Diamonds are considered one of the most beautiful and sought-after stones in the world. But many people don’t realize that there are several varieties of colored diamonds that are even rarer and more expensive than their colorless counterparts! So let’s find out everything there is to know about colored diamonds right now.
The most expensive colored diamonds are red diamonds. While the majority of red diamonds come from Australia, they are quite rare and can be extremely expensive. However, it’s important to note that other colors, such as blue, green, and even clear colorless diamonds, can also be the most expensive, depending on their grading and size.
Now, if you want to understand exactly what gives a diamond its color, as well as understand the GIA diamond color scale and what to look for in a colored diamond before buying one, keep reading! This article has all the information you need.
|Price Per Carat||$2,000 – $16,000||$3,000-$5,000||$2,000- $5,000||$6,800 – $11,200||$50,000- $100,000||$10,000- $700,000||$1 million|
- What is diamond color?
- What is the GIA diamond color scale?
- What are the different diamond colors?
- What is the most expensive colored diamond?
- Features to look for in colored diamonds
- Related Guides
- Are Composite Diamonds Real or Fake? (Cost & Buyer’s Guide)
- What is a Solitaire Diamond? (Pricing Guide, Pros & Cons)
- Morganite vs Diamond (Pricing, Hardness & Key Differences)
What is diamond color?
First things first, let’s talk about what diamond color means and what actually gives diamonds their color!
Colored diamonds are simply the stones we all know and love but with either faded or bright hues of various colors. You may be surprised to know that most diamonds do have some color within them, even if it’s not immediately visible to the eye.
All diamonds are made when carbon is pressurized within the earth’s surface. And colored diamonds occur when other elements interact with carbon when the diamond is forming.
Various elements, including nitrogen, sulfur, and boron, can be found in the earth, which creates red, green, blue, yellow, and even brown diamonds.
Interestingly, pink and red diamonds are the only colored diamonds that are not formed with another chemical element. Pink diamonds get their color from intense heat during the formation period, and red diamonds are technically colorless diamonds that are colorful due to a unique stress lamination when forming.
It’s vital to understand that because the emergence of brightly colored diamonds is a rare occurrence during which certain elements or temperatures need to be present, they are considered some of the rarest stones in the world and are highly coveted.
Now, you should also understand that how vibrant the color is can greatly affect the diamond’s value, and where it falls on the GIA diamond color scale plays a big part in the price of colored diamonds.
What is the GIA diamond color scale?
The GIA diamond color scale is an industry standard that classifies colorless and colored diamonds according to their brilliance and color.
And it is important to know how the GIA classifications are awarded and why it makes certain diamonds more expensive than others.
GIA clear diamond color scale
First, the GIA scale doesn’t only apply to colored diamonds. It is also used when the stones are clear or colorless.
The GIA, or Gemological Institute of America, grading for clear diamonds ranges from letters D to Z, where D is the clearest diamond and Z has the most yellow or brown coloring.
Although it may be confusing, there can be clear diamonds that look colorful but are simply deep into the GIA clear diamond color scale.
Within the GIA scale, D, E, and F are essentially completely colorless, whereas G, H, I, and J are considered nearly colorless. Letters K, L, and M have a slightly yellow coloring, and those labeled N-Z are very light yellow.
Within this scale, the colorless diamonds in the D, E, and F classifications are the most expensive diamonds. And the price will decrease until after Z, when the diamonds are considered colored or fancy.
Therefore, if you love yellow diamonds, opting for a colorless diamond with a GIA classification of N-Z might be a great option as they are more plentiful and likely more affordable than loose, actually labeled yellow diamonds!
Now that you understand how the GIA color scale is applied to colorless diamonds, it’s time to talk about how it’s applied to colored diamonds.
GIA colored/fancy diamond color scale
The GIA grading color scale for colored diamonds is quite different from the scale for colorless diamonds.
After the Z classification, diamonds that have a deep coloring are considered Fancy and are categorized into 27 different hues.
These colors vary from Red to Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet, and everywhere in between.
And within these colors, there are further classifications, including Fair, Very Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Dark, and Fancy Deep.
As you can see, understanding the GIA scale for colored diamonds is quite complicated! So if you’re looking to purchase a colored diamond, you should understand the classification but also reach out to a professional to help you find the exact colored diamond you’re looking for.
What are the different diamond colors?
In addition to grasping how diamonds are classified within the GIA scale, the next thing you need to understand is what the different diamond colors are and how these colors impact the value of the diamond.
Diamonds that are considered colorless are the most plentiful diamonds available today. And the reason why is that they do not need extreme heat or extra elements in addition to carbon to form as colored diamonds do.
Although, technically, colorless diamonds are more common, finding a completely colorless diamond is still quite rare.
So, while most colorless diamonds are less expensive than colored diamonds, if they are high on the GIA scale, i.e. a D, E, or F, which are clear and colorless, they can be more expensive than some other colored diamonds.
Next, when it comes to yellow diamonds, it can be tricky to understand their rarity and value.
And that is because there are white or colorless diamonds with a yellow tint that are more common and less valuable, and Fancy true yellow diamonds, which are harder to come by and, therefore, more valuable.
Colorless diamonds with an N-Z GIA scale rate are far less expensive than true yellow diamonds, such as Canary diamonds which can cost between $8,000 to $16,000 for a 1-carat stone.
However, of all the colored diamonds, yellow are the most commonly found, which means they aren’t as expensive as the blue, red, and green options.
In addition to yellow diamonds, there are also yellow-brown and brown diamonds that are more commonly called cognac, chocolate-colored, or champagne diamonds.
While the color of a brown diamond can vary from light yellowish-brown to dark orangy-brown, these colors are almost as common as yellow-tinted white diamonds. In fact, 15% of the world’s diamonds are brown diamonds.
Therefore, they are not considered one of the most expensive diamonds. That being said, the richer the color, the more expensive the diamond! So chocolate diamonds will cost quite a bit more than champagne diamonds.
So while you may get your hands on a fairly inexpensive light brown diamond with a yellow tint, if you want the dark purplish-brown diamond, it will likely cost quite a bit more.
Next, we have blue diamonds, which are extremely rare as only 1% of mined diamonds are considered blue diamonds. And, of course, rarer means more expensive!
For example, while you can find a 1-carat brown diamond for around $2,000, a blue diamond of the same size is usually between $6,800 to $11,200.
Blue diamonds can come from South Africa, India, and Australia, but the interesting thing about these colored diamonds is that they are formed deeper within the earth’s surface than other colors.
They need serpentinite which is produced by shifts in oceanic tectonic plates to form, making them not only rare but difficult to mine.
As we move up our list of colored diamonds, the price starts to increase significantly. A 1-carat green diamond usually costs between $50,000 and $100,000!
Green diamonds are especially rare as they formed when the carbon in the earth’s surface is exposed to radiation found in groundwater.
Most of the world’s green diamonds come from South America or Africa, and there are currently only 300 that are over 1 carat in the world.
Any green diamond over 3 carats, of which there are only about 10 on the planet, are kept in museums.
Now, pink diamonds are incredibly special as they are not formed with additional elements but from intense heat beneath the surface of the earth.
While most of the pink diamonds available today were mined in Australia, some come from Brazil as well. However, of all the diamonds in the world, only 0.1% are classified as pink diamonds, which makes them extremely rare.
As with all rarities, pink diamonds are incredibly expensive. Although you may find a Fancy-Light pink diamond for $10,000 a carat, the Fancy-Intense pink diamonds can cost $700,000 per carat!
And last on the list, we have red diamonds, which are usually the most expensive colored diamonds available today.
There have only been around 30 red diamonds discovered on earth, and most of them are less than 1 carat. However, the Moussaieff Diamond, which is certainly the most famous of its kind, is 5.11 carats and was sold for $8 million in 2001.
Red diamonds cost around $1 million per carat, making them the most expensive colored diamond by a landslide!
What is the most expensive colored diamond?
So, let’s talk about red diamonds, the most expensive colored diamond on the planet!
The first red diamond the public was aware of was found in Montana in 1956. However, since this finding, red diamonds have only been mined in Australia, Africa, South America, and in some cases, Russia.
But it’s important to note that technically red diamonds could be found anywhere as they do not need any additional elements to form as most other colored diamonds do.
Red diamonds are pure and formed solely from carbon. They get their red color from a rare occurrence of stress lamination in the lattices as they form.
Some diamond experts actually consider red diamonds colorless diamonds as they are not formed in the same way as other colored diamonds. They are scientifically completely pure colorless diamonds, but they are filled with a bright red color due to a curiosity that occurs while it’s being formed.
While you can certainly still purchase a red diamond, they are hard to find and are only sold by select jewelers. However, if you are desperate for a red diamond, you are far more likely to find those classified as Purplish-Red as opposed to Fancy Red. And you definitely shouldn’t expect to find a 1-carat red diamond unless you have serious connections.
If you do find a red diamond for sale, there is no doubt that it will cost you a fortune. As you now know, a red diamond typically costs around $1 million per carat, but most of the red diamonds available today are around .5 carat and cost $500,000.
Features to look for in colored diamonds
Finally, it’s important to understand that there are other features to consider when purchasing a colored diamond other than just the color itself!
First, when it comes to diamonds, you absolutely have to understand grading, also known as the 4 C’s.
In order to compare diamonds, the Gemological Institute of America, or the GIA, created the grading scale in the 1950s. This includes assessing the clarity, color, cut, and carat weight of each diamond to assess its value.
The most expensive diamonds in the world rate highest in all 4 categories, meaning they are without blemish, clear, cut and polished, and of course, large!
When you shop for diamonds, a true dealer will be able to explain the 4 C’s of each and every diamond they sell. But it’s vital to understand that usually, diamonds do not excel in all categories without being in museums or royal crowns.
Next, many people don’t realize that the shape of a diamond can change the impact of the color.
While there are many shapes of cut and polished diamonds these days, experts report that round diamonds shine with the most brilliance and produce the deepest colors.
So if you’re looking for a Fancy-Intense colored diamond but do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend, you should absolutely opt for a round cut to enhance the color it does have.
Last but not least, let’s talk about size. It is a common misconception that a larger diamond always means a higher price point.
As you now know, the grading includes color and clarity, and even a small high-graded colored diamond can be more valuable than a large lower graded diamond!
Colored or colorless diamonds that are large but have blemishes and aren’t deeply colored or perfectly clear are typically less expensive than smaller diamonds that are absolutely perfect.
Although there are several classifications of colored diamonds, including colorless, yellow, brown, blue, green, pink, and red, red diamonds are, without a doubt, the most expensive colored diamonds.
And the reason why they are so expensive is that they are incredibly rare. Red diamonds are pure carbon formed with a rarity that presents a red color when stress lamination occurs.
There are only around 30 actual red diamonds around the world, and although you may be able to find a Purple-ish red or a variety of red-hued diamonds, it will still cost you about $1 million per carat.
Our Team of 10 includes jewelry experts, antique Buyers & Sellers, baseball card collectors, and other appraisal experts.