colored diamonds, fancy diamonds, red diamond, orange diamond, yellow diamond, green diamond, blue diamond, purple diamond

Rare Natural Colored Diamonds

by Kat Morrow

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The rarest of diamond colors is not a pure white, completely colorless diamond. Rather, diamonds are formed in nature with beautiful natural colors that happen during their formation due to other minerals, natural chemicals, or internal stress.

I was introduced to these rare colored diamonds early in my gemological career by my mentor, Robert J. Haack, as he was a collector of these unusual gems, and he had hundreds of them in every shape, size, and color literally.

I wish I had kept a photo of his collection, for he arranged them on a thin sheet of wax in a layout of a “peacock” to showcase the beauty of his many years of acquiring these rare treasures.  I accompanied him on many of his travels worldwide to search out these unusual phenomena.  

Did you know you can find diamonds in all colors of the rainbow? It’s true. These colored diamonds are called fancy diamonds, and you can find them in bright colors like red, pink, vivid yellow,  purple, green, and orange! So if you’re looking for a unique engagement ring, wedding ring, or piece of fine jewelry, a colored diamond is definitely worth looking into.

Colored diamonds are priced and graded just like colorless diamonds, following the 4Cs of diamond quality—cut, color, clarity, and carat. The color grading is dramatically different, though, as these diamonds undergo incredible changes to their chemical structure during formation and can be very rare. Only 1 in 10,000 natural diamonds is fancy! Judging the subtle nuances in color, saturation and tone takes years of experience and expertise to acquire such a discerning eye, which is ultimately quite subjective.

So yes, rare can mean expensive, but don’t let that scare you! Champagne, salt and pepper, and black diamonds, for example, are less expensive, and of course, the less saturated the color, the less expensive. Demand also plays a role in pricing. The more in demand any one color is, the more expensive. There is no standardized pricing for these rare gems, so the market is a little more open to interpretation and negotiation depending on exactly how rare a diamond trader thinks his gem is and how much he may want to sell it.  I’m here to help you navigate all of these unknowns and find the color diamond you’re looking for within your price range.

These Fancy Diamonds are Real!

You can certainly buy lab-created colored diamonds, but they actually form naturally, each with a unique way of getting the colors.

For example, blue diamonds get their color from boron bonding with carbon some 410 miles below Earth’s surface; yellow and orange diamonds get their color from nitrogen bonding with carbon. Brown, red, and pink diamond colors are created by intense heat and pressure, causing internal stress and distortions. Green diamonds absorb naturally occurring radiation within the soil just before exiting the Earth’s last layer of crust. Hydrogen and lattice distortion play a part in the color of purple diamonds.

The Most Expensive Diamonds Ever Sold at an Auction

It’s really fun to watch from afar as these diamonds make their way into Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction houses and their new owners’ hands.

In 2021 the 15.81-carat purple-pink internally flawless Sakura diamond sold for $29.3 million. The Orange, a pear-shaped 9-carat orange diamond, sold for $35.5 million in 2013. The cushion-cut 34.65-carat pink Princie diamond sold for $39.3 million in 2013. The most expensive diamond ever sold at auction is the CTF Pink Star. This 59.60-carat pink diamond sold for a staggering $71.2 million, the most expensive per-carat diamond ever sold.

I LOVE discovering and sourcing unique colored diamonds for my clients. Contact me so we can find a fancy color diamond to fit your personality and style you’ll be wild about! And – I’ll help you custom design a ring to show off the beauty of the color and shape of the diamond you choose. Imagine wearing a completely one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry that no one else in the whole world has.

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