Fancy Color Diamond Guide part 1
Fancy Colored Diamonds: An Introduction to the Dazzling Desire
What is mankind’s fascination with diamonds? What is it about a diamond that makes men lie, cheat, and steal, to obtain them?
The word “adamas” was used by the Greek poet Hesiod in the 8th Century BC to describe the diamond and it was Pliny the Elder, 800 years later that gave the diamond its name for eternity – adama, “the invincible”. The Greeks also believed diamonds to be the tears of the gods.
Man’s love affair with diamonds was first recorded in Biblical texts. Exodus 28:18 describes the garment of the Great Priest of the Hebrews as being decorated with 12 precious stones, one being a diamond, “And the second row [of the breastplate] shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.”
Diamonds were discovered in India in 4th Century BC and were soon being transported along the trade routes of the Silk Road between India and China as their value as a tool, and as an object of desire, became apparent.
Formation of the mineral we know as the diamond occurs deep within the Earth, where tremendous physical forces, hundreds of miles beneath the Earth’s surface, compress and manipulate carbon atoms to form the crystalline structures we know as diamonds.
The most familiar diamonds, while known as ‘near colorless’ stones (color grades H & I), actually have a slight tint, a tint that goes unnoticed since most stones are usually viewed without a stone to compare it to – white/colorless diamonds are actually very rare.
Most people are unaware that diamonds can have coloration. These stones are the rarest of the rare, out of 10,000 carats mined, only 1 carat will occur as a fancy colored diamond.
The History and Legend of Natural Colored Diamonds
Diamonds were discovered in India in 4th Century BC and were soon being transported along the trade routes of the Silk Road between India and China as their value as a tool, and as an object of desire, became apparent. Natural colored diamonds can be found in Australia, Africa, India and South America. The first pink diamond deposits were located in India in the 16th and 17th Century and it took 200 more years for deposits to be found in other countries. The most valuable pink diamonds come from the Argyle Lake region if Western Australia and are so rare that they are only auctioned once per year.
The most legendary fancy colored diamond is the Blue Hope diamond. At 45.52 carats, this fancy, violet colored marvel is one of the most visited museum objects in the world. Fancy colored diamonds have been growing in popularity since the 1960’s and have steadily risen in popularity among collectors and connoisseurs. Other famous diamonds include the Dresden Green, a 41 caret gem with a very rare greenish hue, and the Dresden White, a 49.71 carat, square-cut, absolutely white diamond like the purest of waters. The vast majority of fancy colored stones come from India and were not found outside of that country until the 16th century when they were discovered in Brazil, and later, Africa.
Legend has it that some diamonds are cursed. According to legend, French jeweler Jean Baptiste Tavernier stole the Hope Diamond from a statue of the goddess Sita during an expedition to India and was torn apart by wild dogs soon thereafter. However, historical accounts report that he made his way back to France where he sold it to King Louis XIV. Allegedly, the gem was worn by Marie Antoinette during her beheading.
How Did Diamonds Get Their Color?
Natural colored diamonds occur in over 300 colors with an infinite number of shades and hues. Due to their special nature, natural colored diamonds are given their own special nomenclature unlike the D-Z classifications given to “colorless” diamonds. Color is measured on a scale system ranging from Fancy color diamonds are graded in order of increasing intensity from Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Dark, and Fancy Deep.
Fancy colored diamonds are formed in the same manner as “colorless” diamonds. Two to three billion years ago, carbon bearing rocks, located 90 miles beneath the earth’s surface, were heated to temperatures of around 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and subjected to immense pressure. The rearrangement of carbon atoms in these rocks, combined with bonding to crystal rock, resulted in the formation of diamond crystals and the gemstone we now covet today.
When foreign elements or particles are introduced to the carbon matrix during formation, the result is a fancy colored diamond, the rarest of all gems. The presence of nitrogen creates yellow, brown and, even more rarely, pink hues. The introduction of boron, a grey or grey-blue hue, and hydrogen, grey, green-olive, violet, red, and sometimes blue hue. Another factor that leads to the creation of red, pink, and purple diamonds is the addition of higher than usual pressure and temperature. Increased temperatures during the crystal forming stage can affect the cut of the diamond. Naturally occurring radiation in the Earth’s crust can infiltrate diamonds giving them a blue or green color.
Colored Diamonds: The Most Expensive, Rarest and the Most Popular
Red diamonds are the rarest in nature, with only few known examples in the marketplace today. Naturally occurring pinks are also quite rare and one of the most sought after stones on Earth. The “Darya-I-Nor” Diamond is the largest pink diamond yet found weighing in at 185 carats. You can expect to pay anywhere from $4000 – $4 million for one of these rarest of gems. The most expensive fancy colored diamonds are the reds, pinks, and blues. Typical, rare fancy colored diamonds begin in the $1 million dollar price range. Less expensive yellow diamonds are becoming increasingly popular as well as the brownish, “champaign” hued variety. A purple diamond was recently accessed for 14 million GBP and is considered to be the most valuable natural object in existence, on a weight to weight basis.
Black diamonds, also known as carbonados diamonds, are only found in Brazil and the Central African Republic, however, not a singe black diamond has ever been found in a diamond mine. It is suggested that these marvels may actually come from outer space, thought to be the debris leftover from the explosion of supernovae. The largest black diamond ever cut is the “Spirit de Grisogono”, weighing in at a monstrous 312 carats.
The Difference between Natural and Treated or Synthetic Diamonds
Diamonds can be treated and synthetically made to resemble natural fancy colored diamonds and virtually impossible to differentiate with only a trained gemologist able to detect a synthetic stone. Colorized diamonds are ‘grown’ in high pressure/high temperature growth chambers with real ‘seed’ diamonds of low quality. The seed diamond is then bathed in graphite and proprietary blends of metal based catalysts to produce gem quality fancy colored diamond. However, some gem experts are concerned, as these gems begin to flood the market, that the market for genuine fancy colored diamonds will be negatively impacted.
Fancy Colored Diamonds: One of the Best Investments Today!
Fancy colored diamonds are an excellent investment opportunity due to their value retention, price performance, and portability compared to other types of investments, this according to Nuwire Investor online (http://www.nuwireinvestor.com/articles/investing-in-colored-diamonds-what-you-need-to-know-60305.aspx). Some fancy diamonds are better investments than others so, look for pink, blue, and even high quality yellow diamonds.
Of course the ‘Four C’s’ of diamond selection apply – cut, clarity, color, and carat weight – but the actual color of the gem (i.e. pink vs. yellow) and the intensity need to be taken into account as well. Color is also measured on a scale system ranging from Fancy color diamonds are graded in order of increasing intensity from Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Dark, and Fancy Deep ( Shape is not as important since the way the stone displays color is the more important attribute to consider. The rarest diamonds are red, violet, pink, and blue and be on the lookout for unique color variants such as vivid green blue.
However, if you are seeking a quick turnover for your investment, then fancy colored diamonds are probably not the best investment strategy for you since these precious gems are a long-term investment item. Seek out a knowledgeable and trustworthy diamond merchant as they will best understand the market, and will give you a fair price whether buying or selling.
Diamonds are a miracle millions of years in the making and for those fortunate enough to have the assets to own fancy colored diamonds, a rare and unique investment opportunity. “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” is especially true of the fancy colored varieties since each gem is as unique and special as the stars in the sky. Anyone receiving the gift of one of these beauties is indeed as unique!
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