What Are Fancy Color Diamonds?

Fancy colored diamonds are naturally colored diamonds. Past the color grade Z – on the white diamond scale – each color is the cause of certain alterations in the atomic structure of the rough. Once mined, the diamonds are cut to a shape the gemologist thinks will best highlight their incredible color. Fancy colored engagement rings are particularly stunning and eye-catching.

Yellow diamonds are the most common of the fancy colored diamonds, but are still rare compared with white diamonds.  They are a popular choice for red carpet jewelry and engagement rings, due to their eye-catching tones. The yellow color is caused by the natural presence of nitrogen within the diamond’s structure. Some yellow diamonds also contain secondary tones of other colors, such as red, pink, and orange. Each one has its own hue, but they are categorized along a range of color saturations: fancy light yellow, fancy yellow, fancy intense yellow, and fancy vivid yellow.

Fancy pink diamonds are rarer than their yellow counterpart. Running from very light pink to vivid pink, those with the most saturation are more valuable. For a long time, the cause of their color was a mystery. Now, scientists believe that extraordinary heat causes an atomic-level change in the diamonds’ lattice structures. This alters the way light is absorbed and reflected, allowing them to appear pink. The biggest source of these diamonds is the Argyle Mine in Western Australia, producing over 90% of the world’s supply.

Every organically blue fancy diamond is unique in its color. From light blues tinged with grey, to deep, rich tones, each is truly stunning. The blue color is caused by boron, sometimes mixed with hydrogen and nitrogen. Boron, when trapped in a diamond’s matrix, emits a beautiful blue tone. Fancy blue diamond engagement rings are incredibly valuable – and currently generating a lot of interest internationally. Two fancy blue diamonds are about to be auctioned: the ‘Royal Blue’ 10.6-carat diamond, expected to sell for $9.8 million, and a round-cut vivid blue from Sotheby’s Hong Kong, with an estimated value of $19 million.

Fancy green diamonds are rarer than any other fancy color, save for red. Their unique tones are caused by beta and gamma rays affecting the outer layers of the diamond. This means that over time, their green color will fade – which contributes to their rare beauty. As with other fancy colors, the more vivid the diamond’s hue, the more valuable it is.

Fancy orange diamonds contain unique blends of pink and yellow – and to be considered genuinely fancy, they must contain very limited traces of brown. The pink tones are caused by incredible heat levels altering the diamond’s lattice structure, while yellow are caused by the presence of nitrogen. Because of their rarity, each diamond is appraised by its own individual color – placed on a spectrum from fancy orange to fancy dark orange. The Argyle Mine produces many of the world’s fancy orange diamonds, as well as fancy pinks.