How to Buy or Value a Fancy (or multi) Colored Diamond?

Colored diamonds are one of the rarest and most fascinating gems in the market.  As there are so few of them available, it is very difficult to evaluate what should be the fair market price.   These gems are also very unique in terms of being like a diamond – same hardness, tough & adamantine luster – plus having all range of colors like any beautiful colored gemstone.

The idea in writing this post came up to me when I received a phone call from someone who has been collecting colored pink diamonds for 20 years even though he was not a professional in the trade and was now interested in selling some of his exclusive collection.   Although I have now been in the business for over a decade, I was not 100% confident if I can help this individual as there are a lot questions which I need answers to.  So, I have decided while getting these answers why not write a blog post which will help others who might have the same questions and are in the market for wanting to buy fancy colored diamonds.

So to tackle this problem, I first decided to write a list of questions which I require the answers as shown below:

  1. How to judge the quality of a fancy colored diamond?
  2. How to determine the value of a fancy colored diamond?
  3. Is there a way to find out how rare colored diamonds are through online data or our extensive supply network?
  4. Where do these diamonds come from and does this affect the value of the diamond?

How to judge the quality of a fancy colored diamond?

Like colored gemstones the most important factor for colored fancy diamonds is to determine what the actual color is.   I have briefly discussed about how difficult it is to determine color in another blog post which you can read here: https://buygemstone.info/2015/04/23/how-to-buy-a-colored-gem-or-gemstone-online-and-why-it-is-still-not-possible-without-a-trustworthy-eye/

GIA and other labs have tried standardizing this issue by describing color based on three-dimensional relationship between hue, tone and saturation.  In summary, hue describes what the primary color is for particular colored diamond.  Tone describes how ‘light or dark’ the particular color range is – for example, light blue or dark blue.   Finally saturation describes how deep or ‘intense’ the particular color range is.  If the color has low saturation it will be whiter or in grayish color range of the spectrum, while highest saturation will only have that color.

In terms of hues, GIA recognizes 27 hues for color grading diamonds and chose this number as “this places a practical limit on the number of possible color descriptions,” so there can be some standardization in the market place.   The hues are determined by first looking at the basic colors face-up like red, blue and yellow, or mixture colors like orangy-red, green-blue, brownish-yellow.   The color stated on the certificate is very important as there is ‘significant value’ associated with certain colors.   The rarer the particular color the more expensive it is.   So, the rarest to most common colored diamonds list is shown below:

  • Red
  • Blue
  • Pink
  • Green
  • Yellow
  • Gray
  • Brown
  • Black

However, as stated earlier most colored diamonds usually has combinations of these colors, so you can see this makes the exercise in determining value a lot more difficult.

GIA has also created a standard to describe the combination of tone and saturation for colored diamonds.  The specific grades used to describe the different color appearance ranges are provided below (rank from lowest to highest tone & saturation):

  • Faint
  • Very Light
  • Light
  • Fancy Light
  • Fancy
  • Fancy Intense
  • Fancy Dark
  • Fancy Deep
  • Fancy Vivid

So, usually the above terms are combined with color hues to describe the color.  For example, Fancy Vivid Pink, Faint Yellow, Fancy Light grayish-blue

Other factors like cut grade or cut shape isn’t that important to determine the quality of the colored diamond.

How to determine the value of fancy colored diamond?

As answered in the first question, value of fancy colored diamond is first determined by what particular color it is.  The more rare and desirable the color is, the more expensive the colored diamond will be.

The second most important factor in determining value of colored diamond is of course the all-important carat weight.   This principal is simple, the larger the colored diamond, the rarer it is and therefore the more expensive it is.

However, this again depends on the particular color of the diamond.  For example if the colored diamond is black or brown, usually the prices are quite stable even when these diamonds get larger as they are not so rare and the color is considered less desirable.  In the other spectrum, if a diamond has any red color hue even if the carat weight is less than 0.10 carat, the prices for these diamonds command unbelievable high price as they are so rare that most people including myself will not have a chance to see it in our lifetime.

Clarity also does matter in how expensive a particular colored diamond is.  The cleaner or inclusion-less a diamond is the more fire and sparkle it will have and therefore the more expensive it will be.  Usually some colors will have more inclusions than others like black diamonds are ‘fully included’ diamonds, while pinks will have more inclusions as it is believed the inclusions causes it to get its color.

So, once we know how rare (based on color, carat weight and clarity) the fancy diamond is, we can (in theory) start comparing the price and reach to some range in what a particular colored diamond should cost.  But, like colored gemstones no two colored diamonds are the same, so this skill requires both hard data and some understanding in evaluating ‘art or beauty.’  I never said buying or selling colored diamonds or gemstones are easy!

Is there a way to find out how rare color diamonds are through online data or our extensive supply network?

In the age of the internet, finding white diamonds has become a lot easier as there now multiple manufacturers, wholesalers or retailers who provide us access to their online inventory database.  So, getting an accurate wholesale price for any white diamond isn’t difficult anymore.

So, does this apply to colored diamonds?  One way to check this theory is to make a scenario and check how many & how much a particular fancy diamond is selling for in the wholesale market.

So, for this test case I decided to check for GIA certified 0.50 carat “Pink” diamonds.

From my online search, I found 220 pink diamond options (within 0.50 carat range) around the world of which only 26 were classified with saturation levels above Fancy light.  I eliminated the other options as they were ‘not pink enough’ through my eyes.  The price range for this 26 diamond list was from US$3,000 to US$170,000 total, which is a very large range.  As expected the biggest predictor of price was what GIA classified the color as and then the clarity grade.  The cheapest options were classified as fancy light pink while the most expensive was graded as fancy intense pink.

0.54 carat GIA certified Fancy Intense Pink Diamond
0.54 carat GIA certified Fancy Intense Pink Diamond

Now with these 26 diamond options, does it give me enough confidence in concluding what the accurate pink diamond price should be in wholesale?  For comparison sake let us check how many options are available for the rarest of rare ‘white diamond’ which is the top grade D-color, Internally Flawless-clarity.  For this list, I limited my search for only GIA certified and top ‘triple excellent cut grade.’  Within this very limited classification range – 0.50 carat, D-color, IF-clarity, Triple Excellent make, we found around 142 wholesale options.   Also, the price range was from US$3,300 to US$5,000.  When you compare this price range and list with the fancy pink diamond’s, you can see clearly see that for white diamonds we can confidently conclude what the wholesale price range should be, while for fancy pink diamond we cannot make the same conclusion.

So due to having very limited options for pink diamonds to compare with, it is almost impossible to determine what the accurate wholesale price should be.  The wholesaler, dealer or collector can ask whatever price they wish as we as a buyer just don’t have an option to look for an alternative.

pink-v-white-diamond-optionsWhere do these diamonds come from and does this affect the value of the diamond?

Fancy colored diamonds come from many different mines in the world and I have provided a brief list below.

Colored diamond mines (ancient times & currently)

  • Australia’s Argyle Mine supplies 90% of pink diamonds in the world. The mine is expected to stop production by 2018.
  • South African mines supplies yellows, blues and sometime green diamonds
  • Central African mines produces majority of orange diamonds in the world and sometimes green diamonds
  • Ancient Indian diamond mines was the source of all ‘large size’ color range diamonds including – blue, pink, purple, green. The world famous ‘Hope diamond’ was from India.
  • Russian mines supplies purple diamonds
  • Ancient South American mines produce some of rarest green diamonds

The origin does not determine value of fancy colored diamonds as they are so rare anyways.  Just finding a matching pair or another option from the same mine is ‘nearly impossible.’  So, if you are in the market for fancy diamonds and do have the money and opportunity to acquire one, you will definitely belong to ‘a very exclusive club’ in human history.

_____________________
Thai Native Gems Diamond search service:
If you are in the market looking for the best diamond in Bangkok, Thailand contact us and let us know what your budget is and what you are looking for.   From this initial information, we will swiftly find and email you 4 to 5 diamond options to choose from that we feel fits your needs best.  Unlike other traditional or online dealers, I am not looking to sell you anything, but will provide you honest, frank and objective opinion in what we think is best in the budget you offer.  This service is free, and there absolutely no commitment to buy any of our suggestions.  The only thing you have to do is not respond to our email and you won’t hear from us again! So, you truly have nothing to lose!

How do we compile this diamond list?  Our search process is provided below:
1) We first will contact our local diamond supply network and check if there are any stones that fits your requirement in Bangkok, Thailand.  We have over 50 contacts in Bangkok and will check ALL to make sure we can provide you the best deal.

2) If not satisfied, we will then check online through our extensive global network sifting through over 900,000+ diamonds and will find you the best diamond.  The only setback when choosing the diamond from this global list is, it can take one week to two weeks to arrive to Bangkok. 

Example of diamond we sourced & custom made:

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Contact us today to get all your wholesale gemstones, diamonds and jewelry needs.  We can Source, Search and Supply anything you require.   

What will you get if you contact us

  • Get wholesale and highly competitive prices of gemstones & diamonds from anywhere through our extensive network of contacts around the world
  • All stones sold by us is verified in house by our GIA Graduate Gemologist or certified
  • We provide personalized service and NOT the same old “One Size Fits All” Approach

You can learn more by clicking here or image below

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