Fancy colored diamonds are becoming more and more popular as center stones for engagement rings. It's true that colorless or “white diamonds” are still the most popular choice. However, fancies are catching up and this is your chance to learn more about them.
Brian Gavin custom designed this fancy yellow colored diamond ring for one of our clients. As a matter of fact, they purchased their first engagement ring from us back in 1999. This ring commemorates their upcoming anniversary and it means so much that they remembered us!
The diamond is a 1.08 carat, Internally Flawless clarity, natural fancy intense yellow color diamond. It’s from Brian Gavin, who offers a huge inventory of fancy colored diamonds in all shapes and sizes. This diamond grading tutorial will help you buy the looking fancy for your budget and preference of color. Remember that diamonds are available in every color of the rainbow, so the possibilities for spectral bliss are endless.
Approximately 1% of all gem quality diamonds exhibit enough color to qualify as a fancy color diamond. The majority of diamonds with fancy colors are graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Gem Trade Laboratory.
As a matter of fact, most of the diamonds dug out of the ground are actually of industrial quality. Consequently, less than 20% of all the diamonds in the world are gem quality. Of course, most gem quality diamonds are colorless or white diamonds.
Thus the fancies you’ll find at Brian Gavin are quite rare and that is why they cost more than white diamonds. Be that as it may, fancy colors might be more affordable than you imagine. Seeing that fancy colors are undeniably unique and individual it is a cost worth considering. As a matter of fact, every fancy is truly individual in nature due to the intensity of color and saturation.
The color of fancy color diamonds comes from the absence or presence of impurities present within the diamond crystal. The impurities were simply in the vicinity when the diamond crystal is was growing and became part of the diamond.
The color yellow in a diamond is due to the presence of nitrogen molecules. The nitrogen molecules absorb blue light, which make the diamond appear yellow.
The color blue is most likely caused by the presence of boron. It is not yet known what causes the colors red and pink in fancy color diamonds.
In terms of rarity, the rarest fancies are those which are red in color. The 0.23 carat, natural fancy red color, cushion cut diamond from Brian Gavin pictured below fetches a whopping $83K. Can you imagine spending that much for a quarter carat diamond?
The next rarest and most expensive natural fancies tend to be blue, pink, green, and orange. As a matter of fact, the Hope Diamond is one of the most famous fancy blue diamonds in the world.
If you’re paying close attention, you might have noticed that I keep referring to “natural fancy colored diamonds. This is because many fancies are artificially colored through the process of irradiation and other enhancement methods.
The hue and saturation of irradiated fancy color diamonds is something that I find unnatural and unappealing. The colors of irradiated diamonds are too neon-like for my preferences. As a matter of fact, every irradiated fancy that I’ve seen looks more neon in color than something that occurs naturally in nature. However, I have seen some heat-treated fancies that look fine.
With that in mind, I’m not necessarily opposed to fancies that have been heat treated to enhance the color. However there is a part of me which definitely prefers the purity of a fancy that is natural in color and that has not been enhanced. By the same token, one gem laboratory recently determined that the color of lab-grown fancies might not be stable.
This 1.16 carat, Internally Flawless, natural, fancy intense, cushion cut diamond from Brian Gavin is comparable to the one that I found for my client. It is currently selling for $11,700.00 with a discount available for payment via cash / wire transfer.
Diamond grading reports for fancy colors are different than the reports which accompany colorless or white diamonds. As can be seen on the diamond grading report on the left, there is a section for color that is broken down into Origin, Grade, and Distribution.
Whereas the color grade for a colorless diamond would simply state the color grade in the form of a letter like D to Z. The term “origin” is used to specify whether the color of the diamond is natural in origin. It might also indicate that the color is a result of the diamond being heat treated or irradiated.
The type of treatment will be disclosed in this section of the diamond grading report. The distribution of color describes how evenly the color spreads throughout the diamond.
The Color Grade of the 1.16 carat, Internally Flawless, natural, fancy intense, cushion cut diamond from Brian Gavin is Fancy Intense. That term refers to the Saturation of Color and represents the degree of saturation as measured from Faint to Fancy Vivid intensity.
Diamonds that exhibit stronger saturation of color are more valuable and will be more expensive. In addition, you might hear the word "Hue" be used to refer to the color of a fancy. This is just another term used to describe the color of the diamond. The term "Tone" is used to refer to the relative lightness or darkness of the saturation of color. As you might imagine, the deeper the tone, the deeper the color of the diamond will be.
The term "Distribution" refers to how evenly the color is dispersed throughout the diamond crystal. This is largely determined by how the shape and facet structure of the diamond. Diamond color can be even or unevenly distributed throughout the diamond.
As a matter of fact, it's common for the color to be more intense in the center and fade out towards the edges. This fancy yellow colored cushion cut diamond from James Allen is a good example. Notice how the yellow color is more vivid and intense in the middle. Whereas it fades out and there are some light sections that extend outward into the crown facets.
The least expensive fancy colors tend to be those which are brown in hue. Brown diamonds are frequently marketed as champagne or chocolate colored diamonds. However, don't let the price of these diamonds fool you, they can be quite pretty in the right intensity.
Regular readers of my blog are likely to try and determine what the best proportions are for a fancy colored diamond. Let me save you some time, because fancies are cut to deepen the intensity of color. With that in mind, fancy color diamonds are not necessarily cut to maximize brilliance or light return. That means that fancies are all about the color and not necessarily the sparkle factor.
As a matter of fact, when a diamond cutter evaluates a piece of diamond rough that exhibits color, the purpose is to determine the best way to cut the diamond to intensify the color. The color in diamonds tends to run through the crystal in bands of color that can be diluted or intensified depending on the shape and facet structure.
Fancy colored diamonds from Brian Gavin are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most common shape of fancy seems to be the cushion cut diamond. Perhaps this is because the cushion cut shape provides enough depth to enable the diamond cutter to shape and facet the diamond crystal in a manner that create more intense color.
The natural fancy intense yellow cushion cut diamond that I helped my client select, was set in an engagement ring custom designed by Brian Gavin.
The ring features a halo of white diamonds which creates the perfect contrast to intensify the effect of the fancy yellow colored diamond upon her finger.
One of the rarest shapes of fancy colors is round because that facet structure creates too much light return and sparkle. As a matter of fact, round brilliant ideal cut diamonds are great for masking color, but not so good for enhancing fancy colors.
Consequently, it can be difficult to find fancy color diamonds that are cut well in terms of the polish and symmetry grades. Therefore I strongly recommend that you search for fancy color diamonds on Brian Gavin by color and intensity.
At the same time, I recommend that you click on all of the options available for shape for the best selection. Understand that while you might have your heart set on a princess cut, you might discover that a cushion cut diamond provides the best value and intensity of color at the moment.
Of course, I'm happy to help you search for fancy color diamonds. Just drop send me a search request using our FREE Diamond Concierge Service by clicking on the blue button below.
Todd Gray is a professional diamond buyer with 30+ years of trade experience. He loves to teach people how to buy diamonds that exhibit incredible light performance! In addition to writing for Nice Ice, Todd "ghost writes" blogs and educational content for other diamond sites. When Todd isn't chained to a desk, or consulting for the trade, he enjoys Freediving! (that's like scuba diving, but without air tanks)
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