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Wednesday 7th September 2022

4 C’s Fast Track: Diamond Color

The ideal of white or colorless diamonds being the ultimate object of desire was implanted and perpetuated by successful marketing campaigns first launched in the late 1940s. But appreciation for natural color diamonds can be traced back centuries. At one point in India’s history, color diamonds were even part of their caste system. Depending on someone’s rank or social status, they would be allowed to own black, yellow, white, or other color diamonds.

Since the 1970s, awareness and demand for natural color diamonds have been growing. Film and media have brought attention to historical pieces like The Hope Diamond and immortalized others, like The Tiffany Diamond, in iconic campaigns and red carpet looks. Many fancy color diamonds have achieved fame for their record-breaking prices at auctions, like The Graff Pink.

This is the third article in our series about the 4 C’s of Diamond. 

Read on to learn more about:

  • Diamond Color Grading

  • Fancy Diamond Colors

  • What Causes Color in Diamonds?

  • The Rarest Diamond Colors

  • Natural Color Diamond Buying Tips

Also read: 4 C’s Fast Track - Diamond Cuts


Diamond Color Grading

Color Comparison of Grades D-H-N-Z. Credit: GIA.


The traditional diamond color scale measures the presence of yellow and its degree of saturation. Diamonds get one out of twenty-three possible color grades, from D to Z, where D is assigned to completely Colorless gems and Z to Light Yellow diamonds. The lack of color is considered the most desired option in this grading system. Diamonds that display yellow tints are usually less expensive.

However, not all diamonds fit into this scale. First of all, yellow is not the only color that can be present in diamonds. Secondly, diamonds’ price increases greatly after the presence of yellow reaches a certain saturation level.

Vibrant yellow diamonds and other color diamonds fall into the Fancy Color Diamond category. This class describes diamonds with a stronger color presence than the traditional color scale.


Fancy Color Diamonds

Fancy Colors have different hue saturation levels as well. Since this category encompasses multiple shades like Yellows, Blues, Greens, Pinks, etc., there is no single linear scale that can describe color intensity. Instead, fancy color diamonds are divided into different groups, from Faint to Fancy Dark.


Fancy Color Chart According To GIA. Credit: GIA.


However, this classification is not as specific as it seems. As you can see in the chart above, Fancy Blue diamonds have very different hue intensities despite being in the same group.

At Langerman Diamonds, we have spent over 50 years observing and identifying particular shades of color diamonds. We have developed a unique naming system comprising over 300 colors. Our intention is to evoke an emotion, a feeling, or a memory that can better communicate the specific hue. Explore our inventory, and you’ll find Mint Greens, Peacock Blues, and Pumpkin Orange diamonds.


What Causes Color in Diamonds?


Princess Cut Fancy Orange Yellow Natural Diamond.


In most cases, diamond color results from interaction with other elements’ molecules during the formation process. Canary diamonds, for example, owe their vibrant yellow color to traces of nitrogen. Boron is responsible for making diamonds blue. Green diamonds are a unique case; their electric hues are the result of radiation exposure but don’t worry, they are completely harmless. Pink diamonds are also exceptional in that trace elements are not typically found in them. Instead, the pink hue is caused by a distortion in the diamond’s crystal lattice.

Learn more about The Origin of Color


The Rarest Diamond Colors 

Natural color diamonds have an added layer of scarcity and rarity. To put it in perspective, only 1 in 10,000 carats of diamonds display fancy color. And when you look at intense color, the chances are even lower; only 1 in 25,000.

The Moussaieff Red is a 5.11 ct Triangular Brilliant. Image Credit: GIA


Red diamonds are by far the rarest natural color of all. The origin of their color is still not clear. The scientific community hasn’t reached a consensus, but the most accepted theory is crystal lattice deformation.


Pear Cut 0.52 ct, Fancy Gray-Blue Diamond.


Green diamonds are considered to be the second rarest color. It becomes hard to determine which colors should take the following places. But Blue, Pink, and Orange diamonds are more scarce than Brown and Yellow diamonds.


Buying Tips For Natural Color Diamonds


1.93 ct, Pear-Cut Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond, from the Zimmi mine.


Natural color diamonds are rare, but each color has varying value factors. For example, Canary Yellow diamonds from the Zimmi mine in Sierra Leone possess unique characteristics and display a very intense color, making them more expensive than other Yellow hues. Pink diamonds from the Argyle mine in Australia are also highly coveted—especially since the mine closed operations in November 2020.


Natural Purple Diamonds from Langerman.


Besides origin, the intensity and purity of color also play a role in value. Faint colors tend to be more affordable than vivid ones. Pure colors are extremely rare to find; those kinds of diamonds command the highest prices. Secondary tints and color modifiers are found in every fancy color and are not an undesired feature. Lavender and Violet diamonds, for instance, which are excellent investments, are often a combination of Purple, Pink, and/or Brown. Many blue diamonds have some degree of Gray, and Olive diamonds have hints of yellow.

Clarity, often a defining price factor, is not as impactful for fancy diamonds; color and carat weight are the key value influencers.

Discover more about natural color diamonds in our collaboration with Rapaport Special Supplement: The Full Spectrum.


Contact us, and our team will assist you in finding the ideal Natural Color Diamond for your needs.


Tags: Diamond 4Cs, Diamond Color

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