Naturally Colored Diamond Blog

How Naturally Colored Diamonds are Valued

Posted by Tony Cathaway on 5/2/16 8:00 AM

As is true of white diamonds, naturally colored diamonds are valued by taking into consideration the 4 C’s. Unlike colorless diamonds, the most heavily weighted consideration of colored diamonds is, quite predictably, their color. Every move along the color scale effects the diamonds price. The color of a diamond is graded based on three main characteristics: hue, tone, and saturation.


Hue refers to the primary color of the diamond such as red, pink, yellow, or blue, with a total of 12 main hues found in naturally colored diamonds. Often, these different hues combine resulting in a modification of a specific color, such as a purple-pink diamond or a yellow-brown diamond.

 The tone of a diamond determines how light or dark the hue is observed. Colored diamonds have a range of seven different tones:

  1. Very light
  2. Light
  3. Medium Light
  4. Medium
  5. Medium Dark
  6. Dark
  7. Very Dark

 A diamond’s saturation refers to the intensity of color; the higher the intensity rating, the higher value the diamond will carry. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades a diamond based on nine different intensities:

  1. Faint
  2. Very Light
  3. Light
  4. Fancy Light
  5. Fancy
  6. Fancy Dark
  7. Fancy Intense
  8. Fancy Deep
  9. Fancy Vivid

 Similar to colorless diamonds which are priced per carat, the price per carat of colored diamonds increases due to their scarcity. Mines all over the world are experiencing shortages of colored diamonds, and are looking to cease production in the coming years as stock is depleting. This lack of supply is having a direct effect on the value of some of the rarer hues of colored diamonds.

So what colors sell for the highest price per cart? At the top of the list are the most rare and hard to find colors, including pure red diamonds like "The Moussaieff Red". Less than ten red stones are discovered each year. These rare gems can go for upwards of $2 million or more per carat. For these stones, carat size isn’t the most important factor; their color is the defining factor of price.

 Following red diamonds on the rarity scale is a tie between blue and pink diamonds. Either color can sell for an estimated $300,000 to $1 million per carat, where intensity and carat weight can play a larger role in the price. One of the most well known blue diamonds to exist is "The Hope Blue Diamond".

 Wrapping up the top of the list are orange diamonds. These diamonds haven’t seen the same demand as the aforementioned colors, but they are still extremely rare. Orange diamonds have sold for an average of $70,000 to $300,000 per carat over the years.

 Other colors bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars per carat are yellow, green, and brown naturally colored diamonds, where clarity, cut, and carat weight play bigger roles. Although each fancy colored diamond is unique and cannot be universally valued, the price is highly dependent on the rarity of its color, its characteristics, and the dwindling supply.

For more information on investing in colored diamonds, click the links below: 

Naturally Colored Diamonds

Topics: Alternative Investments


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