A Guide to the Most Expensive Diamond Colors

The cut of a diamond is generally considered to be the most important attribute that affects its beauty, while color and the rest of the 4Cs follow closely behind. The classic diamond that comes to mind when we think of a diamond is one that is perfectly colorless.
In this guide, we venture into a realm where diamonds don the entire spectrum of hues, from the purest crystalline white to the exceedingly rare fancy red, and a dazzling array of colors in between.
Ritani 1RZ1327 Cushion Halo V Diamond Engagement Ring
Ritani 1RZ1327 Cushion Halo 'V' Diamond Engagement Ring
Colored diamonds of significant strength– also known as fancy color diamonds –can be used to make a unique statement or to give a piece of jewelry some added flair.
From icy colorless diamonds to fiery reds and deep blues, sea greens to passionate pinks: we will explore the captivating possibilities of colored diamonds. Below, we'll delve into the world of the most expensive diamond colors, exploring their rarity, charm, and the unparalleled essence they bring to high-end jewelry.

How are Fancy Color Diamonds Evaluated?

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) developed the color scale for diamonds in the 1950s and it is used in virtually all diamond laboratories in the world today.
Diamonds are graded on an alphabetic scale according to increasing increments of body color (usually yellow), starting at D (colorless) and progressing to Z (light yellow). Colors beyond Z are referred to as “fancy colors” and are graded in a completely different way.
A fancy color diamond is evaluated based on three color characteristics; hue, saturation, and tone. In this way color is described as being three dimensional.
  • Hue is the specific color we see. In the example of pink or purple pink, it could be a single color or a combination of colors. A description such as 'purplish pink' would indicate that the secondary color is not prominent. A single color can potentially have multiple modifiers which are listed ahead of the primary color in the color description.
  • Saturation is the strength or concentration of a particular color. Consider a white cloth dipped in pure red food coloring; the color is very intense and concentrated. Suppose you dip a separate white cloth in the same red food color but dilute it by two thirds with water. While the hue has not changed, the saturation has decreased, and the color is less vibrant.
  • Tone is the degree of lightness to darkness that the color exhibits. Once again, imagine a bowl of food coloring. The hue would still be red if a little black food coloring was mixed with the red, and the saturation would remain the same, but the tone would be darker.
Other hues, including blues, pinks, and greens, are simply identified as Faint Pink, Very Light Green, or Light Blue, rather than by a letter. It is only after they reach Z in terms of color strength that they are considered fancy colors and are referred to as "Fancy Light Blue" or "Fancy Pink" etc.

How are Colored Diamonds Priced?

Despite their rarity, most colored diamonds, which account for less than 0.1 percent of all diamonds, are much more affordable than icy white diamonds with high-quality performance across the 4Cs. Only when they reach the fancy color range do prices start to compete with and exceed those of the top colorless diamonds.
A colored diamond is graded and priced according to the 4Cs: carat, cut, clarity, and color, but color can have a greater impact on price if it is strong and desirable. Diamonds in the “normal range” (D-Z) follow more regular price rules per their cut, clarity, and carat, but color grading differs significantly.
A total of over 200 unique color combinations can be created from nearly 30 base colors. In a laboratory, a color grader examines the base color and any secondary colors to determine the color name. As an example, a green diamond with faint blue hints would be referred to as a "bluish green”, as mentioned in the evaluation section above.
Fancy color diamond classification
Fancy color diamond grading classifications- Image courtesy of GIA
For a diamond to be graded as Fancy Color, the hue, tone, and saturation of its color must also be evaluated. This grading is determined by the intensity of the color, and from least to most saturated are graded as faint, very light, light, fancy light, fancy, fancy intense, fancy vivid, fancy dark, or fancy deep.
The more intense and deeper the color, the more expensive the diamond.
As lab-grown diamonds become more accessible and affordable, the world of fancy colored diamonds is changing. The affordable nature of lab-grown diamonds allows enthusiasts to explore the fascinating world of fancy colored diamonds - without breaking the bank.
Diamond Colors from D to K
Diamond Color as seen from the side (click image to enlarge)
A white diamond with a D color grade is the rarest color in the normal range - perfectly colorless. Diamonds are graded on an alphabetic scale from D-Z, with D being the most expensive color grade. The color grade in the upper end of the normal range refers to the amount of body color irregardless of hue.
This color grading only applies to white diamonds, but it's a very important classification, since the best color grade for a white diamond is to have virtually no color, as in color grade D. A diamond with a color grade of Z will tend to have a noticeable tint, usually yellow or brown.
When viewed from the face up direction, where light return has an impact on your perception of color, ideal cut diamonds appear whiter than average cuts. Seeing the diamond color chart alone demonstrates how technical diamond color grading is, since there are so many very small increments. The value of a diamond can be maximized by shoppers who have a basic understanding of how color impacts the practical aspects of its purchase.
There is a special term in the diamond trade for the highest colors and clarity levels. It is considered that DEF colors are 'colorless' and FL to VVS clarities are microscopically clean. Diamonds in these elite gemological grades are often called "collection" or "investment" quality. It is also easier to observe the full effect of fire in an ideal cut, colorless diamond. For more on this special property please see our page on diamond fire.
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Eternity Wrap Diamond Engagement Ring
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Most Expensive Fancy Diamond Colors

The most expensive fancy diamond colors are those that are exceptionally rare and highly sought after for their unique and captivating hues and depth of color. These colors often command premium prices in the diamond market, sometimes even influenced by celebrity engagements and high-profile appearances in the world of fashion and entertainment.
Whether it's the fiery reds, cool blues, delicate pinks, sea greens, or sunny yellows, fancy colored diamonds continue to captivate hearts and capture imaginations. Here are some of the most expensive fancy diamond colors:

Red Fancy Colored Diamonds

When it comes to the most expensive diamond color, red diamonds stand above all colored diamonds. The bottom line is that red diamonds are incredibly rare.
Red Fancy Color Diamond from GIA
Image Courtesy of GIA
Another difference in red diamonds is that while other colored diamonds are graded on a different color scale than white diamonds, varying from Fancy Faint to Fancy Vivid, red diamonds without any modifiers are only graded as Fancy.
GIA researchers do not know exactly why red diamonds are red. Their color is believed to be caused by changes in the diamond's atomic structure.
It should also be noted that most red diamonds are under half a carat, and the largest red diamond weighs only 5.11 carats. This is in stark contrast to the Cullinan I, the world's largest cut and polished white diamond.

Blue Fancy Colored Diamonds

One of the rarest gemstones is a pure blue diamond. There is something particularly rare about blue diamonds: their purity. There is the mesmerizing monochromatic beauty of a pure blue diamond that is different from many other fancy colors that often exhibit secondary hues. Boron, a trace element that gives these diamonds their extraordinary color, is responsible for the mesmerizing blue hue they possess.
Blue Fancy Color Diamond from GIA
Image Courtesy of GIA
It is for this reason that most blue diamonds we see today contain small amounts of green and gray mixtures. The official classification divides them into slight hues, light hues, colored hues, intense hues, deep hues, dark hues, and bright hues.
Perhaps the most famous blue diamond in the world, the iconic Hope Diamond, is known for its size, its deep blue color, and intriguing history. This 45.52-carat diamond has been associated with legends and myths and is believed to have originated from the French Blue diamond. It is now on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - a rare and historical significance in the world of gemstones.

Pink Fancy Colored Diamonds

As red diamonds are colored diamonds that are extremely saturated, pink diamonds are colored diamonds whose saturation is somewhere in between clear and red. This diverse palette of pink shades has made pink diamonds one of the more popular and widely appreciated colored diamond varieties.
Pink Fancy Color Diamond from GIA
Image Courtesy of GIA
There are a wide range of pink variations from orangey pink to purplish pink, whereas a true pink diamond can range from fancy light to fancy vivid. These diamonds embrace the world of fancy colors with grace, offering a soft and romantic alternative to the more intense and wildly expensive red diamonds.
As with any colored diamond, the value of a pink diamond is determined by several factors, including its color intensity, size, clarity, cut, and overall rarity. While rarity of the color leads to a premium price, it's essential to note that size also significantly influences a pink diamond's value.
Large pink diamonds, such as the renowned Pink Star Diamond, have garnered substantial attention and admiration in the world of gemstones. The Pink Star Diamond, a breathtaking 59.60-carat oval mixed-cut diamond, achieved worldwide fame when it sold for a record-breaking price at an auction.

Green Fancy Colored Diamonds

Because green diamonds are so rare, most experts will scrutinize them meticulously to ensure they are not lab-created or color enhanced by man. The color of most green diamonds comes from natural radiation in the rocks surrounding them.
Green Fancy Color Diamond from GIA
Image Courtesy of GIA
It is usually only the outside of a diamond that is green; the color rarely reaches the center. Among the most famous green diamonds in history is the "Dresden Green Diamond," weighing approximately 40.70 carats, known for its vivid green color and rich history. The Dresden Green is a rare Type IIa, with a clarity of VS1 and it is said to be potentially internally flawless, if slightly recut.
If you’re lucky enough to have a natural green diamond, be careful if you ever get it re- polished so you don’t risk losing the color! As always, a fancy colored diamond's value is not only determined by its color, but also by factors like clarity, cut, carat weight, and overall rarity.

Yellow Fancy Colored Diamonds

Yellow diamonds, sometimes referred to as "canary diamonds," are one of the more prevalent fancy diamond colors in the market. However, their value varies significantly depending on the intensity and vibrancy of their yellow hue.
Ritani 1RZ1321 French-Set Halo Diamond Engagement Ring
Ritani 1RZ1321 French-Set Halo Diamond Engagement Ring
The range of yellow diamonds spans from the palest lemon tints to deep, vivid shades reminiscent of a canary's plumage. It's the latter end of this spectrum that holds the most value.
While yellow diamonds are relatively more common than some other fancy colors, intense yellow diamonds with a deep and vibrant hue are rare and can be quite valuable.
Among the most iconic examples is the "Tiffany Yellow Diamond". This gemstone, famously worn by Audrey Hepburn in publicity photos for the film "Breakfast at Tiffany's," is a dazzling 128.54 carat, cushion-cut yellow diamond.
Interestingly, achieving the coveted yellow hue doesn't always necessitate venturing into the realm of fancy colors. Diamonds with color grades in the K, L, and M range can, impart a faint but enchanting buttery glow. While white diamonds are generally preferred, many shoppers target this color range for its subtle sunny warmth.
Further down the scale, in the N to S-Z range, diamonds exhibit a very light yellow hue before reaching the officially designated fancy colors at Z. Often diamonds in this color range can be set with contrasting white diamonds and yellow gold under girding that makes them appear to be in the fancy color range.
For those who desire a deeper and more intense yellow, the choice of setting can also play a pivotal role. Settings in yellow or rose gold, for instance, have the remarkable ability to make a yellow diamond appear more vivid and intense than its designated color grade.

Discover Your Desired Diamond With Whiteflash

In the world of diamonds, the allure of color knows no bounds. Whether you are enamored by the icy colorless diamond or want to own a fancy color at a lower cost, the emergence of lab-grown diamonds has made it more affordable than ever to indulge in the vivid beauty of colored diamonds, or splurge on top-end colorless diamonds, without compromising on quality.
While we are best known for the finest in natural diamonds, with our expertise in cut quality, the lab diamonds we stock are the ‘best of the best’ with proven light performance. They are at the top of the scale in terms of color and clarity (DEFG color VVS1 -VS1 clarity). You can browse our in-stock offerings at our Precision Lab page.
Whether you're looking for the perfect engagement ring, a stunning pendant, or any other piece of jewelry to adorn yourself or a loved one, our exquisite diamonds offer a world of possibilities.
Should you have any questions about choosing the perfect diamond, deciding on settings, or exploring the ideal metal options, our team of experts is here to assist you. Feel free to get in touch with us, and let us help you bring your vision to life with the perfect diamond! Your journey into the world of diamonds awaits.

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