If you are looking for a traditional white or colourless diamond the Gemological Institute of America, and our own diamond guide, will explain that these diamonds usually graded between D-Z in terms of colour, with the diamond often being considered more desirable when nearer the D, or colourless, end of the scale. The grading system for coloured diamonds is completely different, where stones are instead graded from Fancy Light to Fancy Vivid. Today, approximately 1 in 10,000 diamonds has a fancy colour and often the more vibrant or pure the colour, the rarer the stone.
Throughout history there is a selection of fancy diamonds which stand out, often due to their incredible size but also their rarity, below we explore just a few of these priceless gemstones.
Firstly, at the 2019 Oscars ceremony Lady Gaga, Stefani Germanotta, joined just two other women who have previously worn the Tiffany Diamond, shown here on her own Instagram feed. This vast yellow cushion-cut gemstone is one of the largest yellow diamonds in the world and totals 128.54ct with an unprecedented 82 facets. This incredible gemstone, which was previously shown over half a century prior, was worn by Mary Whitehouse and famously by Audrey Hepburn for the promotional photographs for Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Secondly, the Pink Star Diamond, a 59.60ct oval mixed-cut pink diamond. This particular pink diamond has been described by GIA, the Gemological Institute of America, as being within a rare subgroup of gemstones, known as Type IIA, which include some of the purest of all diamond crystals. This internally flawless pink diamond, which set a new world auction record for any diamond or jewel, was sold by Sotheby’s on 4th April 2017 for USD 71,200,000.
Finally, on November 12th 2013 the largest fancy vivid orange diamond in the world, lot 286, was sold by Christie’s auction house. This exceptional pear-shaped diamond, referred to simply as ‘The Orange’, totals approximately 14.82cts and was sold in Geneva for CHF 32,645,000.
When exploring coloured or fancy diamonds, it is the saturation of colour, as well as the carat, cut and clarity, that influence the value of the stone. The colours available vary drastically from brown through to green, from yellow to blue. Here, we explore just a small selection of the coloured diamonds available.
If you are looking for a classic white or colourless diamond, then a yellow hue or tone is the opposite to what you will be searching for. However, for a diamond to be technically classed as a fancy colour it must sit outside the D-Z range explored previously. The colour throughout the stone must be more saturated, more vibrant, or essentially more yellow, than the Z master stone used to grade white diamonds.
Yellow diamonds, although less rare than some of the other coloured or fancy diamonds listed throughout this article, offer exceptional beauty and are ever increasing in popularity. Throughout our Masterpiece Collection we showcase an extensive selection of these fancy coloured diamonds, often set in a combination of white and yellow metal alongside brilliant white diamonds for contrast and to enhance the stones own natural beauty. An example of this setting is shown here, with exceptional 5.03ct natural fancy yellow cushion cut diamond.
The popularity of pink diamonds, pink or rose coloured metal and pink-coloured gemstones, such as pink tourmaline, is ever increasing. The pink colour or tone to many evokes ideas of femininity, love and romance, and is therefore a popular choice for engagement rings. A pink diamond will often have flashes or hues of other colours throughout them, these colours can range from purple or lilac through to orange or brown, each of which is considered incredibly rare.
Like with yellow diamonds, pink diamonds are often set with claws in a coordinating coloured metal to enhance the gemstones own natural colour. Here, we see a combination of white and pink diamonds set in both platinum and 18ct rose gold. These delicate halos sit beautifully around a 0.50ct emerald cut centre stone to create an exquisite cluster style engagement ring.
Brown diamonds, often referred to as chocolate or cognac diamonds, are one of the less rare varieties of natural fancy coloured diamond but remain a popular choice for many individuals. These particular gemstones showcase an extensive variety of hues including: a light champagne coloured brown, a warm cinnamon colour or a rich and dark chocolate shade. Like with many other precious gemstones, the purer and more vibrant the colour the more valuable the stone.
The value or cost of fancy coloured diamonds can often reflect their rare and unique nature so often individuals look to match these incredible colours with other precious and semi-precious stones, achieving not an identical but a similar colour palette at an alternative cost. These colours can often be achieved through gemstones such as: aquamarine, tourmaline, morganite or fancy sapphire, which we explore further in our feature article ‘The Spectrum of Sapphires’.