Investor Learning Center

4C’s : Diamond Color

The evaluation of color can be viewed in two primary categories.

1. The Evaluation of White Diamonds

color-scale

As a perfectly formed diamond has no color, the lack of hue represents a better quality diamond. When grading a diamond’s color the stone is compared against a set of 23 master stones each of which displaying a varying amount of color. As the most common imperfection is caused by a diamond being exposed to low levels of nitrogen resulting in a yellowish hue, each master stone displays a slightly more saturated yellowish hue. These stones are represented by a 23 letter scale. D being colorless, and Z displaying a light yellow hue. This scale is further simplified into the following categories.

2. The Evaluation of Rare Colored Diamonds

While imperfections in the formation of a diamond due to exposure to nitrogen are common, exposure to high levels of nitrogen, other elements, irradiation, or plastic deformation is extremely rare. It just so happens these other more rare deformations can manifest as a brighter, more saturated color in a diamond. Due to their rarity and beauty these stones can fetch much higher prices at market. Similar to the evaluation of white diamonds, a colored diamond is evaluated based on the color. However because color can be expressed in such a wide variety, the process of evaluation is much more rigorous. For rare colored diamonds the GIA evaluates a stone’s color alone based on the same 3 principles.

color

Hue :

The hue is the primary color the diamond exhibits. The GIA has broken this down into 27 possible categories, as well as 2 color modifiers (Brown & Grey). Depending on the diamond’s color it can be said to be composed of 2 colors. For example a purplish pink diamond is composed of both purple and pink. When a multiple color value is given to a diamond it will display more of the last color than the first. It should also be noted that pink diamonds have their own individual scale.

The first 27 Hues are as follows

Including The Pink Scale adds the following 4 values.

These values along with the two modifiers (Brown & Grey) amount to 128 possible classifications for Hue alone.

Tonality :

Each rare colored diamonds color is graded based on it’s tone, or color intensity. The lighter or darker the color or hue of the diamond is, the more or less valuable it is.

Grading tone involves the following seven factors:

vis-spec

Saturation :

Each rare colored diamonds color is graded based on a saturation of color consisting of 6 possible categories.


Read the next article:

Investing In Fancy Colored Diamonds

Investing in rare colored diamonds is a long-term investment. The economic cycles of the past 15 years have seen colored diamonds reach new heights in value as price records were broken.

Historical Price Tracking System
  • Pink
  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Red
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1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Pink

  • Year: 1980
  • Total Price: $50,000
  • Price per Carat: $50,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Pink

  • Year: 1990
  • Total Price: $150,000
  • Price per Carat: $150,000
  • Source: Auction

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Pink

  • Year: 2000
  • Total Price: $500,000
  • Price per Carat: $500,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Pink

  • Year: 2008
  • Total Price: $1,000,000
  • Price per Carat: $1,000,000
  • Source: Auction

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Pink

  • Year: 2009
  • Total Price: $1,090,500
  • Price per Carat: $1,090,500
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Pink

  • Year: 2020
  • Total Price: $2,828,187*
  • Price per Carat: $2,828,187*

*Estimated value based on current market trend

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Pink

  • Year: 2025
  • Total Price: $4,361,506*
  • Price per Carat: $4,361,506*

*Estimated value based on current market trend

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 1980
  • Total Price: $1,000
  • Price per Carat: $1,000
  • Source: Auction

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 1990
  • Total Price: $3,000
  • Price per Carat: $3,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 2000
  • Total Price: $9,000
  • Price per Carat: $9,000
  • Source: Auction

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 2008
  • Total Price: $23,500
  • Price per Carat: $23,500
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 2009
  • Total Price: $26,300
  • Price per Carat: $26,300
  • Source: Auction

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 2012
  • Total Price: $32,000
  • Price per Carat: $32,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 2020
  • Total Price: $53,993*
  • Price per Carat: $53,993*

*Estimated value based on current market trend

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 2025
  • Total Price: $74,873*
  • Price per Carat: $74,873*

*Estimated value based on current market trend

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Blue

  • Year: 1980
  • Total Price: $60,000
  • Price per Carat: $60,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Blue

  • Year: 1990
  • Total Price: $200,000
  • Price per Carat: $200,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Blue

  • Year: 2000
  • Total Price: $600,000
  • Price per Carat: $600,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Blue

  • Year: 2008
  • Total Price: $1,350,000
  • Price per Carat: $1,350,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Blue

  • Year: 2009
  • Total Price: $1,494,000
  • Price per Carat: $1,494,000
  • Source: Auction

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Blue

  • Year: 2020
  • Total Price: $4,555,497*
  • Price per Carat: $4,555,497*

*Estimated value based on current market trend

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Blue

  • Year: 2025
  • Total Price: $7,561,708*
  • Price per Carat: $7,561,708*

*Estimated value based on current market trend

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Red

  • Year: 1950
  • Total Price: $13,800
  • Price per Carat: $13,800
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Red

  • Year: 1987
  • Total Price: $927,000
  • Price per Carat: $927,000
  • Source: Auction

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Red

  • Year: 2008
  • Total Price: $2,000,000
  • Price per Carat: $2,000,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Red

  • Year: 2009
  • Total Price: $2,074,600
  • Price per Carat: $2,074,600
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Red

  • Year: 2020
  • Total Price: $3,103,720*
  • Price per Carat: $3,103,720*

*Estimated value based on current market trend