Why are coloured diamonds sparkling brightest?

“Fancy”, coloured, diamonds have been in the news recently on the discovery of an enormous 122.5 carat blue diamond at Petra Diamond’s famous Cullinan mine. They account for just one in every 10,000 diamonds produced, and have long been cherished for their beauty and rare form, retaining value and making prized and valuable jewels within the diamond industry. But recently, there has been even greater fascination than usual.

Since the 17th century, fancy coloured diamonds have preserved their elite status in a realm of sophisticated trappings. From the deep blue 45.52 carat Hope Diamond to the glaring beauty of the 41 carat Dresden Green jewel, coloured diamonds are historically known for being the world’s most remarkable.

So why the sudden surge of interest in these fancy stones?

One reason is that coloured diamonds at auctions have caught the eye of ultra-high net worth individuals, who have joined diamond companies in multimillion dollar bidding wars in attempts to diversify their portfolio and jewellery collection.

Recent auctions featuring dramatic price tags include: Petra Diamonds’s 29.6 carat blue diamond ($25.6 million), Graff Diamonds’s Vivid Yellow ($16.3 million), the 13.22 carat pear blue diamond ($24 million), Vivid Orange’s 14.82 carat diamond ($35 million), the 1.56 carat Argyle ‘red’ Phoenix ($2 million), and the infamous Pink Star sold to the New York diamond cutter Isaac Wolf for $83 million.

Another reason is that, Argyle, Rio Tinto’s Australian mine and the producer for more than 90% of the world’s natural pink diamonds, reported in 2008 its plan to cease production in 2018 due to the lack of mineable material and supply, triggering a rise in prices for pink diamonds and solidifying their status as a solid investment.

There’s also been a growing interest for fancy coloured diamond engagement rings amongst Hollywood A-Listers and royalty. Princess Diana’s 1981 blue sapphire engagement ring is back in the public eye being worn by Kate Middleton, and celebrities Halle Berry, Heidi Klum and Jennifer Lopez all have opted for rare and exquisite coloured diamond engagement rings, sparking demand in natural coloured stones amongst high-end shoppers.

The record price paid for a rough diamond is $35.3 million, for a 507 carat white diamond from Cullinan. With the current excitement around coloured diamonds, its recently discovered blue cousin could be back in the news before long, stealing its record.