Fancy Coloured Diamond Guide

All about the different types of rare, fancy coloured diamonds.

Fancy Purple

Natural fancy purple diamonds with pure colour are extraordinarily rare. These precious stones are seldom found in sizes larger than 5 carats. It is much more common for purple diamonds to weigh in on the smaller end, normally no more than 2 carats, but generally much less.

The source of the natural colour of purple diamonds is an intriguing mystery. While some violet diamonds contain boron, which causes the blue colour in diamonds, others have traces of hydrogen instead.

Still, others have structural anomalies in their crystals, similar to pink diamonds. But because purple diamonds are so rare, scientists can’t say for sure what causes this surprising colour.

Light purple diamonds can include lovely lavender, lilac, orchid, and mauve colours that create beautiful purple diamond engagement rings. Only a few pure purple diamonds are found in the world each year. Purple diamonds have been found in South Africa, and two mines in Russia have also produced a small number of diamonds with purple as their dominant hue.

The Argyle Mine in Australia is one of the only sources of violet diamonds. Most of the world’s diamonds with a pure violet hue have been mined from Argyle.

Only 12 carats of violet diamonds have been found in 32 years of the “Argyle Tender”, which is the annual sale of the mine’s best quality fancy coloured diamonds.


Fancy Red

Fancy red diamonds are considered the holy grail of all fancy colour diamonds. It is an undisputed fact that natural pure red diamonds without any secondary colours are the rarest of all.

These particular diamonds are so scarce that the world-renowned Gemological Institute of America (GIA) only releases about one graded report featuring “Fancy Red” every 30 years or so.

Natural red diamonds are so hard to come by that up to a mere 30 are known to exist. Not surprisingly, due to the total scarcity of fancy red diamonds, this particular diamond colour commands the highest price per carat and will only continue an upward trend.

Fancy colour diamonds are found in twelve different colours, but with over 230 colour combinations and in various locations around the globe.

The majority of red diamonds, in particular, originate from Australia, in the Argyle diamond mine which is famous for its production of some of the world’s finest pink, violet, blue, and brown diamonds. However, a large percentage of these diamonds have also been found in Brazil, Russia, and India.

The origins of the highly coveted colour in red diamonds remain undetermined although the prevalent theory is that, much like in pink diamonds, structural defects arise from small movements occurring in the atoms, a process referred to as ‘plastic deformation,’ giving these exceedingly rare diamonds their distinctive colour. The structural defects materialize as a series of tightly positioned grain lines that exude red colour. Colour intensity in red diamonds is directly correlated with the amount of graining present: more graining means a more intense red diamond. 


Fancy Pink

Pink diamonds have been sourced in very limited supply from mines around the world. In the 17th and 18th centuries, rich discoveries of pinks were made in India and in Brazil.

Since the late 1980s, over 90% of the world’s fancy pink diamond supply has come from the Argyle mine in Australia.

It is very common for pink diamonds to display fluorescence. In fact, finding a real pink diamond without this quality is quite rare.

Hence its presence usually does not have a negative impact on the price (even in the case of strong blue fluorescence). According to the GIA, over 80% of all pink diamonds exhibit some degree of fluorescence.

In the final analysis, the enhancement to a stone’s aesthetics that fluorescence offers is entirely subjective. Fancy pink diamonds tend to be included, yet because of their rarity, clarity plays a much smaller part in their valuation, in comparison to their colour.


Fancy Brown-Pink

A “brownish pink” diamond refers to a pink diamond with a slight touch of brown hue in it, while a “brown pink” diamond denotes a more obvious brown colour. A brown pink diamond is cheaper than a brownish pink diamond. A brownish pink diamond has about 25% brown, while a brown pink diamond has about 25-50% brown in it.

Within the brownish pink diamond range, there exists a wide spectrum of how influential the brown colour really is. This is why you can often see two diamonds with the same brownish pink colour description in the certificate that is very different in terms of their price.

Pure coloured diamonds are usually much more expensive, while brown diamonds are cheaper, so adding the brown colour as the secondary tone reduces the price of the diamond quite dramatically.

For those who wish their diamond to be more obviously coloured, a diamond with a naturally darker brown will do the trick.

In the end, it is all about the appearance of the diamond and what you personally prefer.


Fancy Brown

Brown diamonds are among the most common, along with yellow diamonds, and are the most affordable of all coloured diamonds, besides black diamonds. Brown diamonds are also known as Cognac, Champagne, or Chocolate diamonds. Brown diamonds are found in many shades ranging from subtle brown hues to vibrant chocolate-like colours.

The C1 to C7 colour scale is used to grade champagne diamonds. C1-C2 is the lightest brown colour, and C5-C6 is the darkest brown of the champagne diamonds. C7 is used for the darkest, richest brown of the cognac diamonds. The more intense and vivid the colour in the brown diamond, the rarer, and more valuable it becomes. 

Brown diamonds provide a harmonious contrast in jewellery pieces, especially if placed next to white diamonds.

Fancy brown diamonds are not part of the D-Z colourless diamond scale, as the two scales grade the colouring in the diamond very differently.  The well known D-Z scale grades colourless diamonds, going from completely colourless diamonds graded as D to colourless diamonds with warm hues,  graded as lower letters in the alphabet.

The fancy brown diamond scale grades colourful diamonds that have a higher and lower saturation of the colour brown.


Fancy Brown-Yellow

When looking for champagne diamonds you can look for them in various shades. Yellowish-brown diamonds are brown diamonds with a tint of yellow while yellow brown diamonds have a stronger yellow hue which also makes them brighter. The browner the diamond displays the more it will bring the price down.

The GIA grades these stones in order of increasing Brown, and decreasing price.

  • Brownish Yellow – Most expensive in this range of colours
  • Brown Yellow
  • Yellow Brown
  • Yellowish Brown – Least expensive in this range of colours

It is very difficult to determine whether a Fancy coloured diamond’s price is low, fair, or high.

There are so many hues, and then there are secondary hues that affect the price on top of this.

Even if you did the impossible and found 10 Fancy Coloured Diamonds of the exact same GIA colour grade, weight and cut they’d vary in price from the same vendor because, unlike GIA’s D-Z colour grades.

GIA’s Fancy Coloured Diamonds colour grades allow for large variations in appearance, and therefore price.


Fancy Yellow

The diamond colour scale used for white diamonds goes from D to Z. As the letter is closer to Z, it means that the diamond is less colourless and starts to be a bit yellowish in tone, a pale yellow shade. This degrades the diamond and their prices decrease as you get closer to Z.

Natural fancy yellow diamonds begin where the colourless D-Z grading scale ends. Although some stones on the colourless scale may exhibit a yellow tint, they are not considered fancy yellow. 

Fancy yellow diamonds, also known as Canary diamonds are the only colour diamonds that start from within the colourless grading scale. 

Canary yellow diamonds are recognised because of their strong colour and their unusual characteristics. Zimmi yellow diamonds, another name that is used for yellow diamonds, are called this when they come from Sierra Leone and exhibit an especially beautiful yellow color.

Similar to other fancy colors, fancy yellow diamonds acquire their color due to the presence of trace elements in their atomic structure. In the case of yellow diamonds, this element is nitrogen, which when bonded to the carbon atoms that make up all diamonds, presents a vibrant yellow color. The more nitrogen is present, the more saturated with yellow color the diamond will be.


Fancy Green

The colour of a green diamond originates from the exposure to radioactivity and the atomic radiation that the stone endured over millions of years.

Green diamonds range from light green to a rich, deep hue. A green diamond’s color grade is based on both the colours of the stone and the colour intensity level.

The downside of being submitted to radiation is that only those portions of the stone that come into direct contact will show green colour, thereby resulting in a diamond with uneven colour. As rare as green diamonds are, a diamond with a uniform green colour is absolutely uncommon.

A green diamond’s colour is determined by three factors:

  • The kind of radiation the diamond has been subjected to.
  • How long the exposure lasted.
  • Diamond size.

Green diamonds are extremely unique. So much so, that it is actually somewhat difficult to determine whether a green diamond is natural or treated. Some polishers have taken to leaving what’s called a “Natural” on the girdle of the stone. A “Natural” is an unpolished area between the girdle and pavilion, exposing the natural colour of the rough. This mark allows gemologists assessing the stone to recognize the colour as natural and provide the diamond with appropriate certification


Fancy Blue

Blue diamonds first originated in India during the 17th century. India was responsible for the mining of nearly all gem diamonds during this period. Four hundred years later, the greater majority of the world’s blue diamonds now come from South Africa.

Blue coloured diamonds are rarely found with a pure, straight blue colour. They often contain overtones that are present due to the result of the boron elements contained within. The most common secondary hues found with blue diamonds are either Gray Blue or Green Blue.

Tone refers to the lightness or darkness of a blue diamond, and the continuum in between.

GIA grading does not make a distinction in tones, but to the eye a stone with darker tones may appear more intense in color. For someone looking for the appearance of a Fancy Intense Blue without the price tag of one, a good option may be a Fancy Blue with a darker tone.0

Blue diamonds do not have a tendency to exhibit fluorescence. 

The demand for fancy blue diamonds exceeds the supply and they are therefore considered excellent investment opportunities. They are both sound and reliable investments and quite desired by both diamond collectors and diamond enthusiasts.


Fancy Brown-Green

Brown Green diamonds are more common than green diamonds and because of this their pricing is much more friendly to the purchaser. Brown – green describes a diamond with a base clour of brown with green hues. The internet sometimes calls these diamonds Chameleon diamonds.

However, Chameleon diamonds are a completely different phenomenon altogether. A fancy light brown green diamond is possibly the best alternative colour to a green diamond. Brown green diamonds get their colour from radiation in the earth. 


Fancy Yellow-Green


Fancy Blue-Green