The most classic and traditional choice of jewellery for centuries, colourless diamonds have ruled in terms of popularity among the rich and the famous of the world. Until the 16th century, the most celebrated diamonds – both colourless and coloured ones – all came from India. Now, they can be found in various parts of the world.
Some of the largest diamond manufacturing regions for white diamonds include South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Canada, and Russia.
The term “colourless” for white diamonds means lack of any colour. White diamonds possess very subtle hints of yellow or brown, which affect the value of the stone. The colour of a diamond is measured on an alphabetical scale starting from D, meaning "colourless". A pure and structurally perfect white diamond has no colour, making it higher in value than a diamond with hints of yellow or brown.
White diamonds can be found relatively easily in comparison to fancy coloured diamonds. The Cullinan diamond (the largest gem-quality diamond ever found), the Excelsior, and The Taylor-Burton (named after the late Hollywood legends) are just a few of the world’s most-famous colourless diamonds. Timeless appeal and tradition are the biggest benefits of these dazzling clear gems, along with being more affordable than fancy colour diamonds like pink, blue, green, or red diamonds.
The rarest diamond on earth, the red diamond is so rare that even if its red colour is the modifier or the secondary colour, the price of the diamond rises exponentially. No other colour has such a dramatic effect as a modifier.
The rarity of a diamond also plays a big part in determining its value, and coloured diamonds as a whole beat the colourless ones in this respect. The red and pink colours, for instance, in a diamond are caused by plastic deformation of the crystal lattice owing to temperature and pressure. Of all coloured diamonds, red diamonds are the rarest kinds.
A red diamond that recently made jewellery auction sale history is a rare 1.05-carat red diamond ring sold in Geneva for a whopping $2.77 million, establishing a Christie's and world record of price per carat for a diamond in that colour. The 1.05-carat fancy purplish-red diamond with VS2 clarity was bought by Meraki by Ashish Vijay.
Natural fancy colour diamonds have popularly been sourced from India, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Venezuela, South America, Russia, and Indonesia over the years. South Africa is particularly famed for its red, pink, blue, orange as well as yellow natural fancy diamonds
Coloured diamonds are more valuable and expensive compared to white diamonds, making them a better choice for investments. Pink diamonds are currently 1,150 times as expensive as the finest white diamond, which is internally flawless and has the highest colour rating.
Coloured diamonds hide inclusions better. While a white diamond with inclusions loses value, a coloured one will not. Due to its permanent colour, the inclusions can remain concealed throughout the lifetime of the diamond.
Pink diamonds, which are sourced mostly from Australia have historically been also found in India, South Africa, Canada, Russia, and Brazil. This has amplified both their rarity and their price. The Pink Star, a diamond weighing 59.60 carats, was sold at a 2017 auction in Hong Kong for $71.2 million to Chow Tai Fook Enterprises.
A factor that affects the value of fancy colour diamonds is fashion trends. For example, pink diamonds fetched higher prices after Hollywood actor Jennifer Lopez received a pink diamond engagement ring.
Fancy colour diamonds like pink, purple, green, and blue diamonds come under the high price range category, while red ones are classified as ultra-high as far as their prices are concerned.
Two of the most famous diamonds in the world belong to the coloured diamonds category. They are the Yellow Tiffany Diamond and the brilliant blue Hope Diamond. Other famous coloured diamonds include famous names such as the blue Heart of Eternity and the Golden Jubilee.
Fancy colour diamonds such as the deep-blue Hope Diamond are among the most valuable and sought-after diamonds in the world. In 2009, a 7-carat blue diamond fetched the then highest price per carat ever paid for a diamond when it was sold at an auction for 10.5 million Swiss francs ($9.5 million), over $1.3 million per carat its expected amount.
This record was again broken in 2016 when the Oppenheimer Blue, a 14.62-carat vivid blue diamond became the most expensive jewel ever sold at an auction. It is the largest fancy vivid blue diamond classified ever sold at an auction and sold at Christie's in Geneva in 2016 for $50.6 million.
The colour of a green diamond originates from the exposure to the atomic radiation that the stone has endured over millions of years. Even though the green colour is a result of exposure to radioactivity, holding the stone is completely safe. The formation process, however, is incredibly rare, resulting in a coloured diamond that is extremely difficult to obtain.
Among fancy colour diamonds, naturally green stones are some of the rarest and hence, most-sought-after. Most of the world’s current production of fine natural green diamonds is sourced from Africa or South America. Laboratory irradiation treatments have been used commercially since the late 1940s to create the green colour in diamonds that closely mimic the effects of natural radiation exposure.
Green diamonds range from light green to a deeper, richer shade. They are graded on the following scale: Faint Green, Very Light Green, Light Green, Fancy Light Green, Fancy Green, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, and Fancy Deep.
The Dresden Green Diamond is a 41-carat natural green diamond said to have originated in India's Andhra Pradesh. It is a rare green diamond, with a clarity of VS1 and is said to be potentially internally flawless, if slightly recut. Named after the city of Dresden in Germany, where it has been on display for most of the last two centuries, the Dresden Green Diamond has a historical record dating back to 1722 when it was acquired by Augustus III of Poland from a Dutch merchant in 1742. In 1768, the diamond was incorporated into its current setting of a highly-valuable hat ornament, surrounded by two large and 411 medium-sized and small diamonds.
Yellow diamonds currently possess the highest market demand of all other coloured diamonds in the market. One of the most significant trendsetting factors is of several celebrities flaunting their Yellow Diamond Jewellery, thus, rapidly increasing their popularity. For instance, after Hollywood celebrity Paris Hilton got engaged with a large canary yellow diamond engagement ring, the demand for coloured diamonds saw a dramatic rise.
Though coloured diamonds can be quite expensive due to their rarity, yellow diamonds can be quite affordable, and sometimes cost less than a colourless diamond of the same quality. Moreover, its unique characteristics have made yellow diamonds highly-sought-after. Like other natural fancy coloured diamonds, the colours are a result of the compound element within the structure of the stone. The stones with a deeper yellow hue are often the result of more Nitrogen in the mix.
Owing to their varying hues, yellow diamonds have come to be known by many nicknames. Many refer to yellow diamonds as Canary, as in a Canary Yellow Diamond, while some use the name Zimmy. A Canary yellow diamond refers to only a yellow stone with a very rich, high-intensity yellow or fancy vivid yellow. The term Zimmy, used often when referring to a vivid yellow with a deeper hue, refers to extraordinary vivid yellow diamonds which originated from the Zimmy mine located in Sierra Leone, Africa.
Yellow diamonds, among all other coloured ones, are found less than one-thousandth of the time compared to a white stone. That is, only 0.0001 percent of mined diamonds are found in fancy colours. Yellow diamonds happen to be among the more commonly found colours in this category, produced largely in Australia, Angola, Brazil, Borneo, Congo, and Sierra Leone.
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