Fancy. Color. Diamonds. Yep, that’s a gemological term! Any diamond that isn’t your typical crystalline white color is likely considered a “fancy color”. Yellow, blue, green, red, chocolate, champagne… the list goes on. Fancy colored diamonds are less common for most folks to choose for a central engagement ring gem, but they are real dang cool and we love it when we do get to work with a client to select one. For those considering a colored diamond engagement ring, we tapped Emily Duke of Diamond Envy. She’s the first person we call when we are on the hunt of a fancy colored diamond and she’s here to give us all a little background on How Fancy Colored Diamonds Work!
What are the most popular of colored diamonds?
Yellow was the gateway to color for most people. “Canary diamonds” as they are often called, are still very popular along with brown or “chocolate” diamonds (Levian’s trademarked term.) They are more abundant in nature and are therefore, a very affordable option for diamond lovers. Thanks to impressive auction results over the past decade, along with some celebrity attention, pinks and blues are also quite desirable. They are much rarer though, so prices are significantly higher - a collector’s item of sorts.
Are colored diamonds more expensive than traditional colorless/near colorless diamonds?
Yes and no. Colorless and natural colored diamonds are both valued based on rarity. As I mentioned above, yellows and browns are mined frequently so their prices are generally lower, especially compared to a D (colorless) flawless diamond. Very rare colors though, like green, purple and red are so rarely discovered that they can sell for over $1 million per carat, blowing colorless diamonds out of the water! Of course other factors like carat weight and color intensity can affect price too.
What is your opinion of lab created colored diamonds?
Lab created diamonds are interesting. Right now they are being touted as an eco-friendly and conflict-free alternative to mined diamonds - but that might be a whole separate conversation to have. As far as their beauty? I can’t say for sure. I would say that because they have the same chemical makeup, they can be just as lovely.
Color treated diamonds though, to me, are just not as incredible as the real deal. Many are “coated” with a color that can wear off or chip. Others are heat treated to get better color. Part of the intrigue of natural colored diamonds is that Mother Nature combined these rare forces to give us unique jewels.
Is there a specific shape and color combo that you see time and time again?
Diamonds with natural color are a challenge to cut. From the rough, the cutter wants to bring out the most color. Rounds are best at reflecting white light so the shape is best for colorless diamonds. Brilliant cut fancy shapes (cushion, oval, radiant, pear, marquise) bring out the color best. We see a lot of yellow radiants because they produce strong color. As far as fashion and demand, we’re seeing a pretty big surge in cushions and pink just keeps gaining popularity. Yellows will probably always have a place in the business though because they are pretty and affordable.
Is there a specific shape and color combo that you think is amazing that the general population just hasn't tapped into yet?
I think chameleon diamonds are just absolutely insane. They change color and scientists aren’t completely sure why. How cool? They are priced really well too but that likely won’t last if we see a spike in demand.… maybe it’s just because my favorite color is green!
My other thought on this has to do with saturation. I think it’s interesting that most shoppers only want really strong color. A nice fancy light pink oval? So dreamy. Plus, they’re way more budget friendly than fancy intense or vivid options.
What are your favorite setting designs for a colored diamond?
I’m not a fan of the halo when it comes to colorless diamonds, but when you put some bright whites around a colored diamond, the color really pops. I think a traditional three stone is also nice for the same reason. There’s something so chic about taking a classic style and adding your own twist - in this case, a colored diamond center.
How long have you been working with colored diamonds? Why did you choose this avenue?
Our founder grew up in the business and he’s had his own wholesale company for over 15 years. He started out cutting colorless diamonds, but when he came across natural colored diamonds, he fell in love. I started in the industry just 3 short years ago but I’m hooked too! For us, color is exciting. Each stone is unique and special. There’s so much to learn and see.
We have an affinity for rare. Since starting in colored diamonds, we’ve added emeralds, sapphires and rubies to our inventory. We focus on each stone individually. If it’s extraordinary, we’re interested. We always joke that it’s hard to sell because we have a hard time parting with something so beautiful.
It can be a challenge to find natural colored diamonds in retailers across the US and the world, so we decided to share our passion with everyone. In 2013 we launched DiamondEnvy.com to bring our rare inventory to the web.