The Rarest Diamond Colors: Why Are Colored Diamonds So Valuable?

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Did you know that the rarest diamond colors are much more valuable than the traditional white diamond color? 

Now, we are all familiar with the 4Cs, which is how we rate a diamond’s value in terms of color, cut, carats, and clarity. And while the color grading system rates the value of a diamond by the lack or absence of color, there are colored diamonds that are more expensive than colorless diamonds because they are extremely rare.

Here, we’ll discuss more on diamond colors, which ones are the rarest, and what makes them extremely valuable. Let’s get right to it…  

Why Are Colored Diamonds Expensive?

Fancy color diamonds are known for their exquisite beauty. These rare gemstones account for less than 0.1% of the annual production of all diamonds in the world. This is because there are only a few mines all over the world that produce the rarest colored diamonds.  

While colored diamonds are already so scarce, there are extremely rare colored diamonds that are highly sought after by diamond enthusiasts and collectors. 

Types of Fancy Color Diamonds and Pricing

  • Very High Pricing

Red diamonds

  • High-range Pricing

Blue, Green, Violet, Purple, and Pink Diamonds

  • Mid-range Pricing

Orange Diamonds, Intense and Vivid Yellow Diamonds

  • More Affordable Pricing

Brown, Grey, and Fancy Yellow Diamonds

Diamond Color Intensity Scale

The intensity in fancy color diamonds adds another layer of value. Colored diamonds are also graded by the level of saturation in their color.

Here are 9 grades in the diamond color intensity scale:

  1. Faint
  2. Very Light 
  3. Light
  4. Fancy Light
  5. Fancy
  6. Fancy Intense
  7. Fancy Vivid
  8. Fancy Deep
  9. Fancy Dark

Diamond Color Classification

A diamond’s natural color has its own set of factors that contribute to producing its hues while they are formed deep beneath the earth. These factors are:

  • Elements
  • Minerals
  • Gases
  • Incubation time (usually eons)
  • Ambient pressures and 
  • Temperatures 

Diamonds are classified scientifically as Type I and Type II. This classification depends upon the: 

  • Presence of nitrogen and
  • Matrix configuration

Type I Diamonds

Types IaA and IaB account for approximately 98% of all diamonds in the world. Type IaA diamonds are commonly found in South Africa, particularly in the Cape Province. Type IaB diamonds are found in Eurasia and in Buffalo Hills, Namibia.  

Type IaA diamonds have nitrogen atoms paired in the matrix and clustered in Type IaB. Diamonds classified as Type IaB are pure and extremely rare because they combine with Type IaA in the same stone.

Type II Diamonds

Type II diamonds are the most sought-after class of diamonds by investors and collectors. The Type IIA has no measurable boron or nitrogen impurities. While there is no nitrogen in a Type IIB diamond, it does have boron in it. 

Which is the rarest diamond color?

The quick answer is red. Of all fancy colored diamonds, red diamonds are extremely hard to find. These colored diamonds are extremely rare because there are less than 30 of these precious stones that exist today.

A red diamond can cost $1 million per carat. And many of the natural red diamonds that exist today are less than half a carat in size. 

Red Diamonds: The Rarest Colored Diamonds 

rarest diamonds red diamonds

We still don’t know exactly how red diamonds are created. But many experts think it’s the result of a process called plastic deformation, which distorts a diamond’s molecular structure. 

Plastic deformation occurs deep below the surface of the earth. This is where pressures are immense and temperatures are extremely hot. 

Intense pressure and heat force the atoms of the newly-formed diamonds to come out of the lattice. And then they slide to another row and reattach themselves. This process leads to some deformations in the diamonds, which refract light to display the red color.    

Red diamonds come from Africa, Australia, and Brazil. The Argyle Mines of Northwestern Australia has been producing red, purple, and pink diamonds since 1983 until it was closed in 2020.

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Red diamonds belong to the IIa and Fancy categories. Currently, about 30 real, natural red-colored diamonds exist.

Even if red is a secondary hue in a certain stone, there’s always a price difference of up to 60% per carat between two equally rated diamonds. Thus, red diamonds can cost 300% to 400% more than other expensive colored diamonds.

Two of the most popular red diamonds today are the Moussaieff Red and the Hancock Red.

Moussaieff Red

The Moussaieff Red is the world’s largest red diamond. It weighs 5.11 carats with a grade of Fancy Red IF. Formerly known as the Red Shield Diamond, it was renamed after it was sold to its buyer. Shlomo Moussaieff, a famous jeweler from London, bought this red diamond in 2001.

The Moussaieff Red is one of the 10 most expensive diamonds in the world. This 5.11-carat Fancy red-colored diamond is worth $1.6 million per carat.  

The Hancock Red   

The Hancock Red is a 0.95-carat Fancy Purplish-Red Brazilian gemstone worth $926,315 per carat. It is the first-ever gem-quality stone or colored diamond sold at an auction. 

Originally worth $13,500 in 1956, it rose to fame when it was sold for $880,000. The unique color of this rare red diamond makes it one of the most famous gems of its kind.  

What is the second rarest diamond color?

Blue Diamonds: The Second Rarest Colored Diamonds

rarest diamonds: blue diamonds

There have been arguments as to which colored diamonds are the second rarest, blue or pink. That said, there are considerably more pink diamonds available in the market, which makes blue the second rarest diamond color. 

Blue diamonds are found in Australia, India, and South Africa. Kimberlite eruptions push them from Earth’s deep underground to the surface. Blue diamonds get their color through the presence of hydrogen and/or boron.

Blue diamonds are rated as Type IIb Fancy and they mostly have a secondary hue. Their color grade ranges from Faint Blue to Fancy Dark Blue. If we compare blue diamonds of identical weight, the greyish-blue one can cost 1/7 of the cost of a Fancy Intense blue diamond.

Interestingly, certain blue diamonds are electrical semiconductors instead of electrical insulators.  

The Hope Diamond

With an estimated value of $200 to $350 million, the Hope Diamond comes from India and is graded as 45.52-carat Fancy Dark Grayish-Blue. This blue diamond was named after London’s Hope family.

The Hope Blue Diamond was cut in 1668. It was stolen and had its recut in 1792. In 1958, its largest remaining section became a permanent exhibit at the American Natural History Museum.

The Blue Moon Diamond

The Blue Moon Diamond got its name by being a top-ranking gemstone in terms of color and clarity. With its 12.03-carat Fancy Vivid IF rating and its $4 million price per carat, this blue diamond was sold at roughly $25.6 million.  

It was renamed the Blue Moon of Josephine after it was bought by Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau as a gift for his 7-year old daughter. Sold for $48 million, the Blue Moon became the most expensive blue diamond in the world.   

The Wittelsbach Graff Diamond is a Fancy Deep blue diamond that was once a part of Austria and Bavaria’s crown jewels. A decade after being displayed at a funeral of the last Bavarian king, it was displayed at an auction at Christie’s in London and then disappeared. In 1958, it was an unrecognized exhibit at the Brussels World Expedition.  

In 2008, it was sold for $23.4 million to Lawrence Graff, a Jeweler from London. Despite some uproar, this blue diamond was recut, turning it from a 35.56-carat Fancy Deep Grayish-Blue VS1 into a 31.06-carat Fancy Deep Blue IF.  

Pink Diamonds

pink diamonds

Pink diamonds come from Australia, Brazil, and South Africa. Their price ranges from $10,000 and $700,000 per carat. More expensive than white or colorless diamonds, a 0.22-carat Fancy Intense pink diamond can cost $4,500. 

Similar to red diamonds and lacking in impurities, 99.5% of pink diamonds get their color not from trace elements but through plastic deformation. Also, the defects within the structure show evidence of electron transfer.

The two famous pink diamonds are the Perfect Pink and the Pink Star.

The Perfect Pink Diamond

The Perfect Pink diamond was sold at Christie’s in Hong Kong in 2010. It is a Fancy Intense pink diamond weighing 14.23 carats and sold for 18,996,100 US dollars.

The Pink Star Diamond

Formerly known as the Steinmetz Pink, it is the largest known Vivid Pink diamond. With a rating of 59.60 carats, it was sold for $83,187,381 in 2013. At $1.19 million per carat, this famous pink diamond was later sold for $71.2 million in 2017.

The less popular Graff Pink is a 24.78-carat Fancy Intense pink diamond known to have potential flawless qualities that makes it incredibly rare.

Most Common Colored Diamonds

Yellow Diamonds

Credits: Wikimedia

Yellow diamonds are the most common fancy colored diamonds. Unsurprisingly, they are also some of the least expensive of all fancy color diamonds. The price of fancy vivid yellow-colored diamonds ranges from $6,500 to $8,000 per carat. 

During formation, around 0.10% concentration of nitrogen combines with newly-formed diamonds. This is how yellow diamonds get their color. The color of a yellow diamond can vary from intense vibrant yellow to dusky brown.   

The Canary Yellow is the most coveted fancy yellow diamond in the world. It has the most saturated color compared to all fancy yellow diamonds. The difference between vivid, intense, and fancy color yellow diamonds lies in their positions along the color grading scale.

In 2020, a Graff 100.90-carat Fancy Vivid yellow diamond was sold for $16.3 million, making it the most valuable yellow diamond ever sold. 

Orange Diamonds

Orange diamonds get their color from mineral atoms of nitrogen, which are incorporated into the lattice. According to the Gemological Institute of America, these colored diamonds are also rare. Especially those orange diamonds that don’t have secondary colors. 

What makes an orange diamond incredibly rare is its atomic structure is aligned in a specific way. Orange diamonds are only found in mines in Australia and Africa.

And while orange diamonds are exceptionally beautiful and extremely rare, they have a low market demand.

In 2005, a ring set with a rare 4.19 carat Fancy Vivid orange diamond was sold for $2.96 million. 

The Pumpkin Orange Diamond

Similar to the Moussaieff Red diamond, it was discovered in South Africa by a local farmer. Believed to have been found in a river, this cushion-shaped, 5.54-carat Fancy Vivid orange diamond has an estimated price of $3 million. 

Green Diamonds

Credit: Wikimedia

Irradiation causes certain diamonds to manifest the green color. They are some of the rarest fancy color diamonds on earth. Green diamonds contain minerals such as nickel, hydrogen, and/or nitrogen.  

Since green diamonds are the result of radiations in the soil, many of these colored gemstones often have a shallow tint layer sitting on top. On the other hand, extremely rare green diamonds have a single shade of green and they sell for millions of dollars at auction houses.     

The Dresden Green Diamond

Originally from India, the Dresden Green is a rare and beautiful pear-shaped colored diamond rated at 40.70 carats. It is currently on display at the Albertinum Museum in Dresden, Germany. The Dresden Green Diamond was first introduced to the public in 1722 through a London newspaper.      

Ocean Dream Diamond

The Ocean Dream is a gorgeous green diamond from Central Africa. The Gemological Institute of America recognizes it as a 5.5-carat Fancy Deep Blue-Green diamond.

The Cora Diamond Corporation currently owns this green diamond. In 2003, the Ocean Dream diamond was part of the Smithsonian’s “The Splendor of Diamonds” exhibit. Its value is estimated to be between $7.5 and $10 million. 

Brown Diamonds 

Brown diamonds are often referred to as chocolate diamonds. Their color is the result of irradiation and the presence of nickel and nitrogen minerals. Their color is either too dark or too light, which can go from Fancy Light to Fancy Intense brown. 

Brown diamonds constitute 15% of all diamonds all around the world. They are known as some of the least expensive colored diamonds available. For centuries, many jewelers didn’t want them since they are low-quality with several imperfections. 

In the 2000s, brown diamonds became popular and their value began to soar with help of branding. Since then, the value of chocolate or brown diamond has increased more than threefold. 

In the 80s and 90s, a gem-quality brown diamond was worth $1,500 a carat. Now, chocolate diamonds may sell up to $10,000 a carat. In the 2018 Grammys, pop singer Rihanna wore a brown diamond necklace worth $130,000.

Rare White Diamonds

The rarest white diamonds are whiter than typical white diamonds. They don’t contain trace elements like nitrogen and other chemicals. Extremely rare white diamonds are rated as Super D or C grade, Type IIA.

In the fall of 2020, Sotheby’s auctioned a flawless strawberry-sized white diamond. Rated at 102.39 carats, it was sold for $15.7 million.

Black Diamonds: Is a black diamond rare?

rare black diamond
Credit: Wikimedia Black diamond

Black diamonds are gemstones that come from Brazil and Central Africa. Generally, these precious stones are opaque. The presence of graphite gives natural black diamonds their unique hue. While natural black diamonds are hard to find, they still cost less than fancy color diamonds.

Enhancement for artificial black diamonds is achieved by burning the rough stones. Intriguingly, men are more interested in black diamonds than women.

Get Your Fancy Color Diamonds at Gold Galore Jewelers

If you’re looking for a diamond ring, band, pendant, or a pair of diamond earrings, we have a wide selection of fancy color gemstones and colorless diamonds at an affordable price. Contact us today! You might come across a rare red diamond for a bargain.  

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