Orange is not a common colour in the family of fancy colour diamonds. These stones are alluring, intriguing and highly valued among diamond enthusiasts and collectors. In this buying guide, you will find out which factors affect the quality and price of orange diamonds and what to consider to make a good investment.
What Are Orange Diamonds?
Natural orange diamonds, also known as pumpkin and fire diamonds, are among the rarest and extraordinary of the fancy colour diamond family. Most orange diamonds come from the Argyle Mine in Western Australia and South Africa.
They owe their beautiful colour to the presence of nitrogen element, just as it is in case of yellow diamonds. The difference between orange and yellow diamonds is how nitrogen atoms are grouped during the diamond’s formation process. In case of orange diamonds, the arrangement is called hyper-specific due to which a diamond absorbs blue and yellow light, creating an orange hue in return.
Although orange diamonds with modifying colours such as brown, yellow and pink are relatively common, vivid orange stones are exceptional and valuable as a result.
Evaluating the Colour of Orange Diamonds
An orange diamond’s colour grade is based on both the colour of the stone and its intensity level. According to the GIA orange diamonds are classified using the following colour grades: Faint Orange, Very Light Orange, Light Orange, Fancy Light Orange, Fancy Orange, Fancy Intense Orange, Fancy Vivid Orange, and Fancy Deep Orange.
The colour evaluation of orange diamonds has three main components: hue, saturation and tone.
Hue is the visible colour of a diamond, and the primary hue of orange diamonds is orange.
Most orange diamonds are found with modifying secondary hues which are also included in the grade and greatly affect the value of stones. The most common secondary hues present in orange diamonds are brown, brownish, yellow, yellowish, brownish-yellow, pink, and pinkish.
Secondary hues that enhance the primary hue, or do not detract from it add the value as a rule. For example, orange diamonds with pink and red secondary hues command higher prices than the diamonds with brown or yellow hues.
Pure orange diamonds with no secondary hues are an extremely rare find. These stones are usually referred to as pumpkin diamonds in the industry as a reference to the colour of the famous Pumpkin Diamond, one of the largest and purest orange diamonds ever found.
This characteristic refers to the intensity of the colour.
As a general rule, the more saturated the colour of a diamond, the more valuable it is. That is why the diamonds that have pale or faint orange colour are less desirable than those with deep and vivid orange colour.
This characteristic refers to how light or dark the colour is.
The choice of the tone depends on your personal preference; however, the stones that are somewhere in the middle are the most sought-after.
Evaluating the Clarity of Orange Diamonds
The clarity of orange diamonds is graded the same way as that of colourless stones. The fewer inclusions, the higher the clarity grade.
Of course, high clarity orange diamonds are more valuable, but this characteristic is not crucial for fancy colour diamonds. The orange colour tends to hide imperfections, so the appearance of orange diamonds is less affected by flaws compared to colourless diamonds.
When choosing the clarity of orange diamonds, look for a stone that is eye clean, meaning the diamond should not have inclusions visible to the naked eye. Orange diamonds in the SI1-SI2 clarity range may look stunning and do not differ significantly from diamonds in VS or even VVS range.
Evaluating the Cut of Orange Diamonds
The cut quality of orange diamonds, and all fancy colour diamonds in general, is not graded the same way as it is for colourless stones. Unlike colourless diamonds, fancy diamonds are not cut to maximize fire, brilliance and scintillation.
Orange diamonds are usually cut into fancy shapes to achieve the best colour possible. In other words, the proportions that are considered ideal for colourless diamonds will not always be the best to bring out the colour of orange diamonds.
Keep in mind that an excellent cut orange diamond costs a premium, so when choosing one, it is better to focus on the stone’s hue, saturation and tone and do not judge the diamond using traditional cut grades.
Orange Diamond Rarity And Prices
Their value increases with each increasing level of intensity, meaning the stronger the colour, the more expensive the diamond. Similar to other natural fancy colour diamonds, pure orange diamonds are the most desired and valuable gems; however, they are also among the rarest.
The presence of a modifying secondary hue has a great impact on the diamond’s price, and the majority of orange diamonds are found with some form of a colour combination.
Apart from the colour, value is also affected by the size of the stone. Even a slight difference in carat weights between two similar stones would mean a drastic price change.
Cover image credit: Christie’s