Grading fancy color diamonds require a lot more effort and strategy than traditional diamonds. They are rare, extremely diverse and, for the most part, do not have a standard reference point.
However, here’s what will help you get started with grading tinted diamonds.
Grading Fancy Color Diamonds According to Saturation, Hue, and Tone
Let’s take the simplest concept first.
The hue is the visible color of the stone. Red diamonds are extremely rare and likewise considerably expensive. They’re closely followed by blue, green, and pink diamonds. Black and purple diamonds are closely related, but they’re not nearly as rare as blue, green or pink.
Orange, yellow and brown fancy color diamonds are a little tricky to differentiate from tinted colorless diamonds and therefore not considered as unique or desirable. Quite a few environmental factors contribute towards the hue of a diamond.
The tone is defined as the stone’s ability to retain and/or reflect light. Some diamonds appear brighter than others irrespective of the intensity of color. The tone has a role to play in determining this.
The saturation is the trickiest concept that comes into play while grading fancy color diamonds. It is defined as the intensity of color. According to popular convention, there are nine categories used to classify fancy color diamonds according to saturation.
1. Faint: They’re almost colorless with an extremely subtle hint of color, typically not observable by the naked eye.
2. Very Light: The color here is more noticeable yet extremely light. It may be decipherable to the trained eye.
3. Light: The hue is much more noticeable and unmistakable here. The diamond has a translucent appearance.
4. Fancy Light: The color is darker, brighter and easily visible.
5. Fancy: They’re believed to have a moderate saturation and tone, and hence placed at the middle of the spectrum.
6. Fancy Dark: These diamonds have a darker tone and weaker saturation, giving it a dull but noticeably colored appearance.
7. Fancy Intense: These diamonds have a moderate tone and a stronger saturation, appearing visibly brighter and eye-catching.
8. Fancy Deep: They have high saturation and tone, giving the diamond a rich and colorful appearance.
9. Fancy Vivid: They have a moderate tone and strong saturation, enjoying substantial visual clarity. They’re considered rare and extremely valuable.
These classifications do not lie on a spectrum; instead, there are specific characteristics of each that define its unique properties. The higher the saturation, the more visible its hue will be, and consequently its value will be higher.
Valuing Fancy Color Diamonds
As compared with traditional diamonds, the market for fancy color diamonds is very small. Hence, there are extremely limited resources for price reference.
In addition to this, there are several factors like the cut, color, carat and clarity that contribute towards the fancy diamond’s value. Even so, the convention holds true – the rarer it is, the more valuable it will be.
Here’s an example. The red diamond is an exotic wonder and is considered as one of the rarest gemstones in the world. The most famous red diamond is known as the Moussaieff Red Diamond, owned by Shlomo Moussaieff, and is frequently displayed across different diamond exhibitions. It weighs 5.11 carats (just about a gram) and is certified Fancy Red by the GIA. It is valued at no less than $20 million!
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