Fancy Color begins beyond the grade Z in the color grading scale. (shown above) While colorless, near colorless, faint and light diamond colors are graded from the face-down position. Laboratory graders assess fancy color diamonds from the face-up or top view of the diamond.
Graders evaluate the hue, tone, and saturation of each diamond.
Hue - A diamond's overall body color
Tone - A diamond's lightness or darkness in relation to body color
Saturation - The intensity or degree of color
Secondary or modifying colors are also assessed, as they impact the overall hue of the fancy color. For example, a yellow diamond may have a green secondary, and will subsequently be graded as "Fancy Greenish Yellow." A blue diamond may have a grey secondary color, and will be graded as "Fancy Greyish Blue" and so on.
Fancy diamond colours are also described by color “overtone” (modifying colour). Modifying color is always listed before the main color.
The color in Fancy color diamonds is built from three parameters:
- he main color of the diamond
- he secondary color of the diamond (AKA overtone)
- he intensity of the color
The main color, and if there is a secondary color, together define the color tone, however the strength of color is defined by the intensity level. The intensity level can be anywhere from a very soft shade to a very strong shade, and the stronger the shade the more valuable the diamond is. GIA developed an intensity grading scale in order to categorize the intensity levels in the diamond. The nine grades in the scale are;
- Very Light
- Fancy Light
- Fancy Intence
- Fancy Vivid, Fancy Deep, Fancy Dark
Fancy Intense – Fancy intense color diamonds exhibit a moderate tone, with a stronger saturation.
Fancy Vivid – Fancy vivid color diamonds are graded as having a moderate tone, with a strong saturation. These diamonds exhibit an intense, vibrant hue and are considered especially rare and valuable
For example, the following image depicts the full scale of color intensity in Pink, Blue, and Green color Diamonds. It is clearly shown that the intensity scale begins with very soft colors and progressively displays a richer color stone.
However, it is important to understand that not every diamond color appears in all intensity levels. For example, Orange diamonds cannot be found in Faint, Very Light, or Light intensities. Only Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, and Fancy Deep.
The GIA also defines how well the color and intensity is distributed throughout the stone. A diamond certificate will specify 'even' or 'uneven' according to the percentage of the color distribution.
The intensity of the color has a direct affect on the value of the stone. For example a Blue diamond or a Pink diamond, which are of the rarest in the fancy colored diamond family, are quite costly and difficult to find. However, there is a significant difference between a Fancy Light Blue and a Fancy Vivid Blue or a Fancy Light Pink and a Fancy Intense Pink.
Since there is such a wide range of colored diamonds, even stones of the same intensity can look quite different from one another. At Leibish & Co., the intensity of each diamond is graded on a scale of 1-10. The 1-10 scale breaks down different stones of the same intensity grade between a weaker or stronger color.
The following image saw the Fluorescence effect on Fancy Color diamond.
A ‘Fancy Intense Pink' diamond with a 1-3 grade is a very weak ‘Fancy Intense Pink’ and actually borders a ‘Fancy Pink.’ A ‘Fancy Intense Pink’ diamond with a 8-10 has a very strong color and actually borders a ‘Fancy Vivid Pink’ diamond. Therefore, it is actually quite common to see two diamonds of the same intensity grade where one looks as if the color is more intense than in the other.
The image about depicts four diamonds all graded by GIA as ‘Fancy Intense Pink’ with different strengths of the same intensity grade (and color tone) between the stones.
Exactly what color intensity a diamond will have will not be able to be determined from the rough stone. However, the greater the color intensity of the rough, the greater the intensity of the polished diamond will be. How intense the color will be is also greatly affected by the diamond cut and shape of the stone. Also, the way colorless stones are being cut (Brilliant cut) is different from how Fancy Color Diamonds are cut (Modified).
The origin of the diamond is also another factor that affects the color intensity. Different diamond mines produce different shades or tones of colors. For example, a Pink diamond found in India or South Africa can’t compare to a Pink diamond found from the Argyle diamond mine in Australia.