Color Your World
Chronos Magazines - By Carol Besler
Natural color diamonds have emerged as a favorite for fashionistas reveling in the color of current fashions
People are naturally drawn to color, particularly now that the fashion runways are so packed with every color of the rainbow, and natural color diamonds are therefore making a big comeback – at least as much as a color diamond can: natural color diamonds are rare, and some sources are becoming tapped out. This is what gives them part of their cachet.Natural color diamonds are rare and therefore unique, which means jewelry containing them is also rare and unique. All diamonds have an emotional value – they represent love, eternity, rarity – but
color adds to the intensity of that emotion. A growing number of people are now interested in these rare gems, according to Jeffrey Post, president of the NCDIA (Natural Color Diamond Association), and some colors have significantly increased in popularity. “There are only a handful of locations in the world where natural color diamonds are found,” he says. “
Image Courtesy of NCDIA Member, Optimum Diamonds.
A few of these locations appear to be at the end of their lifecycle and experiencing diminishing production. While we cannot predict the future supply of natural color diamonds with precision as demand continues to increase, we expect that gem quality color diamonds will continue to become rarer and more difficult to find.” “Yellow diamonds are most prevalent,” says Jeffrey Post, “and are used frequently in bridal jewelry. Tiffany has been focusing on yellow diamonds recently, with great success in yellow diamonds in bridal jewelry.” He adds, “The retail members of our association have noted a growing acceptance of smaller intensely color pink diamonds in bridal jewelry. Quite often, natural color diamonds are given as anniversary gifts rather than engagement rings.” Natural color diamonds have all the intrinsic values associated with a relationship that is attached to colorless diamonds – they are real, natural and represent lasting love and the momentous occasions in one’s life. Color diamonds have the added boost of color and even greater rarity. They are also prized for their high light return.
Diamonds are the hardest of all gemstones and therefore reflect light with a brilliance that outshines all others. The most readily available natural color diamonds on the market are champagnes, cognacs and yellows. Yet even these are rare: for every color diamond found, there are at least 10,000 colorless ones. “There are many colors of natural color diamonds that are too rare and too valuable to gain wide acceptance in bridal jewelry, but retailers and auction houses still sell such one-of-a-kind pieces,” says Post. “
In such instances, the retailer is usually commissioned by their clients to create something unique.” Pinks, blues and greens are the hardest color diamonds to find, and therefore most in demand. Pinks are especially prized. Most of them are mined by Rio Tinto at its Argyle mine in the remote east Kimberley region of Western Australia, and tendered at annual auctions to the highest bidders.
Image courtesy of NCDIA Member, Gem Platinum.
About 100 dealers from around the world bid for the gems, and while final prices paid for individual stones remains confidential, Argyle Pink Diamonds have sold for prices in excess of $400,000/ct both at the Argyle Tender and through retail members of the NCDIA. 20-times the price of equivalent white diamonds – due to rarity and market demand. However, many color diamonds remain affordable. “There are natural color diamonds that have made their debut in fashion jewelry because of their affordability,” says Post. “There is a color diamond for everyone. Brown, gray and black are the most affordable natural color diamonds, followed closely by yellow. Colors such as Pink, Blue, Green, Red, Purple and Orange are rarer and more valuable. The price of natural color diamonds depends on
1) the rarity of color
2) the intensity of color
3) the size of the stone.
“As with any purchase it is important to go to a trusted source. The NCDIA has many retail members who are well versed in these amazing gems,” says Post. “These knowledgeable retailers can help guide you through your purchase. “The color grading of natural color diamonds is not done on a D-Z scale like white diamonds,” he adds. “The GIA has the most widely adopted scale which ranges from faint through light – to fancy light – fancy – intense – deep – and vivid for nearly every color. This grading is done by analyzing the stone’s hue, tone and saturation. In many cases, a diamond’s hue may be comprised of more than a single color. For example, a diamond with a ‘teal’ color could be described as a blue-green or bluish green diamond.
Image courtesy of NCDIA Member Maidi Corp.
Similar to colorless diamonds, natural color diamonds are cut into a variety of shapes. With color diamonds however, rounds, princess cuts and emeralds are less common than radiants, cushions, ovals and pear shapes. Clarity tends to play a less important role in the decision making. Recently, retailers have reported that flawless yellow diamonds and VS quality color diamonds tend to be more popular.
How to buy a color diamond:
Three of the most important factors impacting the price of a natural color diamond are strength of color, rarity of color and size.
1. Strength of color: The color intensity of a natural color diamond can be graded as Fancy light, Fancy, Fancy Intense or Fancy Vivid – with Fancy Vivid constituting the highest grade. The stronger the intensity of a color Diamond, the higher the value will be.
2. Rarity of color: The rarity of a color diamond will affect its price. The more common colors, such as gray, brown and yellow, will generally have a lower cost than rarer colors, such as pink, blue, green, purple and orange, which occur less frequently in nature. The rarest known and most expensive color of all is red.
3. Size: large color diamonds are extremely rare. This makes them exponentially more expensive.
For more information about natural color diamonds, contact www.ncdia.com or on facebook.com/ncdia.
Image courtesy of NCDIA Member LJ West