Fancy Coloured Diamonds


Diamonds that are not categorized by the normal color range grading system are called fancy coloured diamonds. They are also referred to as ‘fancies’.  


Fancy coloured diamonds have traditionally made up a small fraction of the diamond business, however their availability and popularity has increased during the past decade. In the U.S the FTC provides no guidelines for the use of the term ‘fancy color’ but in the international trade there is a general consensus that fancy colored diamonds should display certain features. ‘Fancies’ should display either of the following:


  • A yellow or brown colour (with a higher colour than a Z master stone)

  • A colour other than yellow or brown


Diamonds in the D-to-Z range usually decrease in value in relation to the visibility of colour. The opposite rule is applied to fancy-coloured diamonds as their value usually increases in relation to the colour, the deeper the colour, the higher the value. Fancy coloured diamonds come in almost any colour you can imagine. Red, green, purple, and orange are considered the rarest of the colour range, followed by pink and blue. Yellows and browns are the most common fancy colours. Blacks and greys are also categorized as ‘fancies’. The 67.50 carat Black Orloff diamond is the most well-known example.


Many fancy coloured diamonds are not strong and pure in colour; they are often blended with other colours and muted by grayish or brownish tones. Large, vivid, fancy coloured diamonds are extremely rare and for this reason they are also extremely valuable.


Since the 1980s public awareness of colored diamonds has increased.  The public interest in ‘fancies’ was in part due to a successful marketing campaign designed to draw attention to the ‘fancies’ mined at the Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia. The Argyle Diamond Mine began marketing its brown stones under trade names like "champagne'' and "cognac '' which enhanced their appeal. Argyle reached its goal of making the public more aware of fancy coloured diamonds and dropped its marketing campaign in the late 1990s. Today, the Argyle Diamond Mine still produces brown diamonds, but it is more famous as the world's major source of pink diamonds.


High profile auctions are another factor that has led to the increased awareness of fancy coloured diamonds. In November 1995 at Sotheby's Geneva, a Cartier ring containing a 7.27ct fancy intense purplish-pink diamond sold for $6,011,895, a price that amounted to about $815,725 per carat. In the same year Christle's sold a Boucheron 4.37ct fancy deep blue oval cut diamond ring for $2.485.398 (or $568.740 per carat). For the sake of comparison a giant and extremely rare 100.10ct D-color, internally flawless, pear shaped diamond was sold by Sotheby's in 1995 for $16,548,750 (approximately $ 165,322 per carat). 


Grading Fancy Coloured Diamonds 


Fancy coloured diamonds come in many different hues and there are far too many variations to make a complete set of master stones.  When diamond graders at the GIA Laboratory grade fancy coloured diamonds they use a combination of comparison stones and printed standard colours. These tools help them identify the colour of the diamond as a whole, or its characteristic colour.


After deciding on the diamond's characteristic colour, the grader assigns a colour grade. The grade consists of the characteristic colour modified by one of these grade terms:



  • Faint

  • Very Light

  • Light

  • Fancy Light

  • Fancy

  • Fancy Intense

  • Fancy Vivid

  • Fancy Dark

  • Fancy Deep



The first three grades (faint, very light, light) apply to all colours except yellow. A stone that shows a natural yellow colour stronger than the Z master stone would be called ‘fancy light yellow’.      



Read more about Fancy Coloured Loose Yellow Diamonds

Read more about Fancy Coloured Loose Pink Diamonds

Read more about Fancy Coloured Loose Blue Diamonds

Read more about Fancy Coloured Loose Red Diamonds 

Read more about Fancy Coloured Loose Green Diamonds

Read more about Fancy Coloured Loose Grey Diamonds

Read more about Fancy Coloured Loose Brown Diamonds

Read more about Fancy Coloured Loose Chameleon Diamonds

Read more about Fancy Coloured Loose Orange Diamonds

Read more about Fancy Coloured Loose Violet Diamonds

Read more about Fancy Coloured Loose Black Diamonds