Fancy Colored Diamonds: Buying GuideOctober 31, 2021
Almost 70 years ago De Beers launched their enduring marketing slogan, “A Diamond is Forever” to promote engagement rings featuring colourless diamonds. The Fancies though haven’t had the same marketing strategy from De Beers or anyone else perhaps because there is no consensus of opinion on how to grade them or perhaps because they were considered less valuable.
I can see the sense of the first hypothesis because no two are exactly alike due to the colour variations and whether muted or strong but certainly not the second one because many are extremely valuable and considered by many gem specialists and collectors as being the most valued gems on the planet because they are so very rare. How rare are they? Answer: only one in 10,000 has been deemed as having enough colour to be labelled a Fancy Colored diamonds.
Gem specialists and mine owners undoubtedly knew about colored diamonds many decades ago but rarely was there even a mention of them. Even the auction houses in the 1960s did little to engage the public’s interest in the colored rocks with their lack-luster or uninspired descriptions in a black and white paragraph in catalogs listing them as ‘canary’ or ‘cinnamon’. In the 1980s, however, everyone’s perception changed dramatically with the discovery of a rare .95 carat Red Diamond that was later sold to a gem collector for almost US$1 Million.
Then, in the 1990s, a second Red Diamond of 5.11 carats was discovered in a Brazilian river that was later bought by a collector for US$10 Milllion. Imagine that – US$2 Million for one gram of carbon that nature created millions of years ago through high pressure and temperatures into the rarest color of all, the Fancy Red Diamond! Today’s prices though, factoring in inflation, are astronomical.
Example: a rare Fancy Vivid Blue 10.10 carat diamond on display recently at Sotheby’s in London (U.K.) sold in Hong Kong for US$32 Million and before that a flawless Vivid Yellow 50.07 carat Coloured diamond was on display at the exclusive Asprey (by appointment only for the world’s rich and famous) establishment on Bond Street, London (U.K.) for US$30+ Million. And, in November 2015 a Hong Kong businessman paid a whopping US$48.4 Million for a 12.3 carat Vivid Fancy Blue known as the Blue Moon of Josephine Diamond!
Colors of the fancies
Whatever your favorite color you will most likely find it in a colored diamond because the range of colors is extensive, both strong and muted colors. But it is this color variation that causes so much trouble as to grading them because there are different tones to all colors, whether light, medium, strong, vivid, or brilliant and the addition of certain elements or minerals creates further difficulty in that they affect the primary color, example, a yellow diamond with chrome will result in a greeny-yellow color like chartreuse.
I really do pity the graders because color is subjective so you might not see it as I see it and comparing one colour to something else is not always successful. As far as color goes, I prefer the Yellow Diamond, second only to Brown Diamonds as the most common but common or not they are still rarer than colorless diamonds of the same clarity.
There are also Pink Diamonds, Purple Diamonds, Orange, Green, White, Black, and Blue Diamonds that are graded according to the intensity of color, e.g. Fancy; Fancy Light; Fancy Intense; Fancy Vivid; Fancy Deep, and Fancy Dark. For a more extensive list of colors and grading (as to cost) you really should speak to Joe or Monika at LL Private Jewellers who will be more than happy to educate you about these exquisite marvels of nature.
A Word of Caution
If you’re on the hunt or the market for a Fancy Colored Diamond you really need to see someone you can trust – again I recommend Joe at LL Private Jewellers – because of the proliferation of simulated (lab-created) colored diamonds in the marketplace and elsewhere being sold by unscrupulous people as the real thing while in reality they’re fake just like cubic zircons (CZ) that first came on the market 40 years ago.
We knew what they were then – fake diamonds, man-made in a lab – because the creators told us. Nowadays though honesty, even in the gem world, is sometimes in short supply with unscrupulous people passing synthetic or simulated diamonds off as real which is why I strongly recommend you buy only from a reputable source.
Also, another reason for caution comes from an appraiser who says if you’re buying a Fancy Colored Diamond as an investment, forget the not-so-rare .50-carat and buy instead a smaller stone, e.g. a 5-carat Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond because it will most certainly increase in value in the coming years and long before the bigger not-so-rare stone in whatever color.
For more information about fancy color diamonds please contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-684-6343.