Often when picturing a diamond, we envision the classic colorless gem depicted in films, showcased in engagement rings, or displayed with other popular jewelry in glass cases. A colorless diamond is the clear, classic diamond we envision. Many “colorless” diamonds possess very subtle hints of yellow or brown, colors that can affect the value of the stone.  But diamonds come in colors that extend beyond the D-to-Z color scale. And when the color of the stone is strong enough, the diamond becomes known as a “fancy-color diamond.” This world of fancy-color diamonds dazzles and delights. From  captivating pink diamonds to enchanting blue and green to the more common yellow and brown, there is a fancy-color diamond for every taste.

The geological conditions required to yield fancy color diamonds are rare, making diamonds with naturally occurring colors scarce and highly prized. This rarity means that these diamonds command a higher market price.

GIA offers two types of laboratory reports for colored diamonds. The GIA Colored Diamond Identification and Origin Report lets you know if the diamond’s color is natural or the result of treatment and describes the diamond’s color grade. The GIA Colored Diamond Grading Report contains all this information, in addition to a clarity grade and a plotted diagram of the stone’s clarity characteristics. These reports help diamond shoppers, collectors, and spectators understand the quality, and therefore potential value, of a particular stone.

The “Hope Diamond” is a 45.52 carat, (antique) cushion cut.

Contemporary fashion, famed auction houses, and museums have brought fancy color diamonds to the public’s eye for years. The famous “Hope Diamond” housed at the Smithsonian is 45.52 carats, (antique) cushion cut and fancy deep (dark) grayish-blue in color. It has VS1 clarity, also adding to the value of the stone. There are many whispers about the stone’s early days, including a rumor that it was cut from a previously famous, stolen French Blue Diamond that disappeared in 1792 during the French Revolution. This rare diamond has been viewed by over 100 million people since being donated by Harry Winston to the Smithsonian in 1958.

Another famous fancy-color diamond is the “Tiffany Yellow” –one of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered. The stone was unearthed in Africa in 1877, and was later purchased by Tiffany & Co. owner Charles Tiffany. Weighing 128.54 carats, the diamond can be seen on display at Tiffany & Co.’s flagship store in Manhattan. This stone has been worn by only two women: a Rhode Island socialite and the stunning Audrey Hepburn, who donned it as a pendant for promotional shots for the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s

But fancy color diamonds are not only for museum-goers or passionate Fifth Avenue shoppers to observe. Some lucky ladies actually get to wear them.  One current favorite is Beyonce’s resplendent pink diamond necklace. Other fancy color diamonds have been turning up on the red carpet. Starlets like Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus, Angelina Jolie and Heidi Klum have been known to don fancy-color diamond jewelry for movie premieres and award shows

Aside from the glitterati who get to borrow (and sometimes own) these gorgeous stones, non-movie stars are snapping them up, too.

Hope diamond image courtesy of The Smithsonian Institution.