What are colored diamonds?
This is a good question! While shopping for a diamond engagement ring, all of the diamonds I see are white or colorless, so where is the color? I don’t see it. This is the reaction many people have when the subject of color arises in a discussion of diamonds. Here is how I explain it.
Some of the colored diamonds, such as pink or blue, are very rare. Depending on the intensity and hue of a diamond’s coloration, a diamond’s color can either reduce or enhance its value. For example, most white diamonds are lowered in value as more yellow hue is detectable, while intense pink or blue diamonds (such as the Hope diamond) are very rare.
Most diamonds are free of any color but a diamond may contain a few atoms of nitrogen that can show up as a yellow or brownish tint. This effect is present in almost every diamond. In only the rarest of diamonds it is undetectable and these are the the highest-quality diamonds sometimes called blue white. In contrast to yellow or brown hues, other colors such as pink or blue are very rare and demand a much higher price.
Colored diamonds with a bright, yellow color are referred to as canary diamonds. A variety of impurities can cause other diamonds to have yellow, pink, blue, red, brown, green, and other shades. Diamonds with unusual or intense coloration are referred to as “fancy” in the diamond industry.
Gemologists have developed a vast array of color-grading systems to classify diamonds. The 4 C’s — color, cut, carat weight and clarity, are all studied while the diamonds are graded. These experts spend many years learning their trade in their quest to assure the diamonds they classify meet the stringent benchmarks of diamond certification.
Many years ago I worked as a manager of a small jewelry store where the owner of the store had a clientele who were quite well off financially. Over the years the owner had given into their wishes and whenever a holiday or special anniversary or birthday of one of their wives or partners arose he would bring in from the wholesalers an assortment of diamond rings, and especially canary yellow diamond rings for their perusal. Although our regular inventory was of a fine quality, these special rings were something else again. Our customers appreciated the effort to fill a void by making a purchase or two and went out of their way to thank us. The news of this spread around the city and our store became the envy of the other jewelers.