Fancy Colored Diamonds And How The Color Impacts Their Price
Naturally Colored Diamonds Are The Rarest Of The Rare
You may already know about whitish diamonds, i.e., the traditional colorless solitaires used in engagement rings which you can easily buy in a jewelry outlet.
Let’s talk about natural diamonds (white or colorless) first, which are different from Synthetic Diamonds. If you think that they are expensive because they are very rare to find, you are absolutely right. Now assume if you are lucky and one day dig out 10,000 natural white diamonds from the earth’s surface, the odds are that you would find only ONE colored diamond in that lot. That’s how rare a colored diamond is.
Arguably, natural colored diamonds are the world’s most valued gems out there. In an auction in 2017, the 59.60-carat Pink Star diamond was sold for $71.2 million (that’s over ₹495 crore!) and set the record for the world’s most expensive gemstone ever sold.
Now let’s calculate the price per carat for this stunner’s sale.
₹495 crores / 59.60 carats = ₹8.3 crores per carat!
The Pink Star diamond was cut down from its rough weight of 132.5 carats to acquire its present oval shape.
In white (colorless) diamonds, the color is visible due to flaws (inclusions or imperfections) found in their structure. Higher the tint means lesser the value.
However, it is totally opposite for the naturally colored diamonds. Stronger the color, more vivid is the fascination, and higher becomes the price. Fancy colored diamonds inherit their strikingly beautiful appearance by traces of minerals and even absorbing naturally occurring radiation during their formation.
As a scientific example, diamonds with a range of blue tinge get their color from Boron. Due to bonding of Boron particles with the crystal structure of carbon under intense heat and pressure conditions spanning for millions (or billions) of years deep within the earth’s surface, only the red, yellow & green areas of the color spectrum are absorbed – leaving a shade of blue as a gift for the stone.
Pink color appears due to irregularities in the diamond’s crystal structure, not by external particles. Light distortions caused during high-pressure-high-temperature conditions dislocate carbon particles from their perfect molecular structure, permanently altering the diamond’s reflection in the shades of pink for the observers. A darker shade of pink or purple would mean that more carbon particles would have been displaced during the formation.
Similarly, traces of different elements are responsible to create colors in diamonds. Nitrogen particles pass the shades of orange and yellow, Nickel gives greenish hues, and Graphite and Iron inclusions are responsible for the shades of black.
Red diamonds are considered the rarest of all. Unlike other colors, a red diamond is the result of a very isolated and extremely rare phenomenon, modifying the atomic structure of carbon particles during the formation process. Only 25 to 35 red diamonds are thought to exist in the markets all around the globe.
Nature’s possibilities go way beyond our imagination as a mix of external elements, nearby rocks’ influence, type of radiation or the degree of pressure & temperature can combine and forge a precious stone of any color for us to ponder.
Mother Nature takes millions and millions of years to create a small piece of shiny rock. Our 50-year old modern technology can just try to figure out the precise information. After all, the preciousness is what we look for and it’s worth it.
What exactly should you do to buy a colored diamond?
Just like the colorless solitaires, we wish there were a standard to evaluate the true value for colored diamonds. However, every colored diamond is peculiar, one-of-a-kind and deserves special attention of diamond-grading professionals.
Nevertheless, there are renowned institutes like GIA which would love to appraise any fancy stone in question. The 4Cs (Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat Weight) are the obvious factors, but the purity and strength of color is something which considerably influences the true value of a naturally colored solitaire.
All the diamond grading companies maintain their own standards to evaluate colored diamonds. A detailed report provided by them would tell you about the color origin (natural or treated) along with modification attempts made to improve the clarity. Yet, the fancy diamonds are assessed independently as every gem like that would have some distinctive characteristics.
For colorless (white) diamonds, you may read more about the grading process here: Buying A Diamond: Look For The Certificate
Here’s how the 4Cs are different for colored and colorless diamonds:
With the rise of technology, diamonds can also be synthetically manufactured using sophisticated machines and can possess exactly the same optical & physical properties of a natural counterpart. Synthetic diamonds are comparatively affordable to buy but do not match the global market demand for real diamonds.