Diamond Education

What is the very reason that natural color diamonds exist? Fancy color diamonds come in a broad range of shades ranging from light yellow and a rich canary color to fancy blue diamonds available in a wide range of shades, from sky blue to a more "steely" color than sapphire. Fancy green diamonds are also available, as are attractive champagne diamonds and a whole host of other richly color diamonds.

Buyers – whether collectors, investors or private individuals looking for spectacular color diamond jewelry for loved ones – do not always have a full understanding of color diamonds. Shelley, with her deep knowledge and passion for color stones, provides them with that information, giving them a type of crash course in color diamonds so that they know what their options are and which goods are worth acquiring.

Natural color diamond characteristics
Sparkle and life – an excellent cut brings out the color and sparkle of the gem.
An acceptable level of purity – that no noteworthy inclusion can be seen with the naked eye, and the impurities are in line with the overall color of the stone.
A uniform, or constant, and harmonious color. In other words, that the stone does not have any areas where the color is stronger or weaker.

How is Color Determined
In the world of natural color diamonds, the world's most reputable gem lab is the GIA. A diamond’s color is judged according to the following factors:
Hue: this relates to the main color of a diamond, such as pink, yellow, blue, green or brown. There can also be modifiers, or tints, which give more than one hue to the gem which would effectively put it in another color category. A purplish-pink diamond means a pink diamond with purplish tints. The second color mentioned, such as pink in 'purplish-pink', means pink is the dominant color. However, purple-pink indicates that the color is evenly divided between purple and pink. However, if there aren't any such tints, the hue of the stone is said to be a pure primary color.

Tone: this represents how light or dark a stone seems to be, and depends on how much brown, black, gray or white there is.
Saturation: this relates to the strength or intensity of the hue or main color. The saturation of lightly toned diamonds varies from light to fancy, intense and vivid. Darker diamonds vary from deep to dark in description.
Distribution: this refers to how evenly the color is spread throughout the stone.

The meaning of Fancy Color Diamonds
Fancy color describes a diamond's color in relation to the traditional color scale used for colorless diamonds. Most mined diamonds are in the colorless to light yellow range (D to Z grade).

However, fancy color diamonds have their own scale, since they have a distinct and rich color. Whereas colorless and near colorless diamonds are valued for their lack of color, fancy color diamonds derive their value from the intensity and distribution of their color, and are extremely rare.
A typical mine will usually produce one colored diamond for every 10,000 white or colorless stones, but only one large, fine, fancy colored diamond will be found for every million diamonds mined.

Along with describing a color, the GIA grades its saturation: faint, very light, light, fancy light, fancy, fancy dark, fancy intense, fancy deep, and fancy vivid. The last two were added in 1994 to reflect the broader range of shades coming to market. The range is widest for yellow diamonds which are the most numerous type of color diamond. A stone’s value can rise by as much as 25 percent for each notch it moves up on the saturation scale.

Not a color but sometimes a modifying influence, where in certain colored diamonds emit visible light (glow) when a higher energy source, such as X-rays, cathode rays, ultraviolet rays or visible light, is turned on. Fluorescent diamonds show different strength emissions, which are characterized as inert (non-fluorescent), weak, moderate, strong, or very strong, in a range of colors including violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, red and their sub-colors.

Diamonds typically fluoresce in the following hues and corresponding common color names: violet (mauve), blue (powder), green (moss or lime), yellow (lemon or mustard), orange (apricot or flame), pink (rose or salmon), red (blood) and certain color combinations. Sometimes the term chalky is used to describe fluorescent colors that appear dull or subdued in brightness, and sometimes the term oily is used to denote fluorescent colors that appear to have a hazy appearance in an otherwise transparent diamond.


Natural red diamonds are the rarest of all natural color stones. So much so that fewer than 10 such diamonds are produced annually in the whole world.


Looking to create a spectacular piece of natural colored diamond jewelry? Contact Shelley & Co for advice and how we can find the exact diamonds that you require for elegant jewelry.

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