples of the stones used for this enhancement are brown-coloured stones. 

You can identify a treated stone by the intensity of its colour. It should resemble a semi-precious stone such as an Amethyst or Citrine. 

If you're purchasing a treated diamond, they should be cheaper than a fancy-coloured stone so ensure the vendor is a credited source.

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