What makes a diamond valuable? Is it the size, the clarity, the cut, the color? We all are all familiar with the 4C’s, and we know that the price of a diamond is based on all of these factors. But how do these measures apply to colored diamonds?
Is a pale pink diamond more valuable or expensive than the same sized clear diamond? Are blue diamonds worth more than yellow ones? I remember someone discussing colored stones, and their respective prices last year, as they were getting engaged, and I was lost. Beyond the price being high, I had no frame of reference if they were getting a good deal, how impressed I was supposed to be, or any general information that could have let me add to the conversation more than “Wow, that sounds amazing.”
So, if you’re ever in this situation, or just to satisfy your general curiosity, we’re going to put the debate of colored versus clear diamonds to rest once and for all.
Now you know why the color of your diamond matters. But what color options are available? Well, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has a color grading system that ranges from letters D to Z. A grade D diamond would be considered absent of color and completely clear, while a Z-grade being heavily colored.
Here is a summary of the classification system:
D, E, & F – Colorless
These are the most common types of diamonds. These diamonds are best paired with a platinum setting, as other metals and colors may cause a tinted reflection on the diamond, not letting it sparkle to its true potential.
G, H, I, & J – Nearly colorless
These stones appear colorless to the naked eye, but when magnified you can see traces of tint. They cost less than their colorless counterparts.
K, L, & M – Faintly tinted
These are diamonds with a really faint tint that appears yellowish, gray, or brown. These are great when paired with a gold setting because the gold will grab more attention away from the slight tint of the diamonds.
N, O, P, Q, & R – Lightly tinted
This category of diamonds has a tint that is visible to the naked eye. The tint can be yellow, brown, or another warm color. Again, the ideal setting would be gold.
S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, & Z – Heavily tinted
Heavily tinted diamonds are the rarest and most expensive. They come in various tints, starting from yellow, blue, pink, and progressing all the way to brown. Their tint is perfectly visible even when the rock is mounted. They are popularly known as fancy-colored diamonds.
Ultimately the choice between colored or colorless diamond comes down to the wearer’s preference. If you don’t like colored diamonds, it shouldn’t matter how much they’re worth, go with a clear one. But if we’re just talking about value, generally a colored diamond is considered more valuable than a clear one.
We can’t stop there though. Even with colored diamonds, there is a ranking order between which shades are more expensive than other ones. For instance, yellow-hued diamonds are considered to have a lower worth compared to many colorless ones. On the other hand, pink and blue diamonds are considered rarer and can carry a pretty big price tag, but they are still not considered as valuable as red diamonds.
What accounts for the dramatic variation in price and value?
The rarer the diamond, the more it’s going to be worth. The order from most common to most rare follows:
- Intense Pink and Blue
It should be noted, that whole, solid yellow diamonds can be valued higher than clear diamonds.
Demand vs. supply
While not everyone prefers colored diamonds, the demand for them is still higher than its supply, and that is why their value continues to increase.
So, are colored diamonds for you or do you prefer a more classic, less attention grabbing stone? Whatever your choice, always make sure to buy from a reputable jeweler. They will be able to give you the most options, pricing, and selection not available to many other stores. Seven out of ten of the most expensive diamonds ever sold in an auction are colored. What will yours be?