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.
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.
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.
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.
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.