According their colour, diamonds fall into one of the two groups:
- White to Cape colours + equivalent colours
- ‘Fancy colours’
I remember a story told to me by my grandfather where a friend of his, also a diamond dealer went to Africa in the 60s to purchase rough diamonds. As he came back, he was extremely satisfied with his purchases and predicted a large profit to be made by reselling the goods he had just bought. Once reached Antwerp he entered our office and proposed him the goods firsthand. Once the goods were on the table the diamond dealer could not believe his eyes. The diamonds were all of much lower colour than he initially remembered, this was because the light in Africa is much brighter and a lower coloured diamond can look whiter than it actually is.
Fancy colours are differentiated in two different categories, straight and mixed colours. Straight colours are diamonds which after careful analysis contain only one single body colour, for example Fancy Intense Pink. Mixed colours usually contain one or more modifying colours, for example Fancy yellowish green.
The first part of colour analysis is to look for the dominant colour of the stone, once that has been determined the diamond grader will observe the diamond to search for modifying colours in the stone and if found determine the intensity of these colours. It can happen that the saturation of modifying colours are the same as the body colour or that each of the colours have a different saturation. The way coloured diamonds are named is by putting the least saturated colour first and dominant one as last.
- Fancy intense purplish pink and a fancy intense purple-pink.
In the first stone pink is the dominant colour and purple is a modifying colour, in the second stone both pink and purple have the same saturation in the diamond.
- Fancy brownish yellowish green and brownish yellow-green, in the first stone Green is the dominant colour, yellow is a slight modifier and brown is of even lower saturation, in the second stone you have an equal saturation of yellow and green and brown is the modifier.
Fancy colours can have different saturation of colours, they can vary from faint to deep. Not all colours can have all saturations .