The Colorful and Fascinating World of Fancy Diamonds

Currently in vogue and enjoying great popularity, ‘fancy diamonds’ offer a fascinating palette of colors of varying intensity, which amongst other factors, can greatly determine value.

The unique colors of fancy diamonds are naturally caused by ‘impurities’ in the stone, resulting from the pressure to which diamonds were exposed during their process of formation. If such impurities appear in considerable amount, the diamond will be classified as a ‘fancy’ or ‘colored’ diamond. Nitrogen and boron both account for the appearance of colors in diamonds, as does irradiation, used to procure pink, green, yellow and blue artificially colored diamonds.
Fancy or colored diamonds are not mass-market products. They have their unique ‘personality’ and ‘character’, offering just as much color-fun and radiant-joy as colored precious stones. Like colored gemstones, each ‘fancy diamond’ has its own distinct features. They appear in fabulously expensive pale pink and blue, pale to bright yellow, orange, green, and a variety of browns passionately termed ‘cognac’, ‘claret’ (brown) and champagne (brownish yellow). The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades fancy diamonds in each color on the basis of ‘hues’ commencing with ‘faint’, through ‘very-light’, light, ending with ‘vivid-fancy’, based on the intensity of color.
With the increased appreciation for fancy diamonds today, and their appearance in artfully faceted and unusual cuts, fancy diamonds could be just as wise an investment as colored precious stones such as emeralds, sapphires and rubies?..


Weighing 545.67 carats, the Golden Jubilee is today the largest faceted fancy diamond in the world. Once called the ‘Unnamed Brown’, and considered an unattractive piece, this seemingly ugly duckling was transformed into a beautiful yellow-brown diamond after being treated by Gabriel Tolkowsky, who was instructed by De Beers to test previously unused tools and experimenting with new cutting methods. Today, it is the property of the King of Thailand, who received it as a present for the 50th Anniversary of his coronation in 1997.


The ‘Black Diamond’, referred to as ‘carbonado’ by gemologists, is a natural polycrystalline diamond found exclusively in alluvial deposits of the Central African Republic, and Brazil, and is in neither place associated with kimberlite, the source of typical gem diamonds. Black diamonds are typically pea-sized but also appear as larger porous aggregates of many tiny black crystals, although the natural color of carbonado can be black or dark gray.


The origins of ‘carbonado’ or black diamond’s, remain controversial and without scientific consensus to the present day. The hypotheses proposed in the past include, but are not limited to:
Direct conversion of organic carbon while under high-pressure conditions in the Earth’s interior: radfiation-induced diamond formation by spontaneous fission of uranium and thorium; formation inside an earlier-generation giant star which would have exploded long ago in supernovae.
The hypothesis of black diamond’s origin in interstellar space proposes that the black diamond called carbonado may have been deposited there via an asteroid impact about 3 billion years ago. Possibly fragmenting during entry into the earth’s atmosphere, and impacting in a region which would much later be divided into Brazil and the Central African Republic.


This rare black diamond of African origin is jet-black, weighs 33.74 carats, has 145 facets and was cut from a 55.85-carat rough boulder. The stone was first shown in February 1973, at D. Drukker & Zn., Amsterdam, hence the name ‘Amsterdam Black Diamond’. It was auctioned at in November, 2001, for $352,000, setting a world record for the highest price fetched by black diamond at auction. The stone is cut in a pear shape, with horizontally split main facets on the crown.


The Spirit of de Grisogono is the world’s largest faceted black diamond and the world’s fifth largest diamond. Commencing at an uncut weight of 587 carats (117g), it was taken from its origin in west Central Africa and cut by Swiss jeweler De Grisogono. The resulting Mogul-cut diamond presently weighs 312.24 carats (62.45 g), mounted in a white gold ring with 702 smaller colorless diamonds totaling 36.69 carats (7.34 g). The ring has presumably been sold to an anonymous private collector.

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