Diamond Education Center | What are ‘Fancy Colored Diamonds’?

Diamonds have long been treasured for their exquisite beauty and unrivaled sparkle. Among the most captivating variants of this precious gemstone are Fancy Colored Diamonds. These remarkable gems, celebrated for their captivating hues, have carved a unique niche in the world of luxury and sophistication. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of Fancy Colored Diamonds, exploring their types, and the factors influencing their colors.


What are ‘Fancy Colored Diamonds’?

“Fancy Colored Diamonds,” often simply referred to as “colored diamonds,” are a unique and mesmerizing category of diamonds that display vibrant and distinct colors beyond the traditional range of colorless or near-colorless diamonds. These diamonds derive their allure from the presence of specific chemical impurities or structural anomalies within their crystal lattice, resulting in a diverse spectrum of colors. Here are some key characteristics of fancy colored diamonds:

Fancy Colored Diamond

Vivid Hues: Unlike colorless diamonds, which are prized for their pure, transparent appearance, colored diamonds showcase a wide range of hues, including but not limited to shades of yellow, brown, blue, pink, green, red, and orange.


Diverse Types: Colored diamonds are classified into various types based on their primary color. Some of the most common types include yellow and brown diamonds, blue diamonds, pink diamonds, green diamonds, red diamonds, and orange diamonds. Each type exhibits its unique charm and rarity.


Intensity and Saturation: The beauty and value of colored diamonds are influenced by the intensity and saturation of their color. The more vivid and pure the color, the more valuable the diamond. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) uses a grading scale to assess the intensity of color, ranging from “Faint” to “Fancy Vivid.”


Rarity: Fancy Colored Diamonds are relatively rare compared to their colorless counterparts. Some colors, such as red and green, are exceptionally rare and command exceptionally high prices in the market.


Natural and Treated: While many colored diamonds owe their hues to natural processes, some may undergo treatments to enhance or alter their color. It’s crucial for consumers and collectors to be aware of any treatments and ensure proper disclosure when purchasing colored diamonds.


Celebrated Examples: Several famous colored diamonds have gained worldwide recognition. Notable examples include the Hope Diamond (blue), the Pink Star Diamond (pink), the Moussaieff Red Diamond (red), and the Tiffany Yellow Diamond (yellow).


Investment Potential: Colored diamonds, especially those of intense and rare colors, have demonstrated strong investment potential over the years. Their scarcity, uniqueness, and growing demand from collectors and investors have led to substantial price appreciation.

Types of Fancy Colored Diamonds

Colored diamonds come in a diverse array of colors, and they can be categorized into several primary types:


Yellow and Brown Diamonds: These are among the most common-colored diamonds and range from light to intense shades. The presence of nitrogen impurities in the diamond’s crystal structure gives rise to these colors.


Blue Diamonds: Blue diamonds are characterized by a cool and tranquil hue. The element boron is responsible for the blue coloration. The Hope Diamond is a renowned example of a blue diamond.


Pink Diamonds: Pink diamonds exude a delicate and captivating charm. Their exact coloration remains a subject of mystery, but it is attributed to extreme pressure during the diamond’s formation. Pink diamonds from the Argyle mine in Australia are particularly prized.


Green Diamonds: Green diamonds are rare and coveted for their striking verdant tones. Natural radiation exposure is believed to be the cause of their green color.


Red Diamonds: Among the rarest of all colored diamonds, red diamonds are exceptionally precious. They derive their color from structural anomalies within the diamond’s crystal lattice.


Orange Diamonds: These diamonds showcase lively and warm orange hues. Their coloring is attributed to a combination of nitrogen and specific defects in the crystal structure.

Orange Diamonds

Fun Facts About Fancy Color Diamonds

  • The Cullinan Dream, a 24.18-carat blue diamond, was sold for over $25 million at auction in 2016.


  • The Moussaieff Red Diamond, a 5.11-carat red diamond, is one of the world’s most valuable gemstones.


  • The Tiffany Yellow Diamond, weighing 128.54 carats, is one of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered.


How Do Fancy Color Diamonds Get Their Color?

Fancy Color Diamonds derive their captivating hues from various factors, including the presence of specific chemical elements or structural anomalies within the diamond’s crystal lattice. Here’s how different colored diamonds get their colors:


Yellow and Brown Diamonds: The most common colored diamonds, yellow and brown diamonds, owe their colors to the presence of nitrogen impurities within the diamond’s carbon structure. The nitrogen atoms absorb blue light, allowing the diamond to appear yellow or brown.


Blue Diamonds: Blue diamonds are exceptionally rare and acquire their stunning blue color from the presence of boron impurities. Boron atoms within the diamond’s crystal lattice absorb red, yellow, and green light, causing the diamond to emit a cool and serene blue hue.


Pink Diamonds: The exact cause of pink diamonds’ color remains a scientific mystery, but it is believed to result from extreme pressure during their formation. This pressure alters the diamond’s crystal structure, affecting the way it interacts with light and producing delicate pink hues.


Green Diamonds: Green diamonds are the result of natural radiation exposure over millions of years. This exposure causes defects in the diamond’s crystal structure, leading to the absorption of light in the blue and yellow parts of the spectrum, resulting in a green coloration.


Red Diamonds: Red diamonds are the rarest of all colored diamonds and are exceptionally valuable. Their red color is thought to be caused by structural anomalies or distortions within the diamond’s lattice. These distortions absorb green light, leaving behind the vibrant red color.


Orange Diamonds: Orange diamonds derive their color from a combination of nitrogen impurities and structural anomalies similar to those found in red diamonds. The interaction of these factors results in the warm and lively orange hues.


Purple, Violet, and Gray Diamonds: These diamonds may contain a combination of hydrogen, nitrogen, and other impurities. The presence of these elements affects how the diamond interacts with light, leading to purple, violet, or gray colorations.


Black Diamonds: Black diamonds, often called “carbonado,” are unique in that they are not truly black but are composed of numerous black, gray, or dark inclusions. Their opaque appearance results from these inclusions scattering and absorbing light.


Multi-Colored Diamonds: Some rare diamonds exhibit multiple colors, often in the form of color zones or patterns. These unique gems are highly prized for their complexity and beauty.


Fancy Colored Diamonds are an enchanting subset of gemstones that captivate with their stunning hues and rarity. From their diverse types to the factors influencing their colors and their intriguing grading system, colored diamonds continue to be coveted by collectors, investors, and admirers of fine jewelry. While they can be valuable investments, due diligence and a deep understanding of the market are essential for those considering entering the world of colored diamond investments.

GIA 4Cs Color D-to-Z

In the world of diamonds, every nuance matters. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) recognizes this and has established a comprehensive grading system, known as the 4Cs, to assess a diamond’s quality. Among the 4Cs, “Color” plays a crucial role in determining a diamond’s rarity, beauty, and value. This article offers an in-depth exploration of what diamond color is and what it means, as well as a detailed examination of the GIA Diamond Color Grade Chart and valuable buying tips.


The Importance of GIA

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is indeed entrusted with the responsibility of grading and certifying some of the most important and valuable diamonds in the world. Its reputation for accuracy, consistency, and impartiality has made it the preferred choice for evaluating and documenting the quality of these exceptional gemstones. Here’s why GIA is the go-to institution for grading important diamonds:


Rigorous Grading Standards: GIA is known for its rigorous and standardized grading criteria. Its expert gemologists use strict guidelines to evaluate diamonds, ensuring that each stone is assessed consistently, regardless of its size or value. This consistency is crucial when dealing with significant and valuable diamonds.


Unbiased Assessment: GIA is an independent organization with no commercial interests in the diamonds it evaluates. This impartiality is essential for accurately assessing the quality of high-value diamonds and providing unbiased certification.


Global Recognition: GIA’s diamond grading reports are globally recognized and respected. This recognition is especially important for diamonds that are bought, sold, and traded on the international market. GIA certification adds credibility and trust to these transactions.


State-of-the-Art Equipment: GIA employs advanced gemological equipment and techniques to assess diamonds. This includes specialized tools for examining diamond characteristics like cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. High-value diamonds benefit from the precision and accuracy of these assessments.


Protection against Fraud: GIA’s rigorous testing procedures, which include checking for synthetic or treated diamonds, protect buyers and sellers from fraud and ensure the authenticity of valuable diamonds.


Historical Significance: Many famous and historic diamonds have been graded and certified by GIA. These diamonds, such as the Hope Diamond and the Blue Moon Diamond, are essential parts of the gemological and cultural heritage.


Educational and Research Contributions: GIA’s commitment to education and research benefits the entire diamond industry, including the assessment of important diamonds. Their research advances our understanding of gemology and helps improve the standards and practices in the industry.


Confidence for Buyers and Sellers: When it comes to significant diamonds, the stakes are high. GIA’s certification provides confidence to both buyers and sellers by offering an expert, impartial assessment of a diamond’s quality.


What Diamond Color Is and What It Means

Diamond color refers to the presence or absence of color in a diamond, with the most prized diamonds being completely colorless. The GIA color scale ranges from “D” (colorless) to “Z” (light yellow or brown), with each grade representing a subtle shift in hue. Understanding this scale is vital when evaluating a diamond’s quality:

Diamond Color

Colorless (D to F): Diamonds in this range are exceptionally rare and valuable. They are completely devoid of any discernible color, appearing icy white. These diamonds allow the most light to pass through, resulting in extraordinary brilliance.


Near Colorless (G to J): These diamonds contain minute traces of color that are typically difficult to detect with the naked eye. GIA grades within this range denote slight color warmth, but they remain highly desirable and are more budget-friendly than colorless diamonds.


Faint (K to M): Diamonds in this range exhibit a noticeable, yet faint, yellow or brown tint. While they are more affordable, their color becomes increasingly visible, especially in larger stones.


Very Light (N to R): Diamonds in this range have a more pronounced color, which can be seen even without magnification. They are less popular for engagement rings but can be suitable for jewelry styles that complement the color.


Light (S to Z): The diamonds in this category exhibit a significant presence of color, ranging from light yellow to light brown. While they are the most budget-friendly, their color is quite apparent and may not be preferred for traditional diamond jewelry.


Diamond Color Grade Chart

The GIA Diamond Color Grade Chart assigns a letter grade to diamonds based on their color. This chart serves as a universal standard for assessing and communicating a diamond’s color quality. Here’s a brief overview of the GIA color grades:

  • D: Exceptionally rare and valuable, D-grade diamonds are completely colorless. They appear icy white and are highly sought after for their unparalleled brilliance.


  • E: E-grade diamonds are also considered colorless and are nearly indistinguishable from D-grade diamonds. They represent an exceptional level of quality.


  • F: F-grade diamonds are virtually colorless and offer excellent value. Any color present is extremely subtle and challenging to discern.


  • G-H: Diamonds in the G-H range are considered “near colorless.” They may display a trace of warmth when compared to higher-grade diamonds but still appear almost colorless to the naked eye.


  • I-J: These diamonds fall within the “near colorless” category and are an excellent balance of quality and affordability. They may exhibit a slightly detectable color, primarily when compared to higher-grade diamonds.


  • K-M: In the “faint” category, K-M-grade diamonds exhibit a noticeable but faint yellow or brown tint. They offer a cost-effective choice for those seeking larger diamonds.


  • N-R: Diamonds graded N-R have a more apparent color presence, making them suitable for jewelry styles that embrace their warm hues.


  • S-Z: Falling into the “light” category, S-Z-grade diamonds have a significant color presence, with colors ranging from light yellow to light brown. These diamonds are typically more budget-friendly.


Buying Tips

When purchasing a diamond, it’s essential to consider the following tips regarding color:

Diamond Buying Tips

Understand Your Preferences: Consider your personal preference for diamond color. Some individuals prefer the brilliance of colorless diamonds, while others may appreciate the warmth and character of diamonds with faint color.


Balance with Other 4Cs: Remember that diamond color is just one of the 4Cs. Balance it with considerations of cut, clarity, and carat weight to find the perfect diamond within your budget.


Certification Matters: Always opt for diamonds with GIA certification. GIA’s strict grading standards ensure accuracy and transparency in diamond color assessment.


Consider Metal Choice: The metal used in your jewelry setting can impact how a diamond’s color appears. White metals like platinum or white gold can enhance the appearance of colorless diamonds, while yellow gold or rose gold may complement warmer-colored diamonds.


View in Different Lighting: Assess the diamond’s color in various lighting conditions to see how it performs in everyday settings.



The GIA’s 4Cs, with a particular focus on diamond color from D to Z, offer a comprehensive framework for evaluating and purchasing diamonds. Understanding the nuances of diamond color, consulting the GIA Diamond Color Grade Chart, and considering your personal preferences are essential steps toward selecting the perfect diamond that aligns with your budget and desired aesthetics. Ultimately, whether you choose a colorless masterpiece or a diamond with a touch of warmth, each diamond possesses its unique charm and beauty.…