What Happens to Diamonds Graded Outside the D-Z Scale?

The normal color range for grading diamonds lies between D-Z. This is also the typical range (D-J) that most consumers buy their jewelry in. Now, have you ever wondered what lies beyond a Z grade?

If you are thinking fancy colors, you are absolutely right. Once we are beyond the Z color, we enter into the realm of fancy colors where the primary hue and shade of a stone determines its value and rarity. 

cz color grading masterstones

A masterstone set for grading colors between D-Z. What happens to colors outside this scale?

The fancy color grading system doesn’t utilize a number or letter for color representation. Instead, this system uses words that describe the tone, saturation and the type of hue the diamond gives off. As an example, the face-up color appearance could be described as light blue or fancy brown. It is also possible for a diamond to have hues made up of a combination of colors, such as; bluish-green, reddish-orange and fancy dark orangy brown.

Deciding to Buy a Fancy Colored Diamond?

fancy colored yellow and brown diamonds

Browns, Yellows And Whites

It is estimated that only 1 out of every 10,000 mined roughs is fancy colored. For sporadic colors like blue or pink, the rarity of such stones could be as high as 1 out of 24,000 roughs! This is the reason why colored diamonds command high auction prices and continue hitting record prices year after year.

Depending on the hue and color intensity a diamond has, the value can either be increased or decreased. As a rule of the thumb, any color mixed with brown will usually see a decrease in value. For example, a fancy brownish pink is a lot less valuable than a fancy pink diamond. Some solitaire colors like pink or blue are much rarer than others. Naturally, this will increase the value of the stone.

Natural fancy colored diamonds often have astronomical prices pegged to them and are out of reach to most people. However, artificial processes like heat treatments and irradiation has made it possible for people to own a fancy colored diamond at affordable prices. So, if somebody is listing a 1 carat blue diamond ring for sale at $6,000, you can bet that the stone has undergone enhancement processes.

That said, there’s nothing wrong in buying a treated diamond. However, you do need to know that some of these treatments could be permanent while some others are only temporary measures. Also, these diamonds often require special handling and care to maintain their appearances. That is why it is always best to check the details with your jeweler before you commit to a purchase. For more information, you might want to read this article on artificial enhancements.

What Really Matters Most When Selecting Colors?

While D colored diamonds are largely sought after by consumers and investors, there are people who may prefer diamonds with lower color grades as they look warmer and generate a different kind of feel. Regardless of what color grade a diamond has, the choice should always be one that you will enjoy looking at.

A brown diamond that looks unappealing to another person might be love at first sight for you. As the saying goes, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Your personal preference is what matters and not what someone else thinks or says.

orange brown yellow black colored diamonds

So many choices available, which color appeals most to you? View more at JamesAllen.com

To wrap things up, it’s important you purchase a diamond you want for its visual appeal and not just for the grade specified on a piece of paper. This is especially true when it comes to fancy colored diamonds. No two diamonds with the same color grading will look exactly alike. The best way to shop is to layout all available options (via videos or in person) and to discover your own preferences.


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