Even if they have been “forgotten” for a long time, natural color diamonds were already used by the Romans in the 2nd century. And of course, it is well known that diamonds were the most prized gemstones in India, many centuries ago. Thus it isn’t surprising to learn that already in the 6th century, the Indians had created a grading system for colored diamonds. Indeed, the members of each caste were allowed to only wear specific colors. For instance, brown diamonds were for warriors whereas merchants could only have yellow ones. The kings were the only ones allowed to possess all the colors.
Since that time, the natural color diamonds grading system has evolved quite a lot and has improved as these stones have progressively captured attention.
The grading of natural color diamonds is a recent field, and research is still ongoing
It is to meet the increasing need of the market to evaluate colored diamonds that some laboratories have started to issue certificates specifically dedicated to natural colored diamonds. Today, the best-known are: GIA, IGI and HRD.
In the mid-1950s, the GIA created the first Colored Diamond Color Grading System. Its purpose was to evaluate yellow diamonds falling outside the normal colorless to light yellow (D-to-Z) color range. Then throughout the years, the system was expanded to other hues to accommodate the increasing number of requests.
In Europe, the IGI has been issuing certificates for diamonds of all colors since its creation, in 1975. As for the HRD, it created its first Diamond Color Certificate in 1983. To this day, this laboratory is more renowned for its colorless diamond certificates.
"The grading of natural color diamonds is a recent field, and research is still ongoing."
In the Winter 1994 issue of Gems and Gemology, the GIA published a key article “Color Grading of Colored Diamonds in the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory”containing a thorough explanation of its color grading methods. In this article, the laboratory expanded and enhanced its grading system of natural colored diamonds. The refinements made included adding new color descriptions such as “Fancy deep” and “Fancy vivid” to the existing ones. These were: Faint, Very light, Light, Fancy light, Fancy, Fancy dark, and Fancy intense.