Fancy colored diamonds are becoming more and more popular as center stones for engagement rings. Colorless or “white diamonds” are still the most popular choice, but fancy color diamonds are catching up! Brian Gavin custom designed this ring for one of my clients. They purchased their first engagement ring from me in 1999, this ring commemorates their upcoming anniversary! 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 best fancy color diamond for your budget and preference of color. Fancy color 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 fancy color diamonds. The majority of fancy color diamonds are graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Gem Trade Laboratory. The majority of diamonds dug out of the ground are actually of industrial quality. Fewer than 20% of all the diamonds in the world are gem quality. The majority of gem quality diamonds are colorless or white diamonds.
Thus the fancy color diamonds you’ll find at Brian Gavin are quite rare and cost more than white diamonds. However fancy colored diamonds might be more affordable than you imagine. Fancy color diamonds make a statement that is undeniably as unique as the beauty of each individual diamond. Every fancy color diamond 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 fancy colored diamonds are those which are red in color. This 0.23 carat, natural fancy red color, cushion cut diamond from Brian Gavin fetches a whopping $83K. Can you imagine spending that much for a quarter carat diamond? The next rarest and most expensive natural fancy colored diamonds tend to be blue, pink, green, and orange.
If you’re paying close attention, you might have noticed that I keep referring to “natural fancy colored diamonds. This is because many fancy colored diamonds 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.
It seems like every fancy colored diamond that I’ve seen that has been irradiated looks like it is more neon in color than something which occurs naturally in nature. However I’ve seen some diamonds which have been heat treated that looked perfectly fine… So I’m not necessarily opposed to fancy colored diamonds which have been heat treated to enhance the color. However there is a part of me which definitely prefers the purity of a fancy colored diamond which is natural in color and which has not been enhanced.
This 1.16 carat, Internally Flawless, natural, fancy intense, cushion cut diamond from Brian Gavin is comparable to the one which I helped my client select. It is currently selling for $11,700.00 with a discount available for payment via cash / wire transfer. Diamond grading reports for fancy color diamonds are different than the reports which accompany colorless or white diamonds.
The diamond grading report on the left, features a section for Color which 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 this 1.16 carat, Internally Flawless, natural, fancy intense, cushion cut diamond from Brian Gavin is stated as being “Fancy Intense” which refers to the Saturation of Color. That is the degree of saturation which is measured from Faint to Fancy Vivid. Diamonds that exhibit stronger saturation of color are more valuable and will be more expensive.
You might hear the word “Hue” be used to refer to the color of a fancy colored diamond, 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. The deeper the tone, the deeper the color of the diamond…
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.
The least expensive fancy colored diamonds tend to be those which are brown in hue. Brown diamonds are frequently marketed as chocolate and champagne 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 fancy colored diamonds are cut to deepen the intensity of color. Fancy color diamonds are not necessarily cut to maximize brilliance or light return, it’s all about the color.
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, which 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 colored diamond seems to be the cushion cut diamond. Perhaps because the cushion cut shape provides enough depth to enable the diamond cutter to be able to shape and facet the diamond crystal in a manner which intensifies the 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 colored diamonds is round because that facet structure creates too much light return and sparkle. Round brilliant cut diamonds are great for masking color, not enhancing fancy colors.
It can be difficult to find fancy color diamonds which 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 of color. But you should click on all of the options for shape to determine what is available. 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.
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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