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Perhaps the most common of natural colored diamonds are yellow gemstones which typically have a high level of clarity. It is important to ensure that you do not buy a yellow diamond with large black inclusions, since they are easily spotted in yellow stones.
Retaining the maximum saturation of color is achieved by manufacturers by cutting yellow diamonds quite thickly. This is not visible, however, when the diamond is set, and does not influence the value of the stone. Although fancy, intense and canary yellow are the best-known shades of yellow, there is a wide range of shades stretching from vanilla to honey, bronze and saffron.
There have been many famous yellow diamonds, such as the 110-carat Sun Drop diamond, and the 128-carat Tiffany Yellow Diamond.
Yellow diamonds are among the more common natural color diamonds. They often have a good clarity, and it is especially important to make sure that they have no large black inclusions, as these will be very visible in a yellow stone. Yellow diamonds can sometimes be cut quite thick, which is intentional, to keep as much saturation as possible in the color. This will however not be visible when the diamond is set in a jewel, and it doesn’t affect the value of the diamond. Fancy yellow, intense yellow and canary yellow are the most well-known yellow shades, but you can also find lovely colors such as vanilla, honey,bronze and saffron among the natural yellow diamonds.
Some of the largest and most famous natural color diamonds are yellow – such as for example the 110 carat Sun Drop diamond, and the 128 carat Tiffany Yellow Diamond.
As with other colored diamonds, pure orange diamonds, without any traces of yellow or brown, are exceptionally rare. Therefore, prices are very high.
Again, as with other colored stones, an orange diamond with a trace of another color, such as yellow, will cost less. Even an orange diamond with a small dash of yellow will appear orange, while providing a more affordable price point prices. Orange diamonds range from bright pumpkin to apricot, saffron and cognac.
These are so named because they temporarily change color. They do not actually fit into a color of their own, but are sold in their own category due to their ability to change color. They are found in relatively few color combinations, such as grey-yellowish, greyish-yellowish, grey, greyish, grey-greenish, brownish greenish, and green-yellow.
Chameleon diamonds are natural color diamonds that change between two colors with either heat or light conditions. They can change color from orange to olive and yellow to olive, and vice-versa.
The rarest of colored diamonds after red diamonds are natural green diamonds. Not surprisingly, prices are therefore very high. However, mixed green colors, such as mint, lime and olive attract lower prices.
After red diamonds, natural green diamonds are the second rarest. Consequently, pure green diamonds are very difficult to find, and can thus command extreme prices. It is however important to remember that the mixed green colors such as olive, lime and mint, remain at more reasonable prices, and we are always here to try to help you find something that suits your budget and preferences.
Brown diamonds are the most widespread of colored natural diamonds. For many years, brown was regarded as a less attractive color and most were allocated for industrial purposes. But technical progress and an increase in marketing efforts brown diamonds have grown in popularity as gemstones.
Brown diamonds compose a large part of Australia's diamond production. The origin of the brown color is regarded as being a result of irradiation treatment, nickel impurities and lattice defects associated with plastic deformation. And this last reason is regarded as being the principal cause. However, a high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) treatment has been created to repair lattice defects and convert brown diamonds into yellow or even colorless stones.
Gray diamonds typically run the range from a light smoky color to deep graphite. They are regarded as having a distinguished and elegant appearance, and gray diamonds provide a largely neutral color that can merge with any fashion look, with metallic hues giving sparkle and fire.
Gray diamonds are the result of hydrogen being trapped in the atoms at the time they were created. As a result, they contain beautiful shades of silver that have a refined and distinguished appearance. Gray diamonds frequently contain blue and green hues as secondary colors.
The prices of pink diamonds are continuously rising because they are both rare and highly sought after. Most natural pink diamonds are from the Argyle mine in Australia. But output is forecast to end in 2018 when the mine is shut down. Most pink diamonds from the Argyle mine are smaller stones, and larger stones, of 1.5 carats and more, exceptional.
Purplish-pink stones see the highest prices, while pink diamonds containing tiny traces of yellow, orange or brown are less valuable. It is very hard to find pink diamonds with very high levels of clarity. However, if they do not have a harmful effect on the effect of the diamond, impurities in pink diamonds are seen as reasonable.
Furthermore, pink diamonds typically feature growth lines in their crystal lattice that are frequently visible, and which can give them a slightly dim appearance in the center of the stone. This is a natural feature, however, and not regarded as a deficiency.
Pink diamonds are among the rarest, and at the same time most popular and sought-after natural color diamonds.
Almost 100% of the natural pink diamonds come from the Argyle mine in Australia, where production is coming to an end as the closure of the mine is planned for 2018. The pink diamonds found in the Argyle mine today are mostly smaller stones, and the production of more important stones, over 1.50 carat, is therefore more or less over. This increasing rarity and the popularity of pink diamonds have led to a steep rise of prices, which have increased 100 times since 25 years. Consequently, pink diamonds have become more and more interesting for mid- to long-term investment.
Pure pink diamonds and purplish pink diamonds are the most expensive of the pink diamonds, but it is important to keep in mind that just by adding a tiny streak of yellow, orange or brown, the old rose and burgundy colors, they become more affordable.
Pink diamonds have been exposed to a tremendous pressure when rising through the earth, which is thought to be the origin of their color. However, this pressure also affects their clarity, and it is consequently rare to find pink diamonds with a very good clarity. It is important to keep this fact in mind when choosing your pink diamond, and to remember that as long as they do not have a negative effect on the beauty of the diamond, some impurities in pink diamonds is perfectly ok.
Something else that is typical for pink diamonds is that the growth lines in the crystal are often visible, which can give them a slightly dim appearance in the center of the stone. This is a completely natural phenomenon, and not considered as an imperfection.
Pure natural purple diamonds are so rarely found or available on the market as to make them almost non-existent. They usually contain pink or gray modifiers, which as a consequence prevents them from receiving a fancy purple grade in laboratory reports.
There is a range of mixed purple colors available on the market, including pinkish-purple, grayish-purple or purplish-pink, in hues of lilac or lavender.
Purple diamonds are believed to have been created as a result of extremely high pressures during their rise through the earth. Subsequently, purple stones often contain impurities because of the rough conditions to which the stones were subject. However, this is a known fact and not considered to work against these diamonds as long as they do not work heavily against their overall beauty.
Most of the pure purple diamonds come from Russia, whereas the provenance of grayish or pinkish purple diamonds is often the Argyle mine in Australia.
Natural red diamonds are the rarest of all natural colored stones. So much so that fewer than 10 such diamonds are produced annually in the whole world. Moreover, only a relatively small number of red diamonds have ever received the grade of fancy red - the purest form of red diamonds. They frequently contain modifying colors, including pink, purple and brown, thus providing a mixed effect.
However, in contrast to other colored diamonds where traces of additional colors usually reduce the price, a brownish or purplish-red can cost almost as much as a fancy red, since the base color – red – in itself is so rare.
Long associated with kings and royalty, in addition to the classic blue diamond, they can contain one or a combination of shades of gray, green, and violet.
Blue diamonds are among the rarest of natural color diamonds, and supplies are becoming increasingly scarce as the only mine in the world that produced really pure blue diamonds, in South Africa, closed.
There is still a small output of blue diamonds from the Argyle mine in Australia, which is best known for its production of pink diamonds. The Argyle blue diamonds are different to those that came out of South Africa. They are usually dark blue, and have a metallic glow. Frequently, they have little streaks of gray, giving them a steel blue color, and some have traces of violet.
The blue color changes with light much more than do other colors. Blue diamonds do not have the blue color of sapphires, but either a sky blue or a darker metallic blue.
Blue diamonds are by nature among the rarest of natural color diamonds, and supplies are becoming scarcer and scarcer as the only mine in the world that produced really pure blue diamonds, in South Africa, has dried up and closed.
The blue diamonds that were produced in South Africa have a beautiful sky blue color that is very subtle and soft, but still clearly pronounced even in light blue stones.
In the Argyle mine in Australia, which is most famous for its production of pink diamonds, there is still a small production of blue diamonds, which will however come to an end in 2018 when the production in the mine is planned to close. The Argyle blue diamonds are different to the ones that were formerly produced in South Africa, in that they are often dark blue, and have a metallic glow to them, and often little streaks of gray, giving them a steel blue color. Some of them have traits of violet in them, which gives an exceptional color combination.
Blue is a color that changes with light, more than other colors, which is a spectacular an interesting feature. What is important to remember when looking for a blue diamond is that they are never blue like sapphires, but always either a sky blue or a darker metallic blue, with the unique exception of the Hope diamond. It is also important not to have too strict criteria in terms of shape or size when searching for that perfect blue diamond, since they are becoming so extremely rare.
Natural black diamonds are very rare, and often have a fairly poor color and clarity, with gray stains and scratches on the surface. This is the reason why heated black diamonds have become common and popular on the market. Heated black diamonds are natural diamonds, whose color has been improved by a heating process in a vacuum.
The benefit of heated black diamonds is that they are much more reasonably priced than entirely natural black diamonds, and also that it is possible to get a beautiful stone with a good clarity and color.
Clarity is much more important for black diamonds than for other natural color diamonds. They are the only non-transparent diamonds, and their appearance is like that of a mirror. Consequently, the smallest scratch or other impurity on the surface will be very clearly visible in a black diamond.
The existence of nitrogen and a high concentration of submicroscopic inclusions that scatter light, created a translucent ‘milky’ white color and give us natural white diamonds. Because natural white diamonds look similar to opals, they are on occasion referred to as 'opalescent'.
Natural fancy white diamonds, or ‘opalescent’ diamonds, must not be confused with colorless diamonds, which are commonly denominated ‘white’ diamonds. Natural fancy white diamonds have an inherent snow-white color, giving them a translucent, ‘milky’ appearance, similar to that of opals. Pure white diamonds with no secondary colors are rare and highly desirable to dealers and collectors. They also come in brownish, bluish, yellowish or grayish nuances.
The color in natural color diamonds is caused by different factors that were present during their formation, such as pressure, atoms of other elements, or natural radiation.
Yellow, Orange and Brown coloris due to the presence of nitrogen. Pure orange diamonds, with no traces of brown or yellow, are the rarest, and their color is believed to be the result of a combination of nitrogen presence and deformities in their structure.
Blue color is mainly due to the presence of boron. The higher the concentration of boron atoms, the more intense the color will be. For some greenish blue diamonds, the color can also be due to radiation, that was present in the earth during their formation. In very rare cases, grayish blue color has also been found to be caused by the presence of hydrogen.
Pink, Purple and some Brown colors are due to ‘graining’, which is a deformation of the crystal lattice in the diamond. This phenomenon can be seen in many diamonds coming from the Argyle mine in Australia, using a 10x magnifying glass. Depending on the level of graining, different shades will appear in the diamond. Scientists believe that this is due to the extreme pressures that the diamonds have been subject during their rising through the earth. It is also believed that this pressure is the reason why many of the diamonds in this color range, especially pink and purple ones, often have a lot of impurities.
Pure Violet diamonds, which are extremely rare, are the result of hydrogen presence in the diamond’s crystal lattice.
Natural Gray diamonds derive their color from presence of hydrogen atoms and sometimes small amounts of nitrogen.
Natural Green diamonds have a color that is due to gamma radiation that the diamonds have been exposed to in the earth during a very long time period, which is thought to possibly be several million years. This natural procedure causes atoms in the diamonds crystal structure to be displaced, which is the source of the green color. In some very rare cases, the presence of hydrogen atoms can cause a grayish green color to appear.
Natural Red diamonds derive their color from a process known as ‘plastic deformation’, which is a slipping or a distortion of the atomic lattice.
Natural White diamonds have a color that is thought to be the result of a presence of nitrogen and a high concentration of submicroscopic inclusions that scatter light, yielding their characteristic translucent ‘milky’ white color. The nature of these inclusions is unknown. Natural white diamonds are sometimes called 'opalescent’, since the dispersion of the light looks somewhat similar to that of opals.
Several different color scales exist for natural color diamonds – just like for white diamonds. For example, for pink diamonds from the Argyle mine in Australia, a specific color scale exists, that is used alongside the more widespread color scale that is used by laboratories. At Fancy Diamond Group, we have developed our own color scale. Using 50 years of experience of natural color diamonds and taking inspiration from nature, we have created color denominations that are more expressive and easier to relate to than laboratory colors, such as chocolate,raspberry and indigo.
For natural color diamonds the major laboratories that we work with, the GIA and the IGI, use the same color scale.
These are the different components of a diamond’s laboratory color:
Hue referes to the dominant color of a stone, such as pink, yellow, blue, green or brown, for example. There can also be modifiers, or tints, which lend more than one hue to a stone, placing it in yet another color category. For instance, a purplish-pink diamond indicates a pink diamond with purplish tints. If no such tints are present, the hue of the stone is said to be a pure primary color. It is important to note that white and black have no modifiers.
Tone represents how light or dark a stone appears, depending on how much brown, black, gray or white is present.
Saturation describes the strength or intensity of the hue or the main color. The saturation of lightly toned diamonds varies from light to fancy, intense and vivid. Darker diamonds will range from deep to dark in description.
Distribution refers to how evenly the color is spread throughout the diamond.
While some laboratory colors are fairly easy to imagine without having seen the diamond, such as for example greenish-blue, others can become extremely complex and difficultly accessible. Fancy dark greenish gray, or fancy intense orangy brown, are examples of these complicated denominations.
In order to simplify the usage and the communication of color denominations, Natacha and Arthur Fancy Diamond Group has developed the Fancy Diamond Group Selection, a color scale inspired by the rich palette of colours than can be found in nature. Instead of naming a diamond yellowish green, it will be called Lime, or Mint. Instead of purplish pink, it will be called Lavender or Lilac, and orangy yellow will become Pumpkin or Saffron. The idea is to make the denomination more accurate, and easier to relate to.
More and more customers as well as professionals in the trade have adopted this user-friendly color scale, and refer to the colors from the Fancy Diamond Group Selection. Throughout our web shop, you will see the Fancy Diamond Group Selection colors noted alongside the laboratory colors, and in our Book Store a poster with the entire seletion is available for purchase, in two sizes.
Fancy color is not to be confused with fancy shape – they have little to do with each other. Fancy shape designates all the different diamond cuts that are not round brilliant cuts, regardless of color. Fancy color on the other hand, designates a diamonds color in relation to the traditional color scale used for colorless diamonds. Most of the diamonds that are extracted from the earth are in the colorless to light yellow range (D to Z grade).
Fancy color diamonds go off this scale, as they have a distinct and opulent color. Unlike colorless and near colorless diamonds which are valued for their lack of color, fancy color diamonds are valued precisely for the intensity and distribution of theirs. These diamonds are extremely rare and tend to be found mostly as small stones weighing less than a carat. For every 10,000 colorless diamonds of gem quality, only one natural color diamond will have made the trip from the depths of the earth to its surface. It is the entirely natural process of geological formation which ensures that each natural color diamond is unique.
The formation of natural color diamonds requires not only the special conditions necessary for the creation of all diamonds, but also the presence of additional trace elements and distortions to the typical diamond crystal. If an element interacts with carbon atoms during the creation of a diamond, the diamond’s color can change. Radiation and pressure on a diamond’s structure will also have an impact on its color. Read more about the origin of color here.
Fluorescence is a phenomenon present in around 1/3 of all diamonds. This causes them to glow under ultraviolet (UV) light, which is abundant in natural daylight and also in some artificial lighting. Diamond fluorescence is usually blue, but can shift in almost any color and is due to small amounts of the element boron which are present in the stone.
Whereas fluorescence is a debated subject for white diamonds, since it can render diamonds with a lesser color whiter, and contrarily render white diamonds of a good color ‘milky’, the situation is a different one for natural color diamonds. Fluorescence can enhance or change the color of a natural color diamond in magnificent ways, and is then considered as purely positive. A green diamond with a strong green fluorescence for example, is beautiful as the fluorescence enhances the color. A pink diamond with a blue fluorescence will appear gorgeously purplish.
The most famous and clear example is maybe the yellow and orange diamonds from Brazil, which often have a very strong green fluorescence. This creates wonderful color effects, and gives the impression that the diamonds are glowing.
It is of course a matter of taste, whether you like fluorescence in some colors or not, but in any case it is important to keep in mind that for natural color diamonds, the presence of fluorescence is not considered as a negative thing.
In light of the growing interest in color diamonds it is important to clear the confusion between treated or synthetic diamonds on the one hand, and natural color diamonds on the other.
Technological developments now allow us to create diamonds of almost any color, either completely artificially or from natural diamonds whose color is unattractive (not clearly defined, yellowish, brownish etc). Such stones can be manufactured at will, resulting in the production of goods that are the exact contrary of what they are substituting for: diamonds by definition are unique, rare, and exceptional.
A natural color diamond is unique. It is a product of nature, shaped by millions of years of crystallization. Its color is the product of chance and no two natural color diamonds can be identical: it is this uniqueness, this rareness that gives them all their value.
Natural and treated color diamonds are two completely different products that operate on two completely different markets. The intrinsic value and the price of each of these cannot even begin to be compared. And the confusion which now exists - and some would say is willfully created by some manufacturers of treated diamonds - is dangerous since it will impact on consumer confidence.
Natural color diamonds are to be considered like any authentic work of art - a painting by a Master, an ancient sculpture, a signed piece of furniture. Treated or synthetic diamonds are only pale imitations, created by the thousands and sold at low cost - just as is the case for copied works of art.
There are two types of treatments: treated natural diamonds, and synthetic diamonds. The aim of treating natural diamonds is to artificially improve their quality by changing one or several of their characteristics, thereby increasing their value. Such treatments generally target color and purity.
For color, treatments can help to resolve problems related to quantity and uniformity: if a jeweler needs a hundred or so identically colored diamonds to set in a pav?, treating an entire lot of diamonds will enable him to obtain a more uniform color. The main types of treatments are presented hereunder. This list is as complete as possible however this area is still the subject of much research and development.
Synthetic diamonds are created artificially from carbon. This process barely requires three weeks, compared to tens of thousands of years for natural diamonds. Only laboratories possessing leading-edge technology are able to detect these diamonds, which have exactly the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds. Laboratories do not deliver certificates for these stones.
The Argyle mine in Australia is alone in the world to produce natural pink diamonds of the color intensity that can be found there. Some very light pink diamonds can be found in South Africa, but for the more intense colors, Argyle is the only source.
We often receive questions from clients interested in pink diamonds from the Argyle mine about the yearly Argyle Tenders, and the Argyle certificates that they issue.
Every year, the Argyle mine in Australia highlights a selection of their most vibrant, intense natural pink diamonds, and offer them for sale at an invitation-only tender. The pink diamonds chosen for the tenders are some of the finest pink diamonds to be found. For every one million carats of rough diamonds produced in the mine, only one polished carat is offered for sale at the tender. Prospective buyers place sealed bids and, assuming the reserve price is reached at the tender deadline, the winning bidder is notified of their success.
It goes without saying that these diamonds are extremely rare on the market, but even if you can’t lay your hands on a pink diamond from an Argyle Tender, it is still possible to find gorgeous, one of a kind pink Argyle diamonds. Being among the rarest of the natural color diamonds, they are all little miracles of nature. Have a look at our selection of rough pink diamonds and polished pink diamonds in our web store.
The pink diamonds over 0.50 carat that are polished in the Argyle mine and sold by Argyle Diamonds, receive an Argyle Gem Identification Certificate. It thus exists only for a part of the pink diamonds originating from the Argyle mine. An Argyle certificate is not the same thing as a certificate issued by a laboratory, but a description of the characteristics of the diamond based upon the application of the grading techniques used by Argyle Diamonds. It states weight and shape, as well as the color and clarity grading according to the special scales used by Argyle.
Since we are manufacturers at Fancy Diamond Group, we mostly buy rough pink diamonds directly from the Argyle mine, and cut and polish them ourselves. For those diamonds there are therefore no Argyle certificates. We can on the contrary always provide laboratory certificates for any diamond purchased from us.
Laser inscriptions on diamonds are used for two purposes: identification and personalization of the diamond. Some laboratories propose to inscribe the certificate number of the diamond, for identification. It is also used by some manufacturers as a sort of “branding” – such as the ‘Forevermark’, that is used by De Beers to mark some of their most exceptional diamonds.
You can also use it to personalize your diamond, by inscribing a personal message, a date, a place, your name, or some other special information on the diamond.
Laser inscriptions are made using an extremely fine laser beam, to “write” on the diamond. The heat from the laser alters a very thin layer – only a few atoms thick – from the transparent carbon crystal that is the diamond, into graphite, which is an opaque carbon structure. The effect is that under a microscope the inscription appears three-dimensional. The laser inscription is microscopic, and completely invisible to the naked eye. You need a 10x magnifying loupe to see it.
What is important to keep in mind is that laser inscriptions do not change the color grade or clarity grade of a diamond. It is however also important to know that they are considered as permanent – only a professional diamond cutter can remove a laser inscription. If you were to consider inscribing a personal message on the stone, you might therefore want to think twice if you are also buying the diamond as an investment, to potentially resell it one day.
The Kimberley Process is a common initiative between governments, non-governmental organizations and the diamond industry, to stop the trade with so called ‘blood diamonds’, or conflict diamonds – illicit diamonds that have been used to fuel and finance devastating conflicts. The Kimberley process imposes extensive requirements on its members in terms of legislation and other measures for control of import and export, and for internal control. This enables them to certify the rough diamonds put on the market as ‘conflict-free’.
Every shipment of rough diamonds produced in and exported from a country complying with the Kimberley Process is accompanied by a ‘Kimberley Certificate’, which ensures its conflict-free origin. This enables authorities and market actors to track and control the origin of the rough diamonds. It is thus not a certificate that is issued to the final buyer, like a laboratory certificate or such, but part of an administrative procedure controlling the origins of diamonds, to make sure that serious dealers can guarantee the conflict-free origin of the final product.
So far, the Kimberley Process has been very effective. Diamond experts estimate that conflict diamonds now represent less than a percent of the international diamond trade, which can be compared to 15% in 1990.
Fancy Diamond Group Diamonds is located in Antwerp, which is one of the largest centers in the world for diamond trade. All the import and export of diamonds to and from Antwerp is controlled by an independent surveillance authority, which ensures that the diamonds put on the market in Antwerp come from legitimate sources and comply with the Kimberley Process. In addition to this, we always care to verify the origin of the rough and polished diamonds we purchase cautiously, and to make sure we only deal with serious diamond traders. When buying a diamond or a diamond jewel from Fancy Diamond Group Diamonds, you can therefore rest assured that the diamonds are 100% conflict-free.
We often receive questions about whether it is possible to buy rough diamonds to have them polished. It is, naturally, but there are some facts that are important to know if this is something you are considering.
First of all, it is essential to keep in mind that not all rough diamonds are suitable for cutting and polishing. They may have inclusions that makes cutting impossible, or a structure that would make the possible yield so small that cutting is not interesting. As a general rule, the yield for a cuttable diamond varies between 25-40% of the original weight of the rough diamond.
Polishing a diamond is always a risky procedure, since even though it is possible to make approximate predictions, you can never be sure of the result, in terms of color, weight or clarity. Also, since there is a lot of demand for rough diamonds, the prices have gone up and it is actually more interesting to buy polished diamonds than to buy rough stones and have them cut.
The rough diamonds displayed in our web shop are for the most part chosen for their beautiful color and geological structure, and not for their suitability for cutting and polishing. If you are convinced to go forward with buying a rough diamond to have it cut, please contact us and we can advise you on this, and possibly propose other diamonds from our stock that would be suitable for this.