When we think of diamonds, we think of a colourless or white gemstone. That isn't always the case! Fancy diamonds display a range of colours, ranging from speckled salt and pepper shades through to vivid citrus yellows and ocean blues. In this guide we explain what fancy diamonds are and their use in jewellery.
Understanding Coloured Diamonds
Diamond jewellery has become synonymous with love and luxury, with white/clear diamonds being the most commonly gifted type of diamond gemstone when it comes to jewellery. You'd be forgiven for thinking that these clear, colourless gemstones are the rarest diamond due to their high prices, but you'd be wrong! Coloured natural diamonds are incredibly rare, with the most common colored diamonds accounting for just 0.1% of diamonds on Earth!
Naturally formed fancy diamonds can attract high prices due to their scarcity, with most fancy diamond jewellery containing lab-made stones to make them more affordable. They can be found with just the softest hint of colour or with deep, bold colours ranging from blush pink and red through to pastel blues and greens and deep browns and black. Unlike with white diamonds, their pricing is based on their rarity as well as their clarity and cut. Brown, champagne and yellow diamonds are usually the least expensive fancy diamonds, with pink, red, violet purple and blue being among the rarest.
Why Choose a Fancy Diamond?
Fancy diamonds are often suggested in place of softer gemstones which can be prone to damage over time, especially when they're set in jewellery that's worn on the hand everyday! A green diamond will be infinitely harder wearing than a soft gemstone like peridot, while a pale blue diamond will be less likely to scratch than an aquamarine. The hardness of diamonds makes them the perfect choice for setting in bridal jewellery that's worn on your finger for decades and will be passed down through the generations.
Coloured diamonds are becoming increasingly popular for jewellery as our tastes shift towards more unique styles that better fit our personal tastes. Lilia Nash is well known for creating coloured gemstone engagement rings, with fancy diamonds increasingly requested for bespoke engagement rings, custom wedding rings and other specialist jewellery. You'll find a rainbow of coloured diamonds, sapphires and other gems in our made to order and express shop ranges.
Lilia also sources a variety of diamonds for use in her jewellery, allowing you to choose your favourite diamond to design your own ring, necklace or other piece of statement jewellery.
Affordable Fancy Diamonds & Alternatives
If you have your heart set on a fancy diamond but you find the price tag a little eye watering, there are alternative options available.
As previously mentioned, lab-grown diamonds are much more affordable than their natural cousins. These colourful diamonds have exactly the same composition as mined diamonds but they're created in specialist labs. Lab-made fancy diamonds are not only less expensive, they tend to be free from flaws and imperfections, making them exceptional value for money.
If it must be a natural diamond, consider going with a gem that has imperfections which enhance the overall look of the stone. Salt and pepper diamonds contain a plethora of inclusions that create mesmerising patterns in the stone. You could also cluster smaller diamonds together instead of opting for one large stone which will attract a much higher price tag than the combined cost of lower carat stones.
Coloured sapphires are also a fantastic alternative. They come in similar colours to fancy diamonds and are only slightly less durable, measuring 9 on the hardness scale compared to 10 for diamonds. The only colour sapphires can't be found is red, with red cabochons being rubies!
Coloured sapphires are our best-selling gemstone thanks to their affordability compared to coloured diamonds. They can be found in a variety of styles including colour-change sapphires which switch between different shades depending on the angle or the light and parti sapphires which include a blend of blues, greens and yellows within a single gemstone.
Coloured Sapphire Jewellery
One of a kind coloured sapphire engagement rings, customisable designs and bespoke design services.
Fancy diamonds can also be created using heat in a process known as irradiation. Irradiated diamonds (also known as enhanced diamonds) are naturally mined diamonds that are subjected to intense heat treatments which transform the colour of the stone.
Irradiation is performed on cut and polished gems and can include a variety of treatments including drilling the gem to remove imperfections, filling hairline fractures and cracks and transforming the colour of a yellow or brown diamond into a bolder colour like yellow, pink or blue.
Heat-treated diamonds are much less inexpensive than their natural cousins, offering all of the unique qualities of a natural coloured diamonds with a much more economical price tag. They're a great option if you want a natural fancy diamond without the cost of paying for a naturally coloured stone.
Design Fancy Diamond Jewellery
Lilia Nash specialises in creating bespoke engagement rings, wedding rings and other jewellery. If you'd like to design your own fancy diamond ring or other piece of fine jewellery, send us an enquiry. All of our fancy diamonds are sourced from fair trade cutters and mines (natural) or labs (synthetic) and can be found in a range of sizes, carat weights, cuts and colours. Choose between 18ct gold, white gold, rose gold or platinum from recycled sources and include your favourite design elements in your creation.
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