Some of the world’s most rare diamonds are colored and many people wonder, where do colored diamonds come from, and how do they become colored in the first place? Diamonds that are colorless or “white diamonds” are made of 100% carbon. Colored diamonds, however, are formed when another mineral, not normally present, comes in contact with the carbon during the formation of the stone. This produces a hue in the diamond, making the whole process quite rare. Different minerals produce a variety of colors, such as boron in the case of blue diamonds, and nitrogen for yellow diamonds. These are not gemstones, they are actual diamonds, and they exhibit the same extreme hardness and brightness as that of a conventional white diamond.
Just as in the case of white diamonds, there are many factors that determine the value of colored diamonds, the first being how abundant that particular color of diamond is. The more rare the color, and the larger the size of the stone, the more it is worth per carat when compared to some other more abundant colors of stones. The colors are also classified by their intensity, ranging (in order of best to least) Fancy Vivid, Fancy Intense, Fancy, Fancy Light and Fancy Faint. The more intense the color of the diamond, the better the quality, and the higher it is rated. The next factor to influence the price of a stone is the diamond clarity. Inclusions are small, naturally occurring inconspicuous marks in diamonds. The less visible inclusions are to the naked eye, the price and rarity of the diamond improves.
Yellow diamonds are the most commonly found of all colored diamonds. They are dazzling and quite popular. Because yellow diamonds are much more abundant, they are also more affordable when compared to other colored diamonds. With yellow diamonds, just as with all diamonds, the diamond cut plays a very important role in a stones' value. However, this is especially true for colored diamonds, as the cut of the stone can greatly affect the hue and intensity of the color. Because the cut can enhance the color, and can make it appear richer and darker, this increases the value and grading of the diamond. Shapes like the square, radiant, and cushion are quite popular because they yield magnificent color in yellow diamonds.
Blue diamonds are considered extremely rare and valuable. Blue diamonds have hues like the color of the blue sea, the sky or even that of a pale wintry day. Collectors’ prize orange and green colored diamonds (such as the Dresden Green pictured left) that are said to have pure grading, are so rare that very few people have actually seen these diamonds in person, which is also why very few are ever actually sold on the market.
The “Steinmetz Pink” is known to be the largest internally flawless pink diamond. It weighs 59.60 carats, and took a year and eight months for experts to cut it. In recent news, you may have heard about a rare fancy intense pink diamond weighing 24.78 carats (show above) that will be auctioned by Sotheby in Hong Kong in November 2010. It is estimated that this rare pink diamond will bring between $27 and $38 million, according to Sotheby's auctioneers.
The increased popularity in colored diamonds today can be illustrated by the surge of requests for grading these gemstones at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the world’s foremost authority in gemology. The GIA reports it has experienced a 102% increase in demand for colored diamond services since 1999, according to Tom Moses, senior vice president of GIA Laboratory and Research.
Although colored diamonds have been around for decades,” Moses said, “the dramatic increase in their place in the consumer market in the last two to three years has been unprecedented.” It’s no wonder that the demand for colored diamonds is on the rise, with so many options to choose from, there is something for everyone to choose from in most any color.