Defining Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds

The color of the diamonds is defined by a number of characteristics. By definition, a perfect colorless diamond has no additional chemical traits, a structurally perfect form, and absolutely no color at all. However, locating such a stone is nearly impossible, if it even exists. Different compound elements in the stones produced some of the most exquisite fancy colored diamonds, and the demand for these colored diamonds has grown.

 Fancy Colors

Pure natural fancy colored diamonds

From left to right: Fancy Vivid Pink, Fancy Vivid Green, Fancy Vivid Blue, Fancy Vivid Yellow, and Fancy Vivid Purple


The color is affected by structural defects in the crystal lattice that can influence the optical transparency, and the addition of chemical impurities contained in the stones composition. For example, the greater the element of nitrogen (N) found in the composition of the stone, the stronger the presence of a yellow color will be. The greater the element of boron (B) found in the composition of the stone, the stronger the presence of a blue color will be.

 Yellow diamonds color scale

Yellow Diamonds that have different levels of Nitrogen within the composition of the stones

Blue Diamond Scale

Blue Diamonds that have different levels of Boron within the composition of the stones


It has been said that fancy color diamonds can be found in every color of the rainbow. The combination of secondary colors and various intensities in the stones makes fancy colored diamonds so unique. What is so amazingly interesting is the fact that in all the fancy colored stones, each one has its own unique characteristics.

What is Diamond Color

The colors present in the diamonds composition are created by the compound elements within the stones. The composition of these elements is specifically what makes these stones so magical.

The various diamond colors found are blue, pink, yellow, orange, green, brown, grey, black, purple, violet, white, and the rarest red. However, as rare as colored diamonds are, pure or single colored stones are extremely difficult to acquire. Most colored diamonds are combinations of certain colors and are known as "Scondery hues" or "Over-tones".

Fancy Colored Diamonds

The only natural fancy color diamonds that have the ability to temporarily change colors are known as chameleon diamonds. These stones are not actually a color of their own. However, they are sold in their own class because of their outstanding ability to change from one color to another.

The color of these stones changes temporarily when gently heated, or when left in darkness for a period of time. Chameleon diamonds always have diamond fluorescence and the dominant color will always be Yellow, Green Brown or Grey. The diamond color may contain overtones with different combinations of gray, green, yellow, or brown.

 Fancy Chameleon

A Chameleon diamond photographed at different stages within the heating process

Learn more about Chameleon diamonds.

The Three Attributes of Colors

Identifying exactly what colors are present in the stone is somewhat difficult by the untrained eye. However, diamond professionals use systematic methods to identify the exact colors of the stones. The three attributes that are used when assessing a diamonds color are the hue, the tone, and the saturation.

  • The hue is the tint of color that is present in the stone.
  • The tone is the lightness or darkness of the color.
  • The saturation is the strength or purity of the colors.

Together, these characteristics are all measured and adapted to qualify the stones as a specific grade on the color scale.


Assessing the Value

The characteristics used to assess the value of a diamond are different from those used to assess the color of the stones. The 3 attributes that have the greatest impression on the value are the rarity of the color, the intensity of the color, and the size of the diamond.

  • The rarity - Some of the fancy colored diamonds are rarer than others. For example in the image below, Yellow is rare, Blue is very rare, Pink is extremely rare, and Red is the most rare.

 Some Rare Fancy Colored Diamonds - Yellow, Blue, Pink, and Red

Extremely rare fancy colored diamonds
From left to right: Fancy Vivid Yellow, Fancy Vivid Blue, Fancy Vivid Pink, Fancy Red


  • The color intensity – Although some colors are valuable, how intense the color is shown will significantly affect the price of the stone.

Green Diamond Color Scale

Different Intensities of Green Color Diamonds


  • The size of the diamonds – Other than the color combination and intensity of the color, the carat weight of the stones significantly increase or decrease the value.

 Various Diamond Sizes

Various Diamond Sizes

The characteristics noted above are all measured and used to quantify the value of the diamonds. Needless to say, the value is connected to market demand. However, diamonds will always remain the same. Their color will never fade and their value will never fall. Diamonds are some of the few permanent valuable assessts that remain.

Contributor: Benji Margolese

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