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When you hear the word diamond what image automatically springs to mind? For many people the answer will be a clear, almost white, sparkling gemstone. And you would of course be right, but did you know that diamonds are also found in other colors?
Colored diamonds are admittedly a rarity, but they do exist in a vivid rainbow of colors. They are referred to as ‘natural fancy colored diamonds’, and it’s easy to see why they are a rarity in the world of gemstones as only 10,000 diamonds actually possesses natural fancy color. That’s less than 1% of diamonds annually graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) which are classified as fancy colored diamonds, making them the most highly prized of stones.
Whilst natural fancy colored diamonds have always been highly desired for their rarity, in the last three decades their popularity has increased dramatically. This can be largely attributed to the Western Australian Argyle mine which cleverly started to market its brown diamonds in the 1980s using the trade names of ‘Cognac’ and ‘Champagne’ so increasing the appeal of natural fancy colored diamonds to jewelry buyers. This mine is also responsible for 90% of the global supply of red and pink diamonds.
If you’re considering the purchase of natural fancy colored diamonds we’ve compiled a short educational guide to help you understand a little more about these beautiful gemstones and to assist you in selecting the natural fancy colored diamond that is perfect for you.
Natural fancy colored diamonds are formed within the Earth’s core by exactly the same process as traditional white diamonds. However, there’s one unique difference that causes the presence of coloration within these diamonds.
Within their chemical composition, natural fancy colored diamonds exhibit structural defects or impurities which are caused by the conditions prevailing during the crystallization process when the diamond was first formed. Foreign particles that become trapped during this crystallization process effect and alter the chemical process which results in diamonds with rare and unique colorings and different intensities of these hues.
The different colors of natural fancy colored diamonds are created by different particulates and trace minerals which result in different colors and intensity of color:
Blue natural fancy colored diamonds are a result of the presence of the impurity of boron. Boron bonds to carbon within the crystal structure of the diamond and absorbs the yellow, red and green areas of the color spectrum so creating a blue natural fancy colored diamond. Many blue diamonds are seen to be modified by a secondary gray tone or saturation that’s uneven which is what makes highly saturated blue diamonds extremely rare and very desirable.
It is still unproven as to what factors actually cause the formation of purple and violet natural fancy colored diamonds. However, it’s thought that the presence of hydrogen may be partly responsible for their hue.
The colors of pink and red natural fancy colored diamonds are created by a combination of highly intense heat and pressure whilst these diamonds are buried within the Earth’s core. These two factors work together to distort the structure of the crystal lattice so that when it absorbs green light this then reflects a pink hue. Red natural fancy colored diamonds are the rarest of all colors. They are thought to be essentially deeply colored pink diamonds. Whilst very attractive and rare they are not the most valued of natural fancy colored diamonds.
Nitrogen is the element responsible for the coloration of brown, yellow and orange natural fancy colored diamonds. When the diamond is forming, Nitrogen atoms in its carbon crystal structure arrange themselves in such a way that the blue range of the color spectrum is absorbed so producing a yellow color. Brown and orange coloration is caused by a specific grouping of these Nitrogen atoms that causes absorption of light in both the blue and yellow spectrums. Brown and yellow are the most common of the natural fancy colored diamonds.
Just as they are about to leave the uppermost layer of the Earth’s crust, green natural fancy colored diamonds absorb natural radiation which causes them to absorb yellow and red light so reflecting a green hue which gives them their color.
Black natural fancy colored diamonds are made up of many tiny black crystals. They are bound together by internal inclusions which hold the tiny diamond particles together – this is known as a polycrystalline structure and is the reason that this type of diamond exhibits a dark black color. In addition, unlike colorless diamonds, black natural fancy colored diamonds absorb rather than refract and reflect light.
With natural fancy colored diamonds these gemstones are graded by the and valued by the GIA using the factors of color, tone, saturation and hue of the diamond. It is the combination of these factors that determine the value of the diamond with color being the most important attribute in determining value.
The first step of the grading process for natural fancy colored diamonds is to asses the diamonds ‘face up’ color set against a neutral gray background to determine the basic color of the diamond. Once the color is determined comparisons to a representative color are made using defined color space areas split into boxes. The natural fancy colored diamond is placed in one of the boxes to identify the color characteristic that most closely matches that of the stones. The diamond is then color classified according to the description of the color space it sits within.
Hue, tone and saturation are also used in grading natural fancy colored diamonds. Hue being the primary color of the diamond, the GIA identifies 27 hues each of which has a range of color possibilities. Tone is the definition of his light or dark the hue and saturation is the intensity of the diamond’s coloration.
Nine grades are used within the GIA color grading system for natural fancy colored diamonds. These are:
In terms of value, whilst colorless diamonds decrease in value as their color become stronger, whereas fancy natural colored diamonds increase in value as the color becomes more vivid and pure. So the stronger the hue of natural fancy colored diamonds correspondingly the more valuable the diamond.
The Hope Diamond is perhaps the most famous of natural fancy colored diamonds. It is deep blue in color with VS1 clarity, and has a cushion antique brilliant cut with a faceted girdle and extra facets on the pavilion. This stunning diamond is of a deep blue color and is an impressive 45.52 carat stone. The Hope Diamond was originally extracted in the 17th century from the Kollur Mine in Guntur, India. It is widely acknowledged as one of the most sought after diamonds and its ownership can be traced back over four centuries.
Other famous natural fancy colored diamonds include the Tiffany diamond which was mined in South Africa in 1877 and is a canary yellow diamond of 128.54 carat. The most famous fancy colored red diamond is the Moussaieff Red mined in the 1990s in Brazil and when extracts was measured at 13.9 carats but was cut down to 5.11 carats. The Dresden Green is a natural apple green diamond which it is believed was mined in India in 1722 and is an impressive 41 carat.
Natural fancy colored diamonds are becoming a increasingly popular choice for both pieces of costume jewelry and colored diamonds engagement rings being worn by many red carpet celebrities and fashionistas. They are a fabulous choice for the fashion-forward woman who likes to express her unique style, or the woman who adores a touch of glamour. Alternatively, the choice of a natural fancy colored diamond is perfect for a lady who has a signature color such as pink to express her femininity or a pop of blue to accentuate her blue eyes.
Reve Diamonds offer a wide range of GIA certified highest quality natural colored fancy diamonds. The shape, carat, cut and clarity of your chosen natural fancy diamond is entirely your choice, and our team of diamond experts will work with you to find the perfect diamond to suit your tastes and budget.