fancy coloured diamonds


    Green diamonds traditionally symbolise peace, tranquillity, growth and fertility. They are amongst the rarest and the most highly-valued natural fancy coloured diamonds available ranking alongside blue, purple, pink, and violet diamonds in terms of rarity value. However, due to the popularity of blue and pink diamonds they have become somewhat obscured, although in actual fact they are rarer and this is largely due to the way in which green diamonds are formed.  Here we take a closer look at this most intriguing of the natural fancy coloured diamonds:

    How does a diamond get its green colour? 

    Diamonds are formed when organised carbon atoms are pressurised and bound together in the earth’s core. As we know colourless diamonds are chemically pure and structurally perfect.  Whilst in comparison natural coloured diamonds are formed when impurities occur in the chemical bonding, or defects in the crystalline structure. However, green diamonds are the exception. They acquire their unique colour from an extremely rare process of natural irradiation that occurs where carbon deposits in the earth contain highly radioactive material.

    A natural green diamond will be exposed to radiation over a period of thousands of years during its formation underground. The radiation, usually coming from uranium near the Earth’s surface, has the innate ability to displace carbon atoms in the diamond from their positions. This changes the stones ability to absorb and refract light which allows it to reflect the green colour on its surface. The longer the diamond is exposed to radiation, the more vivid the green colour becomes. The fact that these conditions have to be absolutely perfect for a green diamond to form is the reason that natural green diamonds are a genuinely rare occurrence and this is what makes this gemstone so intriguing.

    There is however no reason to be worried about the levels of radiation in green diamonds. Because this process takes place underground over thousands of years the actual diamond is rendered harmless. The green colour does not contain harmful chemicals and is merely the green light being reflected on the crystal, and the diamond retains only the radioactive stains NOT the properties of radioactivity.

    The majority of natural green diamonds are mined in Brazil, Venezuela and Zimbabwe

    How are green coloured diamonds graded?

    The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has a special colour-grading system for fancy coloured diamonds including green diamonds. This takes into account the hue, tone and saturation of the rocks.  The term ‘hue’ refers to the primary colour of the diamond, the tint which appears on the surface i.e., blue, red, green, yellow. ‘Tone’ refers to how light or how dark the colour is, with the faintest grade nearing transparency while the darkest leans to black. ‘Saturation’ refers to how heavy the colour appears on the stone. The more vivid, deeper colours are graded higher on the chart.

    How is a green diamonds colour intensity measured for grading?

    The longer a green diamond is exposed to radiation then the deeper into the gem the colour will have penetrated and this will also determine the hue.  As green diamonds are less affected with impurities, it is often difficult to classify these diamonds according to colour and they can range from faint green to fancy deep green. Pure green diamonds are graded as follows: Faint Green, Very Light Green, Light Green, Fancy Light Green, Fancy Green, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, and Fancy Deep.  Those classified Fancy Vivid Green are the rarest as they hardly ever occur so making them the highest priced.

    Very often green diamonds will also display two secondary colours these being blue and yellow.  You will therefore often see them colour graded as yellow, yellowish, blue, bluish, brown, brownish, gray, grayish, gray yellowish, and grayish yellowish.

    To establish the origin of colour green diamonds are always submitted to a gem laboratory. However even with today’s advanced technology it is not always possible for the lab to produce a satisfactory assessment.  Most of them are not green all the way through and many will show green radiation blotches or stains on the surface which get polished away during the cutting process, which lead to a loss of colour.  In these cases diamond cutters have to work their way around this in order to present the highest colour saturation in the best way.  It is highly unusual for a stone to be evenly coloured all the way through, but they do occur.

    What are Chameleon Diamonds? 

    To add to the intrigue, mystery and beauty of natural green diamonds some display another extremely rare phenomenon. This is their ability to change colour to suit their environment, hence the name given to this type of diamond - ‘Chameleon Diamonds’.

    Chameleon Diamonds are a variety of natural green diamonds that normally possess a green colour but can change from brown to yellow dependent upon their exposure to light and heat.  For example, when heated or kept in the dark, they can turn to bright yellow temporarily and as they cool down or are gradually exposed to light, they turn back to their original green hue. There is no exact explanation as to why this phenomenon happens and no other diamond possesses this ability which is the reason why Chameleon Diamonds are twice as rare and are highly sought-after by diamond enthusiasts.   A very famous Chameleon Diamond is The Chopard Chameleon which is a 31.31 carat oval shaped diamond.

    Famous natural green diamonds

    As green diamonds are so rare, only a handful of them are ever found.  Perhaps the most famous green diamond in the world is the ‘Dresden Green’. Believed to have been discovered in India in the 18th century this stunning green diamond weighs an amazing 41 carats.  It is the largest the known natural green diamond to have been discovered and has a clarity grade of VS-1, which was received by the GIA in 1988 as uniquely its colouration is uniformly distributed throughout.   It was acquired by Augustus, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony in 1742 and it remains on view in the Green Vaults in Dresden today.  It sets the benchmark for all stones of its kind because its colour is natural and homogenous all the way through.

    Also famous is the ‘The Ocean Dream’ whose name refers to its unique Fancy deep blue-green shade that resembles the crystalline image of a very, very deep ocean. It weighs 5.5 carats and was put on exhibition in the Smithsonian’s ‘Splendour of Gems’ exhibition.

    The ‘Aurora Green’ holds the title of the largest ever Fancy Vivid Green diamond weighing 5.03 carat. Its size is not the only remarkable property of this diamond is that it also has VS2 clarity and no fluorescence which is extremely rare for such a diamond.   It was auctioned by Christie’s Hong Kong on May 31st 2016 and sold for a very impressive $16.8 Million which makes the price per carat in excess of $3.3 million dollars!  This broke the record set at auction by ‘The Ocean Dream’ that sold in 2014 for $8.6 million, equivalent to $1.5 million per carat.

    As mentioned before another famous natural green diamond is ‘The Chopard Chameleon’ which was acquired in 2007 by Swiss jeweller Chopard. He revealed this stunning green diamond to the world in its delicate setting at Baselworld in 2008.  It is the centre piece of a ring surrounded by a delicate pavé setting of tiny fancy coloured diamonds and was designed by the renowned jeweller Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele. The Chopard Chameleon is the largest known chameleon diamond in the world, comfortably exceeding the previous record holder in size, a 22.28 carat chameleon heart shaped diamond.  It was estimated to be worth $10 Million in 2008.

    Famous celebrities who wear natural green diamonds 

    As green diamonds are so rare, they are not many who have been lucky enough to own/wear these amazing gemstones apart from royalty and the favoured few.

    The ‘Orlov Diamond’ is a bluish-green diamond which belonged to Catherine the Great of Russia and is set upon her Imperial Sceptre. There are a total of 180 facets on the diamond which features a rose-style cut and this diamond is said to have the proportions of half a chicken’s egg

    Queen Elizabeth is the lucky owner of a very rare chameleon diamond which was bought for Buckingham Palace anonymously. It is a very impressive 3 carat in weight and is heart shaped.

    In 2010 and in 2011, Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively was seen wearing a stunning green diamond ring which was designed by Lorraine Schwartz and consists of exquisite deep green coloured diamonds.


    The basic rule of economics is that supply and demand dictates price, and in the world of diamonds this is undoubtedly true where rarity equals value. Take for example, natural fancy coloured diamonds which account for less than 0.1% of the number of mined diamonds. Prices for these fancy coloured diamonds are determined by the rarity of the diamond’s colour and how hard it is to obtain it.  Whist coloured diamonds present in 12 different colour variations with more than 90 secondary hues, 9 intensity levels, and over 230 combinations of colour, natural fancy coloured diamonds can basically be divided into four main groups based on their prices, these are:

    Ultra-High - Red diamonds which are the rarest of the coloured diamonds and therefore the most expensive.

    High price range – Blue, Pink, Purple, Violet and Green diamonds.

    Mid-price range - Vivid and Intense Yellow Diamonds and Orange Diamonds.

    Relatively affordable - Grey, Brown and Fancy Yellow Diamonds.

    As can be seen, blue diamonds are amongst the rarest of the fancy coloured diamonds. They stand at the tip of the second rarest group and are rarer than pink diamonds but less than violet and purple diamonds.  Of course what must be borne in mind is that as with all coloured diamonds, not all blue diamonds are equally rare - the strongest the colour, the more rare the diamond.

    Blue diamonds are not only extremely attractive and highly desired, but they are also one of the most fascinating gemstones in existence.  This is due to their unusual chemical makeup and rich role in history and this is why there is more to blue diamonds than meets the eye.

    How blue diamonds are created

    Quite simply the colour blue is created by the presence of boron.  Whilst the diamond is forming in the earth’s crust, boron particles can become trapped inside the crystal lattice. It is this substance that absorbs yellow light, thus reflecting the stunning blue colour.  The more boron that is present within the diamond, then the deeper the colour of blue.   Like any other coloured diamond, blue diamonds can exhibit a wide range of hues, from pale shades to intense and the modifying colour will be referred to in their gemological grading reports. For example, one of these diamonds may be classified as gray-blue or greenish-blue. It is very common to see blue diamond’s referred to with names regarding their shade, such as midnight, navy, baby, or royal blue.

    It is estimated that less than one-tenth of a percent of all fancy coloured diamonds are rare blues - Type IIb blues.  Even rarer than these are the Type Ia blue diamond’s where the colour of blue is created by the presence of hydrogen within the gemstone which if present in in sufficient quantity creates  a blue-grey or grey-violet colour which is similar to that caused by boron.

    The colour of blue diamonds can also be influenced by exposure to radiation exposure and those that have been exposed are usually described as green-blue. There is another characteristic that sets natural blue diamonds apart for mother gemstones, and that is that they are the hardest conductors of both heat and electricity on Earth.

    Where do blue diamonds come from?

    As blue diamonds are a rarity they are found in very few mines. The Cullinan Mine near Pretoria in South Africa is the primary source of blue diamonds. Owned Petra Diamonds this mine has been the source for some of the most interesting discoveries and sales of blue diamonds. The Argyle mine in Australia, the Golconda mine in India and the Lesteng mine in Lesotho have also yielded blue diamonds but on a less common basis than The Cullinan Mine.

    The value of blue diamonds  

    Due to their inherent rarity natural blue diamonds are highly sought after by diamond collectors and as we said before, scarcity and demand pushes up value!  The NCDIA has reported that prices for natural blue diamonds have been consistently increasing at a rate of 12 to 17% during the last decade irrespective of the saturation level.  So whilst fancy vivid blue diamonds may be less commonly found and more highly sought-after, even fancy light blue diamonds are being sold for some quite astounding prices. In fact in recent years there have been many record-breaking sales of blue diamonds.  As only about two to four important blue diamonds come to market annually this has created a fervour amongst diamond collectors and investors that has inflated the prices achieved at auction.  Of course, as with any diamond, the carat weight, clarity and cut of a blue diamond will also have an impact on the value.

    Famous blue diamonds

    Undoubtedly the most famous blue diamond has to be The Blue Hope Diamond.  This stunning diamond was discovered in the Kollur mine in India by Jean Baptiste Tavernier. When found it weighed a very impressive 112 carats and was described as being a beautiful violet. The GIA have classified The Blue Hope Diamond as a rare fancy dark greyish blue.

    The Blue Hope Diamond was sold to King Louis XVI in 1668, and was recut for the King to wear on a neck ribbon for ceremonial occasions. It was then named ‘Le bleu de France’ (the French blue). In 1830 this incredible was bought by Henry Phillip Hope and was recut and acquired its name as The Blue Hope Diamond.  After numerous other owners The Blue Hope Diamond was purchased in 1949 by New York gem merchant Harry Winston who donated it to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington where it remains on permanent exhibition and is insured for a staggering $250 million!

    Other impressive blue diamonds include The Star of Josephine a 7.0-carat cushion-cut fancy vivid blue and internally flawless diamond that was found in 2008. This diamond sold at a Sotheby's auction in 2009 for $9.49 million, the equivalent of $1.35 million per carat setting a world record at the time for the highest price per carat for any gemstone at auction.

    The Tereschenko diamond a 42.92-carat pear-shaped stone is the second largest fancy blue stone in the world after the Hope.

    Blue diamonds can’t be discussed without mention of the famous Wittelsbach-Graff, which was discovered sometime in the mid-1600s. After being bought, recut and repolished by Laurence Graff, it weighed an impressive 31.06 carats and fetched $24.3 million in 2011.

    More recently, a blue diamond called ‘The Blue Moon’ broke the world record as being the world’s most expensive diamond. It was auctioned at the Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in November 2015 for $48.5 Million Dollars the equivalent of over $4 Million Dollars per carat!  This diamond is an internally flawless 12.03 carat fancy vivid blue and is the highest colour grading and of the highest clarity.  It was discovered by Petra Diamonds in the South African Cullinan mine and was sold to Cora International for $25.6 Million dollars as a rough diamond.


    The colour red is generally associated with love, passion, and strength, therefore it is very fitting that the world’s rarest, most desirable and most valuable of the fancy natural coloured diamonds is the red diamond! Red diamonds are so rare that it is believed that thirty true ‘predominantly red’ diamonds are in existence, and most are smaller than half a carat - ‘predominantly red’ is the description given by the GIA that indicates that red is the primary colour in the diamond with no secondary hues such as purple.  

    Here we take a look at the phenomenon of the world rarest diamonds – the red diamond:  

    Why are red diamonds red?  

    In comparison to other natural fancy coloured diamonds there is very little gemological information about red diamonds largely due to their scarcity.  Colouring in diamonds is caused by various chemical impurities but as red diamonds are wholly comprised of pure carbon experts have long pondered how a gemstone with no such impurities attains such a striking and magnificent colour? 

    It is believed that the red colour is due to rare deformities in the gemstones anatomical structure which resulted from increased stress during the formation of the diamond. These lattice defects internally bend and refract the light that enters the diamond so giving it the red colouration.  Given different sources and amounts of light passing through, red diamonds appear to exhibit different colours and they shine more brightly under natural daylight, and under florescent light they appear much different and dull. 

    Often diamonds that may initially appear to be red to the naked eye are actually fancy deep or dark pinks. The difference between a fairly deep pink and a moderately dark red can be very subtle and almost undistinguishable to an untrained eye which is especially true under poor lighting conditions. 

    Red diamonds really are the exception to the rule  

    All natural fancy coloured diamonds have their colours prefixed by terms such as ‘intense’ or ‘vivid’ when compared in a colour grading scale.  Red diamonds however are the only exception to this rule and the reason behind this is that most gemological laboratories consider the red colour to be unique, as well as, “intense” or “vivid” itself.  However, there have been red diamonds found with slight differences in depth of colour with hues ranging from a lighter and sweeter tone to those with a much darker and deeper tint. 

    Where Are Red Diamonds Found? 

    The vast majority of red diamonds are found in the Argyle mines owned by the Rio Tinto company located in the East Kimberley region in the north of Western Australia and they are often featured in their famous annual Argyle tender. Red diamonds have also on rare occasion been found in the diamond mines of Brazil, Africa. Australia, Russia, and India 

    How much are red diamonds worth?  

    Out of all the natural fancy colour diamonds, red is the most rare, even surpassing pink diamonds. Red diamonds are one of the most expensive and rare diamonds in the world and they will always continue to break records although they rarely appear at auctions. In 1987 the 0.95-carat Hancock Red Diamond was sold for $880,000 in 1987 (you can only imagine what it must be worth now!).  The 5.11-carat Moussaieff Red Diamond was sold for $8 million dollars in 2001 and in 2013, a 1.92-carat Fancy Red rectangular-cut diamond, sold for CHF3.15 million at Christie's, while the auction house also sold a 2.09-carat heart-shaped Fancy Red diamond ring by Moussaieff for HKD39.32 million in 2014.  Since this time, only a limited number of red diamonds have been revealed, increasing their mystique. 


    What is the largest Red Diamond? 

    Red diamonds are so rare that there are only a handful of unmodified reds available on the market, with most of them weighing less than 1 carat in weight.   The world’s largest red diamond is the Moussaieff Red, which weighed in at 5.11 carats and sold for $8 million at auction in 2001 and is estimated to be worth over $20 million today!  It has a triangular brilliant cut sometimes referred to as a trillion or a trilliant cut and is rated in colour as a Fancy Red by the GIA.  Although this may seem relatively small when compared to other famous diamonds, in fact, the Moussaieff Red is the largest Fancy Red the GIA reports having valued.  

    Other famous red diamonds 

    Undoubtedly the most famous and largest red diamond is the ‘Moussaieff Red’ also referred to as the ‘Red Shield’) but other famous red diamonds include the Hancock Red Diamond, the Rob Red and the Supreme Purple Star 

    The Hancock Red Diamond is famous for its rare purplish red colour and weighs 0.95 carat. It is a round brilliant cut red diamond and was named after the famous collector, Warren Hancock who reportedly paid $13,500 for this diamond in 1956, which proved to be a great investment as he later sold it for $880,000 in 1987! 

    The Rob Red is a 0.59 carat fancy red diamond which is pear shaped and exhibits VS1 clarity. GIA colour grading experts described the Rob Red as ‘the most saturated and purest red diamond measured visually and instrumentally to date in the world’.   

    The Supreme Purple Star is a round brilliant cut deep purple diamond that weighs between 2 to 5 carats. The exact colour and clarity of this diamond has not been revealed but when viewing looking at the diamond from one angle, it appears to be of a deep purple colour, however when the diamond is rotated in the light, the colour changes to a very striking and lustrous deep to vivid purplish red colour. 


    Whilst red diamonds are acknowledged as ‘the’ rarest of all the natural fancy coloured diamonds, pink diamonds are considered by experts to also be one of the rarest natural diamonds on earth (along with purple, green, blue, violet and pure oranges). Due to this rarity it is estimated by experts that a pink diamond can cost at least 20 times the price of its colourless (white) equivalent and they are highly sought after by diamond collectors and connoisseurs worldwide for their personal collections and bespoke items of jewellery.  So what is it about pink diamonds that makes them so impressive? Let’s take a closer look:  

    Where in the world are pink diamonds found 

    Pink diamonds have been found in diamonds mines within Africa and India but the Argyle Diamond Mine owned by the Rio Tinto company and located in the East Kimberley region in the remote north of Western Australia, is the world’s only consistent source of pink diamonds. This mine accounts for more than 90-95% of the world’s supply of pink diamonds and also yields the highly rare red diamonds, blue, brown, cognac and champagne fancy coloured diamonds.  

    Despite only opening in 1985, due to the low yield of gem-quality stones, the Argyle Diamond Mine is expected to close by 2020 which further adds to the scarcity and rarity value of pink diamonds Argyle have estimated that “for every million carats of rough pink diamonds produced from the mine, only one polished carat is offered for sale by annual tender.” To put that in perspective, for every 200kg of rough pink diamond that is mined at Argyle, only 0.2g is offered for sale each year as part of the exclusive Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender. 

    How are pink diamonds formed?  

    Considering the rarity of pink diamonds geographically, the obvious question has to be whether the formation of pink diamonds has a direct relation to factors that are peculiar to the Kimberley region where the Argyle diamond mine is located?  

    Like white diamonds, pink diamonds are formed only of carbon within the kimberlite pipes of volcanoes. Pieces of carbon are transformed by extreme heat and pressure into the glass like diamond.   In contrast to other natural fancy coloured diamonds which obtain their colouring from traces of chemical impurities e.g.  a blue diamond from traces of boron in the soil being incorporated into the diamond as it forms, and yellow diamonds are formed due to trace levels of nitrogen,  experts have been unable to identify any chemical impurities in pink diamonds.  Many leading scientists believe that that the pink colour may be a result of historic seismic activity causing the defects which refract pink light. Given that the seismic activity varies wildly from area to area, this could explain why Kimberley and the Argyle mine is the world’s only significant source of these pink diamonds. 

    Famous Pink Diamonds 

    Perhaps the most well-known pink diamond is ‘The Pink Star’, formerly known as the Steinmetz pink diamond, which in April 2017 became the world's most expensive gemstone, selling at auction at Sotheby's in Hong Kong for $71.2 million (£57.3 million) including buyer's premium.  This magnificent gemstone is a huge 59.60 carat and is the largest Internally Flawless, Fancy Vivid pink diamond ever graded by the GIA.  It is rated as Internally Flawless as it has no internal inclusions, and is a Type IIa stone, the coveted classification given to less than two per cent of all gem-quality diamonds, which signifies chemical purity.  The Pink Star was cut from a 132.5-carat rough diamond mined by De Beers in Africa in 1999. It took two years of meticulous cutting and polishing to hone it into its current oval shape. 

    Before the Pink Star sold, the record price for a pink diamond at auction was $46.2 million, achieved by the 24.78-carat Graff Pink, which sold at Sotheby's Geneva in 2010. The Pink Star is more than twice as big as the Graff Pink, and its colour rating, Fancy Vivid, is the highest possible grade on the scale used to assess coloured diamonds, and therefore considered the most valuable. 

    The Graff Pink diamond falls in the top 1 to 2% of diamonds in terms of purity, according to the GIA. Its colour is exceptional and it features an emerald cut. This stone was previously owned by Harry Winston, a world renowned York jeweller who has possessed a number of famous diamonds. He kept it in his private collection for more than 60 years, when it was auctioned in 2010 in Geneva and purchased by Laurence Graff, a legendary diamond collector known as the “King of Bling.” He paid $46.2 million, which, at the time, was the most expensive diamond in the world. When Graff decided to buy this diamond he had planned to make it even more valuable than it was. Using cutting-edge technology, experts were able to eliminate potential defects considered as flaws, such as blemishes. Graff also planned to intensify the colour of the diamond, which can be achieved through cut. 

    Equally famous is the Darya-ye Noor, or “Sea of Light”, a 182 carat diamond which is pale pink in colour and weighs an impressive 186 carats. It is said to originate from the Golconda mines in India.  It was originally part of the crown jewels and was worn by many kings as part of their ceremonial dress until 1739 when the Persian army retrieved it and returned it back to Iran where research teams believe that the diamond was part of an even larger diamond that was divided into two pieces. Now featured as part of the Iranian Crown Jewels, the Darya-ye Noor is currently showcased at the Central Bank of Iran, in Tehran. 

    The Noor-ul-Ain pink diamond has also graced royal families. It is an absolutely stunning 60-carat oval brilliant-cut pink diamond which was given to Empress Farah Diba in the form of a tiara when she married Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the last shah of Iran. The centrepiece of the tiara is the famous pink diamond, surrounded by hundreds of coloured diamonds. 

    Other famous pink diamonds include The Martian Pink diamond which is a very rare 12.04 carat stone that was named in 1976 by US jeweller Harry Winston to commemorate the year that the Americans sent a satellite to Mars and was auctioned in Hong Kong for $17.4m (£11.1m).   The Rose of Dubai a pear-shaped Fancy Coloured Loose Pink Diamond weighing an impressive 25.02 carats, and the Princie Diamond which is a cushion cut fancy intense pink diamond boasting VS2 clarity which weighs 34.65 carat.  

    Are pink diamonds a good investment?  

    The answer to this question has to be a definitive yes.   Although pink diamonds are among the most valuable jewels today, 20 years ago they were little more than a geological curiosity. Sales have been driven by savvy marketing and a growing appreciation of their uniqueness. As the main source of pink diamonds the Argyle mine estimates that there are less than 500 tender quality diamonds yet to be unearthed in their mines, each day these extremely limited edition stones are becoming rarer still.  It is for this reason that those that weigh less than one carat can often command staggeringly high prices at auction reaching anywhere between $100,000 per carat to over $1,000,000 per carat, depending on the colour intensity, cut, clarity, and other given factors.


    Are you the sort of person who likes to break the mould and turn heads wherever you go? Do you seek out the spotlight rather than shy away? Well if the answer to either these questions is yes then you may want to consider the choice of yellow diamonds for your engagement ring or other item of diamond jewellery.
    Natural fancy coloured diamonds are rare and yellow diamonds are amongst the rarest. They have become increasingly popular over the last decade with many A-listers choosing these stunning gemstones over the tradition of white diamonds. Jennifer Lopez is reported to love yellow diamonds and is often seen wearing a stunning 30 carat yellow diamond ring on the red carpet. Heidi Klum, Hillary Clinton, Kelly Clarkson, Cheryl Cole, even American R&B star Usher all enjoy the beauty of yellow diamonds. Of course, the most famous wearer of yellow diamonds must be Marilyn Monroe. She wore a fabulous 24-carat yellow diamond, famously known as the Moon of Baroda, to the Hollywood premier of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The diamond belonged to the royal dynasty Gaekwad Maharajas and Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. It was reportedly cursed, and was said to have been the source of Monroe’s misfortune and ultimately, her death.
    Nothing makes a statement quite like a yellow diamond and this is perhaps the reason that this is one of the most sought after of the natural fancy coloured diamonds. Natural Fancy yellow coloured diamonds come in various intensities: light Yellow, fancy light Yellow, fancy Yellow, fancy intense Yellow (also called Canary Yellow) and fancy vivid Yellow. In addition, yellow diamonds are often found with high clarity grading. Both facts have obvious impact on their pricing. With that in mind, the nice thing about natural Yellow Diamonds is that they are considered relatively affordable when examining the niche of natural coloured diamonds. However, prices do of course increase as the colours reach higher intensity colours. Some of the yellows with the higher intensity of colour (e.g. Fancy Vivid Yellows) are as rare as blue and pink diamonds and this will of course be reflected in the astronomical price that they can command!
    Although faint yellow in white diamonds is viewed as undesirable, fancy intense yellow is highly prized and sought after. South Africa today is currently one of the main producers of these natural coloured gems, India did yield some yellow diamonds in the 16th and 17th centuries, but this supply has been exhausted in recent times. The first authenticated yellow diamond was in fact found in South Africa and was the 10.73 yellow Eureka. By the early 20th century, South Africa had also produced the 128.51 Tiffany, the 130 carat Colenso, the 228.50 DeBeers, and the 205.07 Red Cross.

    Why are Diamonds Yellow?

    One of the main contributors towards the colouration of yellow diamonds is the presence of Nitrogen molecules occurring in higher concentrations than any other element during the diamonds formation. These molecules of nitrogen absorb blue light making the diamond appear yellow, yellow being the natural complement to the colour blue. The secondary colours for yellow diamonds include grey, green, orange, brown and even olive.

    Famous yellow diamonds

    Perhaps the most famous yellow diamonds was that discovered in South Africa in 1877 - the Tiffany Yellow diamond. This diamond was cut into a cushion style and weighs an amazing 128 carats. Set in what is known as the ‘Bird on a Rock’ setting, the diamond was made famous by the iconic movie ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. Today, the piece, still in the ‘Bird’ setting, is on permanent display on the ground floor of Tiffany’s, New York.
    Other famous yellow diamonds include the Kimberley Octahedron which is believed to be the largest yellow diamond. This incredible gemstone weighs a phenomenal 616 carats. It is the 14th largest, gem quality, rough diamond in the world, and was discovered in 1972 in the Dutoitspan mine, South Africa.
    The Sancy diamond is another famous example of a stunning yellow diamonds and it has a rather romantic history. Weighing in at 55 carats, this yellow diamond fluoresces yellow and pink. The romantic part of the tale lies in the legend of its origins as it is thought to be an Indian diamond which Charles, Duke of Burgundy is said to have lost in on a battlefield in 1477. The name of the diamond comes from its first verified owner, Nicholas Harlai of Sancy who was a French ambassador. He purchased the diamond in Constantinople in the late 1500’s. It passed back and forth, being sold between France and England, ending up with the Astor family, who sold it, in 1978, back to France and it now resides in the Louvre.
    Due to their the growing popularity of yellow diamonds, more and more brides to be are changing their preference from the classic diamond engagement ring to yellow diamond engagement rings - adding a little touch of NOW to the classics. Here at Reve Diamonds ee offer a superb selection of yellow diamonds in a variety of shapes and cuts to suit all tastes and budgets, and provide a bespoke engagement ring design service should you be looking for that something just a little more special incorporating your very own ray of sunshine – a yellow diamond!


    Fancy yellows are the most popular of all natural coloured diamonds. They are also the most commonly produced fancy coloured diamonds. It is estimated that around 60% of all natural coloured diamonds belong to the fancy yellow category. There are many misconceptions regarding fancy yellow diamonds and they have often been mistaken as a ''common'' coloured diamond or as a rare gem. This has led to a lot of confusion and misconceptions in terms of categorization.

    The majority of yellows are located just below the centre of the value scale. At the upper end of this scale are some exquisite vivid diamonds that have reached up to 6 figures or more per carat in actions.

    What makes a diamond yellow?

    The yellow colour of a diamond is the result of nitrogen molecules absorbing blue light, making the diamond appear yellow (yellow is the complement of the colour blue). While in rough form a natural yellow crystal is usually cut into a large and a small stone. Larger stones feature a much more intense yellow than smaller cuts. Faint, very light and light yellows are not considered fancy colour diamonds. They are graded on the D-Z color grading scale, generally at the lower end of the scale.
    Light yellow diamonds originated in South Africa's Cape Province.


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