Natural fancy coloured diamonds are not a new phenomenon. In fact, they can be found throughout history adorning the jewellery of royals around the globe.
If you’ve ever shopped for diamonds, or are looking into where Argyle pink diamonds are available, for example, you know that the price can go up significantly due to certain factors. Typically, natural fancy coloured diamonds happen when there’s an outside element in the formation of the diamond. So, let’s take a look at how fancy coloured diamonds are graded to determine their value.
Grading Fancy Coloured Diamonds
Fancy coloured diamonds are graded along three different axes, which are:
- Hue – this is the actual colour, such as green or blue
- Tone – the darkness or lightness of the hue
- Saturation – how weak or strong the colour is
1. The Hue
Hue refers to the diamond’s main colour. There are 27 hues in total, but it should be noted that sometimes the colours can include a combination of modifying and main colours. For instance, a greenish-yellow will contain a yellow colour with modifying hues of green. If the diamond has more than one colour, then the last colour mentioned acts as the main colour of the gem.
Pink diamonds have their own range which can appear as a solid colour.
2. The Tone
Tone refers to how dark or light the colour of the diamond really is. It mainly refers to the intensity of the diamond’s colour. There are seven factors involved in the grading tone, which range from Very Light all the way to Very Dark with in betweens of Light and Medium variations.
3. The Saturation
The colour saturation of a diamond refers to the strength of the hue, or rather, how much colour is present in the stone and how intense it is or isn’t. Typically, the saturation of lighter diamonds varies from Pastel all the way to Vivid, whereas the darker tones range from Dark through to Deep. There are six levels used to grade saturation which range from Fancy Light to Fancy Vivid with a range of variations in between.
Usually the intensity colour grading of a gem is based on a combination of saturation and tone.
What About Colour Distribution?
Colour distribution should also be considered when we look at how fancy coloured diamonds are graded. Distribution of colour refers to how evenly the colour stretches across the stone. Distribution ranges from Even to Uneven.
What About White Diamonds?
Finally, white diamonds are a popular choice, especially when it comes to engagement rings, so we need to mention them. White diamonds are usually colourless and can be graded on a scale from D to Z. D grade diamonds sit at the top end of the scale and are colourless. The Z-graded diamonds at the bottom end of the scale are pale or light and most commonly found in yellow and brown shades. The D, E and F colours usually carry the heftiest price tags.
The most common method used to grade fancy coloured diamonds is by looking at them through the back of the stone. It tends to be easier to see if there’s a slight tint. Diamonds with greater tint then receive a lower colour grade.
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