Colored Diamonds: A Chic Investment, or “Beyond the Z”
by David Rackoff
Colorful diamonds (technically “fancy diamonds”) aren’t new. Obviously. They’ve been around for over a billion (with a “b”) years. But they’re really having a moment now. They can be either more or less valuable than “white” diamonds. They’re a trend in fashion and a smart investment.
Why are they so colorful?
A diamond is mostly carbon. Just charcoal in a tight lattice crystalline formation. Impurites or even natural radiation can cause a “white” diamond to become a fancy colored diamond. For example, a small amount of nitrogen can produce a canary (yellow) diamond. The presence of boron creates a blue diamond. Rare green diamonds are caused by radiation over millions of years. (Because of this, the green color is actually stronger toward the surface of the diamond.) Hydrogen causes a violet color, and a purple diamond is caused by excessive pressure during the diamond’s formation. The rarest of colored stones is a deep red diamond. This is caused by extraordinary pressure that actually causes the diamond’s crystalline structure to collapse. This same pressure causes purple and pink diamonds as well.
How valuable are fancy diamonds?
White diamonds are graded on the scale of D to Z. D is really clear, Z is a pale yellow or brown. (This is what you think of when you hear about the four “C”’s.) Fancy diamonds are beyond the Z. Fancy diamonds are valued for their hue, tone, and saturation, as well as their objective aesthetic beauty. "It's always a good idea to purchase colored diamonds from an expert who has a good selection, and a reputation for dealing in colored stones, as well as an appreciation for their beauty", says Arthur Faramarzi of MatterLA.com.
Have I been seeing more celebrities wearing colored stones?
Yes, definitely. Paris Hilton was proposed to with a giant canary yellow stone. As was Carrie Underwood. And when Seal proposed to Heidi Klum, it was also a beautiful canary yellow diamond ring. Fictionally, Big propoes to Carrie with a black diamond ring in Sex & the City 2. And when Halle Berry won her oscar, she was wearing a pumpkin orange diamond ring. Ben Affleck proposed to J Lo with a pink diamond (how are those two doing?), and recently, when Ryan Reynolds proposed to Blake Lively, he did it with a gorgeous pink diamond ring.
Isn’t there a really famous fancy colored diamond?
Which leads us to the most famous diamond of all: the Hope Diamond. The 45 carat blue diamond (because of boron, remember?) is in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC now. It is believed to have originated in India, then was recut for Louis XIV. It was then acquired by King George IV of England (probably-- the history’s a little murky). It was bought by a wealthy (obviously) London banker named Thomas Hope for about $70,000 in the mid-1800’s. It was then bought and sold and eventually Harry Winston donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian in 1958.
Are fancy diamonds a good investment?
In a word: yes. Colored diamonds have historically performed well over the long haul. Colored stones are becoming increasingly popular, making them still more valuable. Also, no two colored stones are the same, making each fancy diamond literally unique.
What should I think about when considering a fancy diamond?
If you’re thinking about buying an engagement ring (congratulations!), then you want to consider your intended’s favorite color. If she (or he) likes blue, or pink, or yellow, why automatically buy a clear stone? And since fancy diamonds are defined primarily by their color, your eye and judgement are a good place to start. Selecting a stone, then building a custom ring around it, is a good way to express your unique feelings toward your potential fiance. If you’re investing in a colored stone, keep in mind that while fancy colored diamonds have risen an average of over 10% a year, this doesn not mean that there won’t be occasional slumps. Find a stone you like from a reputable dealer, then check comparable prices. Always make sure that any diamond you buy comes with its GIA certificate.
Fancy colored diamonds are an on-trend, fun, and smart investment. There’s a whole world of color out there, so do your research, see what you like, and consider a fancy blue, pink, or yellow diamond. They’ve been waiting for a billion years, and now they are finally having their moment.