World of Color Diamonds
White (or colorless) diamonds are graded and valued – among other criteria – on the purity and near-absence of their color, whereas natural color diamonds are graded on the intensity of their color (with 12 main natural diamond colors, 9 intensity grades, and over 230 color combinations. Nothing is as important as the diamond’s color. However, hue, saturation and tone help to determine the price.
The color intensity and rarity of the color can raise a diamond’s value significantly. Natural color diamonds are among the rarest gemstones on Earth and so unique that no two are identical. Of all diamonds that are mined, less than 0.1% display natural color – making them 10,000 times rarer than the more common colorless stone.
In addition to being among the most frequently-requested color due to its relative affordability, the Yellow diamond is also one of the most common of the colors available. They range from very faint to Fancy Vivid Yellow, though most are lighter in color. The intensity is determined by the quantity of nitrogen atoms absorbed during crystallization. Found in mines around the world, Yellow diamonds are most often discovered in South America and South Africa. One of the largest and most famous of these stones is the Tiffany Diamond which has a cut weight of 128 carats, though diamonds that match its size and its depth and intensity of color are extremely rare.
Blue diamonds are mined in Australia and South Africa, and their rarity and value are matched only by the Red diamond. The per-carat price of a Blue diamond can be wide-ranging, depending on the clarity, color and size. The most well-known Blue diamond is the Hope Diamond. The level of color saturation in a Blue diamond is determined by the amount of boron in its composition.
Brown diamonds are more frequently referred to as Cognac or Champagne. These diamonds are also among the more readily-affordable and are available in a wide range of hues. Like the Pink diamond, the Argyle Diamond mine is the leading producer of Brown diamonds. With that mine’s scheduled closure in 2018, however, it is expected that Brown diamonds will become more scarce and far less affordable.
The Pink diamond is by far the celebrity of natural color diamonds. Highly-sought and very rare, they earn some of the highest per-carat auction prices of any diamond. This, in addition to their radiant beauty, has contributed to their consistent appreciation in value over the past decade. Approximately 95% of the world’s Pink diamonds come from Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond mine in Australia, and those that are sold at Argyle’s annual diamond tender are literally one in a million. When the mine is closed in 2018, analysts predict a very dramatic increase in price as Pink diamonds become even rarer.
Despite being relatively small at a mere 5.54 carats, one of the largest Fancy Vivid Orange diamonds is known as the Pumpkin Diamond – made famous when Halle Berry wore it to the 2002 Oscar Awards ceremony. Orange diamonds approach the rarity of Red diamonds while sharing the unique brilliance of the Yellow, making them a prized find of the world’s diamond enthusiasts.
The Earth’s largest stone of this extremely rare color, the Moussaieff Red Diamond weighs only 5.11 carats and was discovered in Brazil in the 1990’s. The Red diamond is, in fact, the rarest of all natural color diamonds. Only a handful of pure Red diamonds are certified as Fancy, and their deep, romantic color make them an exquisite lifetime investment. The Argyle Diamond mine is again responsible for most natural Red diamonds in existence, which means their value is increasing due to the mine’s closure in 2020.
Natural Green diamonds are also quite rare, while their price can vary greatly. Lighter hues are priced more reasonably, although Green diamonds of the Fancy Intense or Fancy Vivid variety are very scarce. Said to be internally flawless, the 41 carat Dresden Green Diamond is the most famous and among the most exotic of this color. The gorgeous hue of the Green is created by natural exposure to Earth’s radiation.