How to Choose a Fancy Colored Diamond

With celebrities choosing fancy colored diamonds for their engagement rings, investors pointing to how the value of fancy colored diamonds keeps rising, and auction after auction breaking records for its colored diamonds... wouldn't you like to have one of your own?

Even if you know about the 4 Cs of choosing regular diamonds, fancy colored diamonds are a different story, with their own set of grading criteria.


  1. Image titled Choose a Fancy Colored Diamond Step 1
    Research Fancy Colored Diamonds. It’s always good to know a little about the topic before you jump in. Fancy color diamonds get their color from different elements, radiation or high pressure that changes the structure of the diamond during formation.
    • Take a look at this article for details on where different natural color diamonds get their color. I
  2. Image titled Choose a Fancy Colored Diamond Step 2
    Decide which color you want. This is the big decision. Fancy colored diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow, from ROY G BIV to brown, black and silver. Some diamonds, called “chameleon diamonds, can even change color based on light and temperature! Which color to pick is a very personal decision. You can pick your favorite color, the color that represents your personality, or the color that most flatters your skin tone. There are so many different variations in the color, especially when you add in the secondary hues that many colored diamonds have, that even one “blue” diamond may be very different from another “blue” diamond. So just get the general color down now, but keep your vision as to what it will look like open.
  3. Image titled Choose a Fancy Colored Diamond Step 3
    Learn the GIA rating scale. While colorless diamonds are graded on a D-Z scale (D having no traces of color, and Z having significant light yellowish or brownish coloring), fancy colored diamonds are graded on another scale entirely. The GIA’s scale] has nine levels[1]:
    • Faint
    • Very Light
    • Light
    • Fancy Light
    • Fancy
    • Fancy Intense
    • Fancy Vivid
    • Fancy Dark
    • Fancy Deep
  4. Image titled Choose a Fancy Colored Diamond Step 4
    Learn the diamond clarity scale. The GIA's clarity scale] is the same for colored diamonds as it is for colorless diamonds[2], although it often doesn’t play as large a factor in price when it comes to colored diamonds, partially because the imperfections are harder to see, and partially because the color is considered the primary value.
    • Flawless (FL) - No inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification
    • Internally Flawless (IF) -No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
    • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)- Very slight inclusions that are difficult for even an experienced grader to see under 10x magnification
    • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) -Minor inclusions can be seen with effort under 10x magnification
    • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)- noticeable Inclusions seen under 10x magnification
    • Included (I1, I2, and I3) - Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect the overall look of the diamond without magnification
  5. Image titled Choose a Fancy Colored Diamond Step 5
    Pick a reputable jeweler or online source. Fancy colored diamonds are not cheap. If you’re buying one, you need to make sure your source is reputable and they can show you the evidence that the diamond is natural (not synthetic or synthetically colored), and that you know what you are buying. Things to look for in a source:
    • You can see the diamond (or good quality photos of the diamond, in the case of an online source)
    • The diamonds have certificates of authentication from the GIA or another accepted gemological institution that grades diamonds and you will receive the original certificate
    • Return policy with 100% refund if you are not satisfied for whatever reason
  6. Image titled Choose a Fancy Colored Diamond Step 6
    Look for the color you want. Go to the jeweler and tell him what color and intensity you’re looking for, or go to the online source and browse through their inventory. Look at the diamond or the photos and see which one strikes your fancy.
  7. Image titled Choose a Fancy Colored Diamond Step 7
    Check the diamond grading report. Make sure you read the diamond grading certificate/report, either in person or online. Check that the details match what you are looking for. If your report is from the GIA, you can check the number of the report online and make sure that the information in the report matches the information in their database.
  8. Image titled Choose a Fancy Colored Diamond Step 8
    Buy diamond. Ready? Go pay for your diamond. Enjoy the sparkle!

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Categories: Jewelry and Watches