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Friday 9th September 2022

Colorful Stones: Diamonds vs. Other Gems

Natural color diamonds are exceptional gems. For each tone to develop, very specific conditions had to be met for millions of years. Special care goes into cutting and polishing the rough stones to capture and accentuate their unique hues. Faint or vibrant, fancy color diamonds are coveted by collectors, investors, and jewelry lovers.

Color stones like emeralds, sapphires, and rubies are also associated with historical jewels and fine modern pieces. Every gemstone has its own set of unique features that make them desirable. In this blog, we’ll explore how colored stones compare to natural color diamonds.

Keep reading to learn more about:

  • Precious stones vs. colored stones

  • Color treatments and other enhancements

  • 5 Reasons to choose color diamonds


The 4 Precious Stones

Diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are recognized as the four precious stones. Features such as their hardness, scarcity, and their continued use in high jewelry—as well as their affiliation with various crowns and royal houses—have helped create a distinction between precious stones and other gems.

Hardness it’s a critical property for precious stones; it describes their resistance to scratches and abrasion.


Their deep green tint has historically been associated with good luck, health, and wealth. Emeralds are beautiful gems, and depending on their origin, specific hue, and other features, they can make great investments and durable jewels.


1.25 ct Heart Cut Natural Green Olive Diamond


Things to consider when purchasing emeralds:

  • Emeralds score a harness between 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale, a qualitative scale that ranges from 1 to 10 classifying the resistance of various minerals. They require more care than diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. This is why they are cut in the classic Step Cut with clipped corners (also known as Emerald Cut) which protect the stone from blows and reduce the chances of chipping or breakage.

  • Eye-clean emeralds are incredibly rare. Inclusions are considered the norm. Sometimes, the mossy appearance of these inclusions receives the name of ‘jardin’, French for garden.

  • Emeralds are commonly subjected to a clarity-improving treatment called oiling. The amount of oil used is typically specified as: ‘No Oil, ‘Minor’, ‘Moderate’, or ‘Significant.’

  • Emeralds are not highly recommended for engagement rings as their natural fractures and inclusions make them more prone to damage with daily use. Engagement rings call for a center gem that can withstand heavy, continuous wear, as our hands are in constant movement and exposed to contact.

  • Never clean your emerald jewelry with an ultrasonic machine. The micro-vibrations could damage your stone causing cracks.

Read Next: A Guide To Natural Green Diamonds


Sapphires & Rubies


0.52 ct Pear Cut Indigo Blue Diamond.

Sapphires and rubies are two different kinds of the same mineral: Corundum. Depending on their color, Corundums can receive the name of Ruby or Sapphire. Sapphires are best known for their deep blue hues, but they can also present yellow, green, pink, and orange colors, among others. Rubies are a particular range of saturated red Corundum. 

Famous Red Diamond: The Moussaief Red


Natural Fancy Intense Pink Diamonds.


Things to know about rubies and sapphires:

  • Corundum has a hardness of 9, making it more scratch-resistant than emeralds, but still below diamonds.

  • Sapphires and rubies have a low light dispersion, so they don’t present as much fire as a color diamond.

  • Corundum can present a broad range of clarity levels. Some rubies and sapphires can be completely opaque. Clarity is one of the top value determining factors for Corundums.

  • Sapphires and rubies are often color-treated to improve their saturation. Heating is a common practice but must be disclosed. Other enhancements are considered less desired, and some are even deceptive. Beware of color and clarity treatments when shopping corundum and always request a lab report.

  • Sapphire and rubies are safe to clean in ultrasonic machines.

From our blog: For Blue Diamonds, the Sky is the Limit


Colored Stones

The classification of ‘precious’ and ‘semi-precious’ stones has no scientific definition, which is why it is falling out of favor, and it’s being replaced by the single general term of ‘colored stones.’ 

For example, what it’s known as aquamarine is a very particular, light shade of bluish green Beryl. When Beryl displays highly saturated green hues, it’s classified as an emerald. Despite being two varieties of the same mineral, emeralds were considered precious and aquamarine semi-precious. 

Radiant Cut Natural Peacock Blue Diamond.

Whether you find them described as precious, semi-precious, or colored stones, remember each gem is valued over different sets of characteristics. There is no single quality scale or grading system that can be applied to all varieties of colored stones.

Learn More About Rubies, Sapphires, and Emeralds


Colored Stones Treatments & Other Enhancements


Assortment of colored stones.

Oil Filling

Because of their natural formation process, emeralds typically contain fractures and other inclusions. To fill up these imperfections, they are often oiled. Oil filling is considered a standard treatment in emeralds to improve clarity. However, the treatment should always be disclosed, preferably mentioning the kind of oil that was used.

Fracture Filling

Besides emeralds, other gemstones such as sapphires and rubies can also present fractures that are sometimes filled with epoxy or other resins. As this practice adds more carat weight and drastically improves clarity, it’s sometimes used with bad intent to reach higher prices without disclosing it. Find reputable sellers and always read the laboratory report.

Diffusion Treatment

Lattice diffusion is a process that involves heat and chemicals to change a gemstone’s color artificially. This treatment can be used to either improve color, or add color to an almost colorless stone. Diffusion-altered gems cost less than naturally colored stones. This treatment is not permanent; treated stones have shown changes in color over the years.


Heating is a more widely accepted treatment for sapphires and rubies. However, heated gemstones will have less value than natural, non-altered, colored stones.


5 Reasons To Choose Color Diamonds


  1. Diamonds are the hardest mineral

Oval cut Fancy Intense Yellow diamond engagement ring with a diamond pavé band.

Diamonds score a 10 in thee Mohs scale; they are the hardest mineral known. Only another diamond can scratch it. This is an excellent quality to have in terms of durability.

In the Mohs scale of hardness, a 9 and a 10 might look closely related, but they are farther apart than they seem. The absolute hardness value for 9 gems is 400, and for 10 is 1500; that’s a significant increase. Diamonds are the only mineral with a 10 hardness score.

  1. Unaltered natural colors

Diamonds don’t need to be subjected to color or clarity treatments that could lower their value or create impermanent results. At Langerman Diamonds, we’ve mastered the art of cutting and polishing color diamonds to preserve and amplify their natural hues.

  1. A standard quality system

Diamonds have the advantage of a universal method for quality grading: The 4C’s of Diamond. Color, clarity, cut, and carat weight are easy to describe and identify using different scales. Lab reports provide a comprehensive description of a color diamond’s characteristics. This makes it easier for the buyer to understand the unique features of the gem they are buying and the traits or aspects that impact its value.

There is no broadly accepted grading system for color gemstones. Therefore, GIA and other major laboratories don’t offer quality grading reports. Instead, the reports provide descriptions of the gem’s characteristics. Some laboratories offer more detailed reports than others.

  1. Unparalleled Luster

Pear Cut Natural Pink diamond from the Argyle mine.

Here we can group many features that revolve around a diamond’s high refractive index, such as brilliance, scintillation, and fire. All of these terms describe different aspects of a diamond’s sparkle. The optical properties of diamonds give them an exceptional luster that looks even more unique in Fancy color diamonds.

  1. Interesting Financial Investment

Natural color diamonds are recognized worldwide as a great investment. A few characteristics that make them financially interesting include the fact that they are small and portable, they are rare and sought after and that they are commercially attractive bing easily resold. Colored stones on the other hand are very hard to resell, unless they are of the highest quality and can be auctioned. The past few decades the market has seen that color diamonds not only keep their value, but have increased up to double digits,, making them a very interesting long term investment.

Contact us, and our team will help you find the perfect Fancy color diamond for your project.

Tags: Color Diamonds, Colored Stones, Color Gems,

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