Colored Diamond Categories
GRADING DIAMONDS GUIDE. 4 C’S EDUCATION, MOST IMPORTANT C FOR DIAMONDS, DIAMOND FACTS. HERE YOU WILL LEARN DIAMOND JEWELLERY INFORMATION, ROUGH DIAMOND GRADING, DIAMOND EXPERT AND A GUIDE TO DIAMONDS.
We believe that knowledge is power no matter the situation and especially when it comes to looking at loose colored diamonds or diamond jewelry. Our diamond education is the most comprehensive diamond buying guide, designed to answer all your questions or concerns. On this diamond education page we address the 4 C’s of diamonds (carat, cut, color and clarity) in detail and beyond so you can make a solid diamond buying decision, while maximizing your diamond’s value and appearance. We believe that diamond education must be thorough and as precise as possible because there are so many factors when it comes to buying a diamond and diamond education that we don’t want you to get overwhelmed with all the information. We have also integrated a easy to use navigation bar on the left hand side of this page so you can access the diamond category that is most important you just by using the slider . Once you have learned the important 4 C’s (cut, carat, color and clarity) of diamonds, we will go on to the advance topics so you can make an educated diamond purchase. Our diamond education expert advice guides to understand the anatomy of a diamond so you can choose the right symmetry, polish, fluorescence, girdle, culet, depth and table. By understanding the nuances of each diamond attribute, you’ll maximize your diamond’s price budget for the highest possible diamond value you can obtain. Read below now to start with the most extensive diamond education there is.
Diamonds were first discovered in India around 2500BC with alluvial deposits along the Penner, Krishna and Godavari rivers. For centuries India was the sole supplier of diamonds throughout the world, until the 1867 discovery of the first diamond in South Africa’s Orange River by 15 year-old Erasmus Jacobs. This 21.24 carat gem, named the Eureka diamond, was the single most important discovery in the history of South Africa, and led to what was known as the “Kimberley Rush”. This played an integral part in the transformation of South Africa into a leading industrial nation, and changed the spectrum of fancy color diamonds from solely colorless to yellow. Probably the best known yellow diamond from South Africa was discovered in the in 1878. The 287.42 carat yellow rough diamond was cut into a magnificent 128.54 carat cushion, which currently resides in the permanent collection of Tiffany & Co. Throughout its history, more than 22 million tons of Earth were removed from “The Big Hole” in Kimberley, South Africa, and approximately three tons of diamonds have been mined. Diamond cutting was believed to have started in Venice, Rome in 1330. After the invention of diamond faceting in the 14th century, the art of diamond cutting emerged in Europe, and the stones began to be prized by royalty and aristocrats. In 1447, the first diamond was gifted, as an engagement ring, by the Archduke of Austria, Maxmillian, when he proposed to his wife-to-be, Mary of Burgundy.
Until relatively recently, most people associated a diamonds value and rarity based on its absence of color. While this is true for colorless stones, fancy color diamonds are much more exotic, and their naturally occurring hues are what determine their value. The evidence of this appears throughout history: from the 280 carat faint bluish-green diamond owned by the last Mogul of India, to the 189.60 carat Orlov, presented by Count Grigori Orlov to Catherine the Great of Russia in 1775. The Hope Diamond, arguably the most famous fancy color diamond in the world, was initially brought back from India by famed diamond merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier for King Louis the XIV, and was originally cut into a 69 carat triangular shape. It then passed through the hands of several French kings until it emerged as a 45.5 carat dark blue diamond purchased by London banker Henry Philip Hope in 1824. Seventy-seven years later, it was acquired by an American, and finally ended up in the hands of jeweler Harry Winston in 1949, who presented it to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. nine years later. The mid-18th century also saw the emergence of the Dresden Green, a 41 carat pear-shaped green diamond, the largest natural green diamond in existence.While pink diamonds were discovered in very small quantities in India, Brazil and South Africa, their color saturation tended to be very faint. All of that changed with the discovery of the Argyle mine in Northwest Australia in 1979. For the first time, pinks appeared with more intense saturations, earning the label “fancy”. Their legend grew and have become prized by collectors and investors alike. For centuries, fancy color diamonds have been the stuff of legend. Today, because of their beauty and extreme rarity, fancy color diamonds are prized by collectors and museums around the world.
Diamonds are made up of pure carbon atoms, deep in the ground, that are exposed to intense heat and pressure over billions of years. The atomic bonds in diamonds are very strong, which give them their hardness. Diamonds are forced to the surface of the earth through volcanic eruptions, and due to the extreme environment that is required for them to form, they are extremely rare, making them even more valuable and sought after. Diamonds have been popular for many years and are seen as symbols of love, beauty, power and wealth. Diamonds reach the surface of the earth through volcanic pipes and alluvial deposits. The purpose of mining is to extract these valuable diamonds from the Earth. These mines are operations built to extract diamond crystals from underground and the surface. When diamonds are extracted underground, the mine needs a system of excavations in the rock to gain access to the kimberlite rock. There are a limited number of commercially viable diamond mines currently operating in the world which use tunneling and excavation methods. However, diamonds are also mined using the Placer or Alluvial mining methods, where rocks are washed away by rivers, and deposited as sediment in the stream sands, or ‘placer deposits’, which are also called “Alluvial deposits”. Although exceptionally rare, natural fancy color diamonds of all colors can be found in nature – from red (the most rare and valuable) to pink, blue, green, orange, green, yellow and brown. These fancy color diamonds lie outside the white color range and are extremely rare and valuable. There is only one natural fancy color diamond discovered for every 10,000 colorless diamonds. The formation of natural fancy color diamonds requires 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. There are three ways in which natural fancy color diamonds are formed, namely grouped into Type I, Type II and Type III Diamonds.
Type I diamonds are formed when a foreign element is introduced to the carbon material that a diamond is made from. For example, nitrogen can cause a diamond to have yellow or orange hues, while boron can make it blue. Diamonds with nitrogen (N) atoms in their internal atomic structure comprise the most abundant group of diamonds. The nitrogen in fancy colored diamonds absorbs color, and this difference makes them yellow and orange. Nitrogen also is linked to color in brown diamonds, in some blue and green diamonds, as well as in pink diamonds. Diamonds in the nitrogen group comprise 98 percent of all natural fancy color diamonds. The nitrogen group is divided into different types, called IaAB, IaA, IaB and Ib, depending on the way nitrogen bonds with carbon in the diamond’s internal structure.
The second group is very rare. These diamonds are almost 100 percent nitrogen free, and comprise only 2 percent of all diamonds. These diamonds occur when pressure compresses the carbon and creates a red, pink or purple hue. This group is further divided into IIa and IIb diamonds. Type IIa diamonds are the purest diamonds in nature, and consist almost completely of carbon. These can be colorless, brown or pink. Type IIb diamonds, ultra-rare and nitrogen-free in this type II group, become natural fancy blue diamonds. These contain boron (B) atoms in their structure, and it is this boron in the otherwise pure carbon atomic structure, that is responsible for the blue color in fancy color blue diamonds.
The third group refers to those diamonds that receive their colors by other means that are not well understood, but known. The best example is green colored diamonds. The color of these stones is derived from an exposure to radiation after the formation of the diamond, which is unique from every other color.
Up until the 16th century, the most well-known fancy colored diamonds came from India. The current sources of natural fancy color diamonds derive from India, South Africa, Brazil and Australia. Other diamond mine locations that produce natural fancy color diamonds include Venezuela, South America, Russia, and Indonesia. The following countries are known to supply various natural fancy color diamonds:
Diamonds in India are found in compact sandstones and conglomerates; either on the surface of these rocks or in the sands and gravels of rivers and streams that have flowed over them and have washed out these stones from their former situations. The annual worldwide output of Indian diamond-mines has been insignificant for centuries, and it is doubtful whether any appreciable number of diamonds leave the country at all. Just as it was before the eleventh century, mined diamonds are kept within the country to satisfy the passion for gems of the great Indian princes and magnates. Another reason these stones stay within the country is because their sales price is exceedingly higher in India, because in other world markets, the price of diamonds is regulated by the inexorable laws of supply and demand. So limited is the demand for diamonds in the Indian markets that the native supply is barely sufficient, and many foreign stones are imported, especially from the Cape in South Africa. Because India is not heavily involved with the worldwide diamond trade, not much is known of the recent quality of diamonds mined there. There are reports of single mines yielding stones of poor quality, but, as history gauges, India is a lush landscape of some of the world’s most prestigious diamonds. An Indian stone often shows a combination of luster, purity of water, strength of fire, and perfect “blue-whiteness” of color, and accounts of blue, green, and red diamonds have been heard of.
Brazilian diamonds were discovered around 1725 by gold miners along the banks of the Rio Jequitinhonha, in the state of Minas Gerais. The glittering of the stones attracted the attention of the gold-washers, although they were ignorant of their real nature, and were collected and taken occasionally to Lisbon, where they came under the notice of the Dutch consul, who recognized them to be diamonds of the best quality. For more than a hundred years, the country was the world’s most important diamond source, as the famous Golconda deposit in India was nearly exhausted and South African mines were yet to be discovered. Diamond mining in Brazil continues today, and important stones continue to emerge from its mines. There are several alluvial diamond sources, where stones are mined from the sands and gravels of river banks, and many important diamond pipes that are warranting larger-scale open-pit or underground mining. Diamonds are mined in several Brazilian states, including Mato Grosso do Sul, Bahia, and Rondônia, but the most coveted is Minas Gerais, which is famous for its colored diamonds. Rivers, valleys, and plateaux are the three main ways diamonds are mined in Brazil. The river-deposits are the richest of the three, and are found in the valleys below the existing high-water level. The valley-deposits are formed of the same material as the river-deposits, and are associated with the same minerals. The material found there is much less worn than that river deposits, and are easily distinguishable for the keen eye. Plateau-deposits are found at numerous locations near Minas Geraes, and at once time yielded the majority of diamonds found in Brazil. It wasn’t till recently that these deposits began to reagin their prestige as mining technology enhanced, and now are begining to show more diamonds than it had in recent years.
The largest Brazilian diamond ever found was the “Star of the South”, or “Southern Star”, unearthed in the 1850’s, and in its rough condition weighed 254 ½ carats; 125 carats when it was cut. A stone of 138 carats was found in the Rio Abaete, and one of 120 carats in the Caxocira Rica near Bagageni, while one of 107 carats was reported from Tabacos on the Rio das Velhas. The famous “Braganza” of the Portuguese crown jewels, a reputed diamond as large as a hen’s egg and weighing 1680 carats, is probably only a pebble of transparent, colorless topaz; accurate information on the subject cannot, however, for obvious reasons, be obtained from the Portuguese Government. The color and qualities of Brazilian diamonds differ depending on their location. About 40 percent of Brazilian diamonds are completely colorless and of these, 25 percent are of the finest quality. About 30 percent show a slight tinge of color, and most impressive is that the remaining 30 percent have a pronounced array of colors. The colors found in Brazilian stones are yellow, blue, red, brown, green, gray, and various shades of black.
The quality of Brazilian stones is exceedingly good, and surpasses that of Cape diamonds, which, as a rule, have a yellowish tinge. The quality of Brazilian stones very nearly approaches that of Indian diamonds, the best “blue-white” Brazilian diamonds being in no way inferior to the choicest of Indian stones.
The story of diamonds in South Africa begins between December 1866 and February 1867 when 15-year-old Erasmus Jacobs found a transparent rock on his father’s farm, on the south bank of the Orange River. Over the next few years, South Africa yielded more diamonds than India had in over 2,000 years. The first diamond discoveries in South Africa were alluvial, but by 1869, diamonds were found far from any stream or river. First in yellow earth and below in hard rock called blue ground, later called kimberlite, after the mining town of Kimberley. In the 1870′s and 1880′s Kimberley, encompassing the mines that produced 95% of the world’s diamonds, was home to great wealth and fierce rivalries, most notably that between Cecil John Rhodes and Barney Barnato, English immigrants who consolidated early 31ft prospects into ever larger holdings and mining companies. In 1888, Rhodes prevailed and merged the holdings of those synonymous with diamonds. Unlike the proverbial cat, one may expect the Premier Mine to enjoy only four lives. The first lasted from the discovery of the diamond pipe just before 1902 – and the formation of the Premier (Transvaal) Diamond Mining Company – until the outbreak of World War I when the mine was shut down and operated on a caretaker basis. By January of 1916 it was working again and production continued up to 1932 when mining operations ceased due to the depressed state of the diamond industry. Working resumed in 1945, but its fourth life really began in 1979 with the opening up of the mine below the Gabbroe sill, a 70-meter geologic intrusion of barren rock which cuts right through the pipe some 400 meters below the surface. Production from this new source has not only given the mine its longest life, but one that should enable production to continue for another fifteen years. In the early years of its existence, the Premier Mine produced many large diamonds, including, of course the Cullinan in 1905, and since working was restarted in 1945 the mine has continued to yield some exceptional stones. Although South Africa is primarily known for yielding yellow hues of diamonds, they have also seen blue, red, and orange, but these occurrences are extremely rare, and haven’t been seen in recent years.
The discovery of Canadian diamonds coincided with the corruption of the diamond industry in Africa, which was tainted by the illegal trading of diamonds to finance conflict, civil wars and human rights abuses in Africa in the 1990’s. The profits from this illegal trade in ‘Blood diamonds’ or ‘Conflict Diamond’ was used by warlords and rebels in Africa to buy arms. Buying Canadian diamonds, with their certificates of authenticity, ensured that buyers of jewelry containing a Canadian diamond had not contributed to human rights abuses. Canadian diamonds are monitored from the mine throughout the manufacturing process, and is one of the only countries in the world that operate strict monitoring of diamond production. Following considerable exploration work since the 1960’s, diamonds were eventually discovered in the Lac De Gras area in the Northwest Territories of Canada during September 1991. The discovery of other diamonds quickly followed in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. The first of the Canadian diamond mines opened in 1998. But the history of the search for Canadian Diamonds dates back for many hundreds of years.
The largest source of pink diamonds in the world is the Argyle mine in Australia. They may recover 25 million carats of diamonds in a year, but only 10,000 carats are pink, of which, fewer than 1,000 will be larger than a quarter of a carat in the rough. Anyone involved in the diamond market should understand that important long-term developments are occurring in diamond-producing countries around the world, which will have a direct impact on their prices over the next decade. Although these developments have been unfolding over the last five years, they are now coming to the forefront as dealers, jewelers, and consumers struggle with the reality of the market’s fundamentals; the global supply of diamonds are decreasing for the first time in 25 years, just as demands are reaching their highest. The first announcements came out of Australia in 2003, when Rio Tinto Diamonds, owner of the largest diamond mine in the world, the Argyle Mine, announced that they no longer would be mining the alluvial deposits surrounding their main open-pit mine. Another announcement quickly followed indicating that the Argyle was doing a feasibility study to determine how much longer reserves could support current mining rates. In late 2005, after millions of dollars of research and a lucrative financial package from the Australian government, the Argyle decided to take the mine underground by 2015 and close the open-pit mine for good. Since that announcement, the Argyle mine experienced a supply decline from a peak of 35 million carats to just over 20 million carats in 2014, drastically impacting the supply of pink and cognac diamonds. During this time, De Beers announced that they would be closing the oldest diamond mine in the world, the Kimberly mine in South Africa, along with two other smaller mines. This was another indication of where the supply in the market is headed. As South Africa is the primary source of yellow diamonds, the supply of certain types of colored diamonds began to come under pressure.
Russia accounts for approximately 21% of global diamond production, most of which is mined in Sakha Respublikata (The Sakha Republic, Yakut, Yakutia) of Siberia, just below the Arctic circle. These Russian diamond mines are located in some of the most inaccessible and inhospitable places on planet earth, with sub-freezing temperatures all year long, and near-total darkness during the winter months. There are many mines in Russia, and although they account for a vast majority of diamonds found in the world, Russian diamonds do not see many variations of fancy colors, with exception to purple diamonds found most often. The Mirny diamond mine (aka Mirna, Mir, or “Peace”) is one of the oldest diamond mines in Russia. It was built over the Malaya Botuobiya kimberlite field, and is located in permafrost which extends to a depth of 1600 feet, and temperatures inside the Mirna mine range from -50F to -70F. The Mirna Diamond Mine is the deepest open pit diamond mine in the world, at nearly 2,000 feet. At that depth, it takes approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours for an ore truck to drive from the bottom of the mine to the upper rim. The first discovery of kimberlite in the Sakha region occurred in 1954, and the Mir kimberlite field was discovered in 1955. Although the Mir mine is no longer open, while in operation, it had an averaged yield of 2 million carats annually. The Jubilee Diamond Mine (aks Yubileinaya mine) is the newest mine in the Sakha Republic, starting operations in 1986. This mine was constructed over the ‘Yubileinaya’ kimberlite pipe. This mine is the biggest in the world, and is estimated to contain more than 153 million carats of recoverable diamonds, including 51Mct of probable underground reserves as of January 2013.
Black diamonds are not transparent, and do not show fire (flashes of color) as other diamonds, but can be extremely expensive where they are in the dark to vivid color ranges. Black diamonds may give off secondary color hues of grey or white. Natural black diamonds look striking and dramatic. They are not transparent and do not show fire, but can be exceptionally impressive. Black diamonds may show white or gray inclusions that make them very unique. The color formation in black diamonds is caused by a myriad of graphite inclusions and it is believed that some black stones fell to the earth as meteorites. The world’s largest cut black diamond is the Spirit of Grisogono. The Mogul Cut diamond weighs 312.24 carats and the world’s fifth largest diamond overall. The stone is set in a white gold ring with 702 smaller white diamonds. As beautiful as a moonless night, with a fine scintillating gleam, these unusual inky black diamonds are as versatile as Coco Chanel’s legendary Little Black Dress. Modern, bold, and darkly alluring; Black Diamonds are jewels for sophisticated style-setters. Perfect for day or night, they look especially stunning when surrounded by a bundle of small Transparent (white) diamonds in a contemporary jewelry design. The first question you should ask when deciding to invest in a Natural Fancy Black Diamond is whether the jewel has been treated or if it is natural. There are many treated Black stones on the market, but they are poor imitations of the real thing. Unless your diamond is natural, it’s not worth investing in. Authentic Natural Fancy Black Diamonds are available in tones of very dark Grey, Blue, Brown, or pure Black. Their color is due to the presence of graphite inclusions, which absorb nearly all the light falling on the stone. These inclusions may be sub-microscopic, distinguishable under a standard gemological microscope, or seen by the naked eye.
Most black diamonds are therefore translucent to opaque against light with a luster often described as metallic. When investing in Natural Fancy Black diamonds, you are investing in a diamond that is poised to soar on the diamond market in the years to come. Just like Champagne, Cognac, and Chocolate Diamonds, Natural Fancy Black Diamonds are currently priced below Transparent ones, but they won’t be for long. Celebrities like Fergie, Carmen Electra, and Christina Aguilera have all been seen sporting Black diamonds, but sales began to really soar after the Sex and the City character Carrie Bradshaw was given a Black diamond engagement ring by her man, Mr. Big.
The Black Orlov Diamond A stolen object of worship haunted by a series untimely deaths—the magnificent Black Orlov Diamond has an infamous mythology, and an enormous price tag.
Blue diamonds represent only 0.1% of all natural fancy colored diamonds, making them extremely rare and valuable. Blue natural fancy color diamonds generally have a slight hint of grey. Their color is typically caused by the presence of boron. The higher the concentration of boron, the more intense and deeper the color. Some greenish blue diamonds have been discovered that lack boron; it is thought that their blue color is due to natural radiation that would have been present when they formed. Very rarely, a grayish blue color is caused by the presence of hydrogen. Natural blue color is one of the rarest of fancy color diamonds. These diamonds are amongst the most sought after by collectors. Color can range from faint to a very deep blue, and blue diamonds can command even higher prices than pink diamonds. Fancy blue diamonds are usually classified as either blue, grayish blue, greenish blue turquoise or aquamarine. The color of blue diamonds is caused by the presence of boron atoms. The higher the concentration of boron, the more intense the color. In Argyle blues, which are usually gray blue, the color is related to the presence of hydrogen and also to that of nitrogen. The most famous blue diamond is the Hope diamond with an amazing 45.52 carat weight. It changed hands many times on its way from India to France to Britain and to the United States. After exposure to ultraviolet light, the diamond emits a red glow-in-the-dark affect fueling its reputation of “being cursed”. With a hue universally connected to royalty and prestige, Blue is today among the most sought-after of all Natural Fancy Colored diamonds. They have been a source of wonder for centuries. The world’s most historical gem personalities like Tavernier, Louis XIV, the Turkish Sultans, Indian Maharajah’s, and Marie Antoinette are celebrated for their connection with Blue diamonds. The presence of boron atoms in place carbon causes these special diamonds to appear Blue. Boron absorbs red light, so the more boron, the deeper the Blue. Boron also lends Blue diamonds unusual electrical properties that make them semi-conductors, unlike any other diamond type.
Green-Blue or Greenish-Blue (teal) diamonds contain small clusters of nitrogen as well as boron, while some rare Gray-Blues are caused by hydrogen. These variations of Blue are not semi-conductors. Blue diamonds were first found in India, but more recently the South African Premier mine and the Australian Argyle mine have been the leading sources of this rare colored jewel. Blue diamonds represent only 0.1% of all Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds, making the competition for this desirable hue very tough indeed. In November 2012 a 10.48-carat flawless, Fancy Deep Blue diamond sold at auction to Laurence Graff for $10.86 million, a world record for a Blue diamond per carat. Blue diamonds rank next to the deep red for rarity and beauty, those of a dark blue shade constituting beautiful gems, which differ from the blue sapphire in the quality of the tint, and in the play of colors peculiar to the diamond.
The Hope Diamond The Hope Diamond is the most famous and expensive diamond of all time. From French Crown Jewel to treasure of the New World, its history is truly extraordinary.
BBrown is the most common natural fancy color diamond and also the earliest to be used in jewelry. Romans set brown diamonds in rings, but in modern times it took a while to become popular. Until the 1980s, brown diamonds were typically considered good only for industrial use. The Australians fashioned them and set them into jewelry, marketing them with names such as “cognac” and “champagne”, which increased their popularity. Brown diamonds range in tone from very light to very dark, with consumers generally preferring the medium to dark tones with a warm, golden appearance. They generally show a hint of greenish, yellowish or reddish modifying color. These are the most widely available and surprisingly affordable colored diamonds. They provide a beautiful low cost alternative to pink, blue, grey, green or yellow diamonds. Common names used to describe brown color are: champagne, chocolate, coffee, golden, honey, bronze, cognac, etc. Natural fancy brown colored diamonds are sometimes referred to as champagne, lightly tinted brown, cognac or chocolate, depending on their tone. Their hue is caused by structural distortions in the diamond lattice which modifies their absorption of light. They generally show a hint of greenish, yellowish, orangey or reddish modifying colors. Internal parallel grain lines cause the brown color in diamonds. If the brown grain lines exist in a diamond that is also colored yellow by nitrogen impurities, they produce a yellowish brown color. The largest chocolate diamond ever found is the Golden Jubilee Diamond. Found in South Africa, the rough diamond weighed 755.50 carats and was cut into a 545.67 carat Cushion Cut. Natural Fancy Champagne Diamonds are sexy and sophisticated. Heralded as the new classic of the gem world, these jewels have strong potential for investment gains. Champagne is the most recent category of Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds to garner investor interest. Around thirty years ago, the soft earthy tones of Champagne diamonds were seldom seen on the market, until the Argyle Mine in Western Australia began raising international awareness of their alluring beauty. Since then, Champagne diamonds have become the toast of Tinseltown and the darlings of designer jewelers. With a delicate palette ranging from a subtle hint of tawny wine to a delicious burnt caramel, Champagne diamonds are praised for their versatility and accessibility. They work equally well with daywear or evening wear and their neutral color makes them the ideal choice for timeless jewelry designs. Like Pink diamonds, their distinctive hues are caused by graining within the diamond structure, which scientists attribute to extreme pressure under the earth. What makes them most appealing of all is their potential for appreciation. Currently, these chocolate and orangy diamonds are underpriced but that is changing quickly. They will soon surpass Transparent (White) diamonds in value due to their extreme rarity. Although these diamonds are more plentiful in nature than other Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds, they are still 10,000 times rarer than Transparent (White) diamonds. And when the Argyle mine closes in 2018-2020, causing the world’s largest Champagne diamond supply to evaporate, we could likely see these jewels follow the same astronomical price trajectory as Pink diamonds.
The Victoria-Transvaal Diamond The Victoria-Transvaal Diamond is one of the world’s most stunning Champagne colored jewels. Worn by movie stars and a millionairess, it now holds pride of place in the Smithsonian Museum.
The name Chocolate is an indulgent and delectable metaphor for these richly colored diamonds. One of the freshest new colors on the market, Chocolate diamonds are delighting jewelry lovers worldwide. They have been available as long as mines have existed, but until the 1980s they were largely neglected. Once worn as good luck talismans by ancient Romans, they are now enjoying newfound adulation amongst jewelry aficionados and serious investors. Today, Chocolate diamonds have an enormous following as they meet the demand for all things rare and earth-toned in fashion. Like Champagne and Cognac diamonds, Chocolate jewels were elevated to their present haute couture status by marketing pushes from Australia’s Argyle mine.
The Incomparable Diamond The Incomparable was found in its rough state weighing 890 carats, and was found in the town of Mbuji Mayi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in the 1980s. It was found by a young young girl playing in a pile of rubble outside her uncle’s house. This rubble had been legitimately collected from old mine dumps from the nearby MIBA Diamond Mine, having been rejected during the recovery process as being too bulky to be worth scanning for diamonds. The girl gave the diamond to her uncle, who sold it to some local African diamond dealers, who in turn sold it to a group of Lebanese buyers operating out of Kinshasa. It was later purchased in Antwerp by the Senior De Beers Buyer. As a result, Sir Philip Oppenheimer, then president of the Central Selling Organization and a De Beers director, sold it to Donald Zale, chairman of the board of the Zale Corporation, the Dallas-based jewelry store chain. He bought the diamond in partnership with Marvin Samuels, of the Premier Gems Corporation, and Louis Glick, both prominent figures in the New York diamond industry. The huge stone was finally unveiled in November, 1984, which coincided with the Zale Corporation’s 75th anniversary (their Diamond Anniversary). Shortly afterwards it was put on display at the Natural History wing of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.
Natural fancy green diamonds are typically light in town and low in saturation. Their color often appears muted, with a grayish or brownish cast. The hue is often confined to the surface and rarely extends through the entire diamond, which is why cutters try to leave as much of the natural rough around the girdle as possible. Natural fancy green diamonds derive their color from exposure to gamma rays deep below the earth’s surface over a long period of time, possibly even as long as millions of years. This happens naturally; radiation displaced atoms from their normal position in the crystal lattice. Very rarely, hydrogen may also cause some grayish green stones to form. This can create an interesting subset of Green diamonds known as Chameleons. As the name suggests, Chameleons are naturally changeable stones whose shades shift when subjected to different temperatures. Green diamonds with no other secondary hues or modifiers are some of the rarest, and depending on intensity and purity of color, can command astronomical prices. Most green diamonds have either grey, brown or yellow modifiers. Natural fancy green diamonds are the second rarest gems found in nature after the natural fancy red diamonds. Green diamonds with no other secondary hues or modifiers, depending on intensity and purity of color, can command astronomical prices. They are therefore valued more than the yellowish green or greenish yellow diamonds. Most green diamonds have gray, brown, blue, orange or yellow modifiers. Green diamonds owe their hue to millions of years of exposure to naturally occurring radiation. The biggest green diamond that has ever been found is the Dresden Green Diamond from India, with a carat weight of 41 carats. Green speaks of glamor, sophistication, rebirth and renewal. It is also a color of mystery, and these are the most curious of all Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds. Natural Fancy Green Diamonds are born from a remarkable process of creation. Whereas most Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds obtain their hues from mineral inclusions or plastic deformations, most authentic Green diamonds are in fact colored by natural irradiation.
This means that they were exposed to something radioactive during the millions of years they spent forming underground. Sometimes the effects of the radiation do not penetrate deeply, so diamond cutters must take care to enhance the color without removing too much from the surface. In other cases, Green may be caused by the presence of hydrogen atoms in the pure carbon structure. This can create an interesting subset of Green diamonds known as Chameleons. As the name suggests, Chameleons are naturally changeable stones whose shades shift when subjected to different temperatures. Green diamonds come in a dazzling array of hues, including soft sea-foam, lime-yellow, teal, olive and intense emerald, with saturations ranging from Faint to Fancy Deep. Very few of these are pure Greens and you are more likely to see Yellowish or Grayish Greens in numerous combinations of modifiers. More rarely will Bluish Greens appear on the market, causing that particular shade to be very valuable.
The Dresden Green Diamond The Dresden Green gets its name from the capitol of Saxony where it has been on display for more than 200 years. This diamond’s magnificent forest green hue has commanded a hefty price tag for centuries.
Ranging from pale translucent saffron to fiery autumnal hues, natural fancy orange diamonds are predominantly found in South Africa. Their color is caused by the presence of nitrogen. Pure orange, with no hint of brown, is one of the rarest colors and is most likely the result of a combination of nitrogen atoms and structural deformities. Orange diamonds are not as rare as the red or green diamonds. Most orange colored diamonds have strong yellow or brown modifiers. Pastel colored orange diamonds are of similar value as pastel pinks and some blues. Prized for their beauty and rarity, orange diamonds are among the most sought after colors. More common, yet still rare, are orange diamonds with a natural color modifier such as brown, yellow, pink or red. Because pure orange is a mixture of the primary colors red and yellow, natural fancy orange diamonds are extremely rare in the lab terminology. Instead, they usually range from reddish to yellowish orange. The world’s largest orange diamond weighs 14.82 carats and was sold in 2013 at a Geneva Auction for $31.5 million. Orange is a truly rare color in the diamond realm. Worthy of its worldwide waiting lists, this exceptional tint is a joy to behold. Ranging from pale translucent saffron to fiery autumnal hues, the Natural Fancy Orange Diamond is predominantly found in South Africa. Like Natural Fancy Yellow Diamonds, its color is thought to be caused by the presence of nitrogen atoms within the diamond’s crystal lattice, though in a configuration that affects the absorption of light in a different way. Other scientists believe it may stem from the presence of hydrogen instead. Whatever the cause, astute collectors understand that a pure orange hue is unbelievably rare. The color is more likely to be found with modifiers of Yellow, Brown and Pink. The seven natural color grades for Orange Colored Diamonds are Faint Orange, Very Light Orange, Light Orange, Fancy, Fancy Intense Orange, with Fancy Vivid Orange and Fancy Deep Orange being the most desired hues.
Orange diamonds with a hint of Brown make a rich and heady blend. Known as Cognac Cuvée diamonds for their sumptuous warm coloration, these jewels represent the greatest investment opportunity in the Orange color category. Like Cognac diamonds, which are predominantly Brown with a hint of Orange, they have become the darlings of the glamorous red-carpet crowd. But with their dominant Orange hue they are even more rare and valuable—making Cognac Cuvée diamonds the ultimate connoisseur’s indulgence.
The Pumpkin Diamond The Pumpkin diamond is the world’s largest Fancy Vivid Orange Diamond. Currently valued at over $3 million, it was famously worn by Halle Berry to the 74th Academy Awards.
Exactly what gives a natural fancy pink diamond its color is still something of a mystery. Studies have shown that most pink diamonds contain graining lines within their atomic structure caused by pressure beneath the Earth’s surface. This is referred to as ‘plastic deformation’, meaning the growth of the crystal lattice has been compressed, affecting the way light refracts within the gem. Scientists believe graining is due to the tremendous pressures to which diamonds are subjected under the earth’s surface. Different levels of graining will result in different shades and is also thought to produce red diamonds. With only an estimated decade of supply remaining, Pinks diamonds are becoming increasingly precious. Pink diamonds are rare and highly desired. Pink diamonds of higher intensity are the most rare and command very high prices. Most pink diamonds mined are faint to light colored (pastel colored). Many of the deep colored pink diamonds come from the Argyle mine in Australia. Pink is one of the rarest and most desirable colors, often associated with roses and natural sea coral. The color evokes a strong romance, which is why it is a popular choice for engagement rings. Pure pink colored diamonds with no trace of secondary modifying colors are extremely rare and are usually found in much smaller sizes. Reddish, purplish pink, brownish pink, grayish pink, and orangey pink are the secondary hues found in natural fancy pink diamonds. Pink color is caused by a process known as plastic deformation, a slipping or distortion of the atomic lattice. The biggest pink diamond ever found, the Daria-I-Noor, has somewhat of an elusive reputation. Its precise whereabouts is unknown today, and its carat weight is estimated at 182 carats. From sweet powder blushes to hot, intense fuchsia, Pink diamonds excite collectors for they possess the color of romance. Pink is one of the must-have color for investors, celebrities, and diamond connoisseurs. After pure Red and Orange, Pinks are among the rarest Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds on earth. Exactly what gives a Pink diamond its color is still something of a mystery. Studies have shown that most Pink diamonds contain graining lines within their atomic structure caused by pressure beneath the Earth’s surface. This is referred to as ‘plastic deformation’, meaning the growth of the crystal lattice has been compressed, affecting the way light refracts within the gem.
This is the pinnacle of luxury. Perfection in a world of chaos. Thrilling, high-octane glamour. The Argyle mine in Western Australia supplies approximately 90% of the world’s Pink diamonds. With only less than five years of supply remaining, Pink diamonds are becoming increasingly precious. There is a huge variation among Pink diamonds. They fall within three hue ranges of Purplish Pink, Pink, and Orangey Pink and may display the modifying colors: Purple, Brown, Gray, and Orange. They can also be found in every level of color saturation from Faint to Fancy Dark.
The Darya-I-Noor The Darya-i Noor is a 182 carat Pink diamond that has belonged to Persian royalty since the 18th century. Today it holds first place in the National Treasury of Iran.
Like natural fancy pink and red diamonds, natural fancy purple diamonds are colored by minute graining within the diamond structure. The resulting shades vary from pale orchid to deep imperial purple. As purple is a color intermediate between red and blue it can display both warmth and cool effects. Although pure purple diamonds are very hard to come by, many are available with a grey or pinkish modifier, and other colored diamonds can display a purplish secondary hue. Most purple diamonds tend to be small, generally weighing 2 carats or less. Purple diamonds with no secondary hues are very rare. Most of these diamonds are less than one carat in size and are very seldom found in dark to vivid lilac colors. Most purple diamonds exhibit needle-like color zones. Similar to orange diamonds, pure purple colored diamonds are almost nonexistent in the lab terminology, since purple is made of pink and blue. One will more often see purple diamonds described as pinkish purple. Often confused with the secondary color violet, purple is a dominant and rare hue in natural color diamonds. These diamonds tend to have gray or pinkish modifiers. Most of the purple diamonds come from Russia. The Royal Purple Heart Diamond is the largest fancy vivid purple diamond known to exist. It weighs 7.34 carats and was cut into a perfect Heart Shape. Natural Fancy Purple Diamonds are incredibly rare. Ranging from sumptuous regal shades to delicate floral hues, these mysterious and desirable jewels are the embodiment of luxury. Pure Purple diamonds with no secondary hues almost never occur in nature, making these jewels priceless collectors items. Their extreme rarity has prompted many an attempt at replication. Sophisticated treatment methods of irradiation have been used to tint inferior diamonds Purple, but they can not be compared to the beauty and value of a true Natural Fancy Colored Diamond.
If a colored diamond isn’t natural then it’s not worth investing in. Like Pink and Red diamonds, Natural Fancy Purple Diamonds are colored by minute graining within the diamond structure. The resulting shades vary from pale orchid to deep imperial Purple. As Purple is a color intermediate between red and blue it can display both warmth and cool effects. Although pure Purple diamonds are very hard to come by, many are available with a Gray or Pinkish modifier, and other colored diamonds can display a Purplish secondary hue. Purple diamonds come in only a few intensity levels, including Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, and Fancy Deep. Most tend to be small, generally weighing 2 carats or less.
The Royal Purple Heart Diamond The Royal Purple Heart Diamond is the world’s most famous Fancy Vivid Purple Diamond, but its history and its whereabouts is surrounded by secrecy.
Natural red fancy color diamonds are the rarest of the colored diamond collection and are highly valued. Some say there may be less than 20 true red diamonds in the world. Only a handful have ever received the grade of fancy red, a red diamond in its purest form. Its red color is caused by a process known as ‘plastic deformation’, a slipping or distortion of the atomic lattice. Red is by far the rarest of all colored diamonds. Fewer than 20 stones have so far been certified as red diamonds. Some of these have fetched over a million dollars per carat, although most other colored diamonds fetch between five to six figures per carat. Red diamonds are the rarest of the colored diamond category and only a handful have ever received the grade of a fancy red, a red diamond in the purest form. There are brownish red, pinkish red and purplish red diamonds, but these stones are generally rare and their prices reflect their scarcity on the market. The biggest red diamond ever found is the Moussaieff Red Diamond, formerly known as the Red Shield Diamond. The rough stone weighed 13.9 carats and was discovered by a Brazilian farmer in the Abaetezinho river. It was later cut by William Goldberg into a 5.11 carat Triangular Brilliant Cut, also called a Trillion or Trilliant cut. Noble Red is the color of love and fiery intensity. It is no wonder that the sight of a sparkling Red Diamond sets hearts racing. Red are the rarest of all Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds—and the most highly prized. Most jewelers, let alone the buying public, have never laid eyes on one. Red diamonds are in essence super-saturated, dark Pink diamonds and are similarly colored by the presence of graining in the diamonds lattice structure. Pure ‘Fancy Red’ is almost unknown and they more often come in variations of Brownish Red, Pinkish Red and Purplish Red.
Red diamonds tend to be small in size with the biggest known example—The Moussaieff Red—weighing in at only 5.11 carats. They have been found in Australia, Brazil and Africa but some say there may be less than 20 true Red diamonds in the world. Obviously, the demand for this highly valued color far exceeds supply. When a Red diamond does come up for sale, the competition is fierce. In 2007, a Fancy Purplish-Red diamond weighing 2.26 carats was purchased at Christie’s for $2.7 million. That’s $1,180,340 per carat, a record-breaking price for a Red diamond.
The Kazanjian Diamond The Kazanjian Diamond is a delightful freak of nature Valued at over $50 million, it is one of only three Red diamonds in existence that weighs over 5 carats.
Violet diamonds lean towards the Blue-Grey spectrum, evoking stormy skies and the aura of dusk. These stunning jewels are even more rare than their cousin, the Purple diamond. While it is true that all Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds are scarce, astute investors know that there are differences in rarity among the colors. Natural Fancy Violet Diamonds are among the rarest of all. In fact, just over ten years ago it was debated whether it could really exist as a color category as pure Violet diamonds were virtually unheard of. We can confirm these extraordinary jewels do indeed exist, but it is more common to find them with modifying hues of Blue or Gray. Their color saturation levels vary from Fancy, Fancy Dark and Fancy Deep, with a small handful classified as Intense. Although Violet diamonds appear to be related to Purple diamonds, they stem from an entirely different geological process. Whereas Purple is caused by plastic deformation, Violet owes its cool, dark tones to traces of hydrogen. The few that have been unearthed tend to come from the Argyle mine in Western Australia, which produces 90% of the world’s Pink diamonds. As this mine is scheduled to close in 2018, rare Violet diamonds are forecast to become even rarer.
Anyone who lays eyes on a Violet diamond should take note that they are in the presence of a natural wonder. Their scarcity means they have mostly been acquired privately by a small clique of affluent dealers and collectors.
Available in varying degrees of opacity, the highly covetable Natural Fancy White Diamond is a must-have for connoisseur collectors, and anyone who wants to make a strong jewelry statement. When people mention White diamonds, they usually mean the standard Transparent kind. But there is in fact an exquisite and rare variety of Natural Fancy Colored Diamond that exhibits a translucent milky whiteness, combined with the wonderful luster you would expect to find in all diamonds. As White is a neutral (achromatic) color, Natural Fancy White Diamonds are not measured by their level of saturation but rather their subtle range of tones: pale, bright, dull and deep. Pure Fancy White diamonds with no secondary colors are extremely unusual, but they also come in Brownish, Bluish, Yellowish or Grayish tints. Their distinctive frosty quality is caused by the scattering of light—the same process that gives milk its white appearance. In this case, the light is diffused by tiny sub-microscopic inclusions within the diamond. The exact nature of this phenomenon is unknown, but the inclusions are thought to be the result of nitrogen within the pure carbon structure. Natural Fancy White Diamonds are sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Central Africa. They are extremely rare – as rare as Fancy Pinks and Blues – but they are usually much more affordable, making an ideal entry point for those wishing to invest in a highly desirable commodity or to accessorize with something glamorous and truly unique.
The Transparent diamond has long been the quintessential stone for engagement rings, and they look absolutely beautiful set alongside our rare natural colored jewels.
Yellow diamonds are the second most common natural fancy color. Their yellow color is caused by the presence of nitrogen. A particularly yellow diamond whose color is deeper, more intense or more vivid than a Z color diamond moves from the ranks of common colorless diamonds to the rarefied realm of fancy colored diamonds. Yellow is one of the most familiar names known aside from white “colorless” diamonds. Canary is a term commonly used to describe intense yellow diamonds. Some of the yellows with higher intensity of color (Fancy Vivid Yellow) are as rare as the pinks and blues and command unusually high prices. Natural yellow diamonds are the most popular of all colored diamonds. Those with a deeper color than Z on the GIA diamond grading scale fall into the category of fancy color diamond. Because of their bright pleasing yellow color, these stones are often associated with bright sunlight, cheerfulness, joy, prosperity and happiness. Diamonds referred to as canary yellow are the rarest type of yellow diamonds. The most popular hues are the fancy intense and fancy vivid with a bright, pure shade and no hints of green, brown or red to darken the stone. One of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered is the Tiffany Yellow Diamond. In the rough it weighed 287.42 carats and it was cut into a 128.53 carats Cushion Cut worn only by Mrs. Sheldon Whitehouse and Audrey Hepburn. Yellow diamonds radiate with positive energy. They can suggest the slightest twist of lemon or evoke rich drops of golden sunlight. This popular hue has experienced significant appreciation in recent times. Natural Fancy Yellow Diamonds are among the most readily available of this rare class of jewels. They acquire their unique and wide-ranging coloration from the presence of additional nitrogen atoms within the diamond’s pure carbon structure. Nitrogen atoms absorb blue and violet light, making the diamond appear yellow to the human eye.
The color scale of Transparent diamonds is graded from D-Z. At the end of this scale, colorless diamonds contain hints of Yellow or Brown. But a true Natural Fancy Yellow Diamond sits outside this scale and is described by the intensity of its hue, saturation and tone. Yellow diamonds can be found as a single pure color or with the light secondary tones of Green, Gray, Orange, or Brown, which add to their complexity. Their color intensities are described as Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, and Fancy Deep.
The Tiffany Diamond The spectacular Canary-Yellow Tiffany Diamond has been a showpiece for the American jewelry firm since 1879. Once the world’s largest Yellow diamond, it continues to fascinate people to this day.