What Are Colored Diamonds?

A diamond engagement ring against a blue fabric background.

Diamond rings no longer have to be colorless, white dazzling baubles. While still dazzling, colored diamonds—like blue, green, yellow, red, and purple—have been increasing in popularity when it comes to saying “I do.” You might think colored diamonds are fancy, and they are. Which is probably why they’re called exactly a “fancy diamond.” If you want a less traditional and more stylish and unique engagement ring, then maybe a fancy diamond belongs on your finger. So, just what are colored fancy diamonds? We break it down for you below.

What Makes a Diamond ‘Fancy’?

Colored diamonds fall outside the normal color range of light yellow to light brown. Unlike color-less diamonds, colored diamonds are actually much rarer. In fact, the higher the saturation level of the diamond’s hue (meaning, the more vibrant it is) the more valuable the diamond. For example, while a yellow diamond is a popular engagement ring choice for many, a red diamond is the most valuable ring you could buy on the market.

How Are Colored Diamonds Made?

Here’s a bit of irony: colored diamonds are actually deformed rocks. There’s not a ton of research on how all fancy diamonds are made, but it’s believed that each colored diamond is a result of some sort of atomic deformation. All gemstones are made from carbon, which means during the natural formation of the diamond process, Mother Nature plays a major role by applying intense pressure and/or heat and/or incorporating other elements like boron and nitrogen that result in a colored diamond. This is a rare process, by the way; 1 out of every 10,000 rare diamonds are colored, which is why they’re so valuable.

Reds: The Rarest Colored Diamond

As mentioned above, the rarest colored diamonds are those with the deepest and most vibrant colors. Because of this, red is the rarest fancy diamond, which is why they’re the most expensive and coveted. It’s said that red diamonds are created as a result of an incredible amount of pressure that changes the crystal lattice structure. Red diamonds are believed to symbolize unity of passion and serenity.

Purples: Pretty and Rare

A purple diamond ring with diamonds around it.

While there is some debate as to how purple diamonds are formed, there is one common consensus: these beauts are hard to come by. Purple diamonds come in pure violet, which is the lightest hue, as well as a deep purple. After a red diamond, a purple diamond is the rarest to find. They are said to symbolize passion, magic, and royalty.

Blues: Incredibly Rare

Stunningly beautiful, blue diamonds are also rare, which is why we envy Duchess Kate’s engagement ring from Prince William. A blue diamond is created when a boron atom, which originates from the depths of the oceans, finds its way within the diamond’s crystal lattice structure and replaces one of the carbon atoms. Blue diamonds can appear in a few different shades such as aquamarine, sapphire, and blue topaz. They symbolize loyalty, honesty, and communication.

Greens: Exceptionally Valuable

A green gemstone ring with diamonds around it.

Elegant and gorgeous, green diamonds are said to be a result of natural radiation exposure that occurs during the diamond making process. Carbon atoms are removed from the crystal lattice, which allows the diamond to absorb the red light and, as a result, take on a green shade. What makes the green diamond so valuable is that the radiation doesn’t affect the entire stone, so the green hues might only appear in certain parts of the diamond. This means that if the diamond were to become compromised in any way, including cut, you might lose the green color. A green diamond is said to symbolize happiness and a successful marriage.

Fancy diamonds might be hard to come by, but just like meeting and connecting with the perfect mate, the same can be said about a colored diamond: “Be like a diamond, precious and rare; not like a stone that is found everywhere.”

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