Diamonds in the normal color range are colorless through light yellow and are described using the industry’s D-to-Z color-grading scale. Fancy color diamonds, on the other hand, are yellow and brown diamonds that exhibit color beyond the Z range, or diamonds that exhibit any other color face-up. These rare specimens come in every color of the spectrum, including, most importantly, blue, green, pink, and red.
The colored diamonds in the Aurora Butterfly of Peace were assembled over a 12-year period by Alan Bronstein and Harry Rodman of Aurora Gems Inc., New York. The butterfly’s 240 stones show nearly the full spectrum of color and cut styles of naturally colored diamonds. - Courtesy Alan Bronstein
Gem diamonds in the D-to-Z range usually decrease in value as the color becomes more obvious. Just the opposite happens with fancy color diamonds: Their value generally increases with the strength and purity of the color. Large, vivid fancy color diamonds are extremely rare and very valuable. However, many fancy diamond colors are muted rather than pure and strong.
The colors exhibited by natural fancy color diamonds are usually not very intense. - Courtesy T. Horovitz
Fancy color diamonds come in almost any color you can imagine. Red, green, purple, and orange are generally the most rare, followed by pink and blue. Yellows and browns are the most common fancy colors, but they’re generally less valuable than the rarer colors.
The strength and purity of this 0.81-carat diamond’s color increases its value beyond that of a similar-size diamond in the normal color range.
Blacks, grays, and fancy whites are considered fancies, too. Some have been fashioned into gems. The 67.50-carat Black Orloff diamond, named after the Russian Princess Nadia Vyegin-Orloff, is the most well-known example.
The cushion-cut Black Orloff diamond weighs 67.50 carats and was reportedly cut from 195-carat rough. It’s set in a diamond and platinum necklace.
Fancy white diamonds can have an opalescent look. - Courtesy of collector, Dr. Pericles John Lentz
Spectacular prices in high-profile auctions are another factor in the increased awareness of fancy color diamonds. Not all fancy color diamonds command such high prices, however. Many people consider yellow and brown fancies less desirable than near-colorless stones of equal weight and clarity. And deeper yellows and browns are generally less valuable than other fancy colors.