Color is one of the most important elements of any diamond (along with cut, clarity, and carat, natch) but beyond weighing the pros and cons of colorless or near colorless natural or lab-grown diamonds, there's a slew of glittering stones in saturated shades that may catch your eye. Before we dive into this topic we want to be clear: when we speak about color we’re referring to the absence of color in white stones. And while the 4C’s are a great marker for white diamonds, they don’t apply to colored diamonds in the same way but there’s more on that below.
Did you know that the world’s most valuable and famous piece of jewelry is, in fact, a colored diamond? Clocking in at a whopping 45.52 carats, the Hope Diamond is a fancy deep greyish blue hue and one of the rarest colored diamonds. And the most expensive gem ever auctioned, a 59.60 carat stone known as the Pink Star diamond, garnered a cool £69.00 million USD at Sotheby's Hong Kong.
In this guide to different colored lab-grown and natural diamonds, you’ll learn that you don’t have to be a billionaire to be able to afford, wear, and enjoy coveted colored diamonds. In fact, here at Lightbox, we firmly believe that our approachably priced lab-grown diamonds make sparkle a daily accessory. And if 2020 taught us anything it’s that diamonds are for everyday, and look great with sweatpants. At Lightbox, we transparently price our lab-grown diamonds at 800USD a carat, or 1500 USD a carat for our Lightbox Finest™ stones -- including our vibrant pink and blue lab-grown diamonds. It’s officially time to open your jewelry box to the wonderful world of colored diamonds.
What are colored diamonds?
Simply put, colored diamonds are a natural or lab-grown diamond with a hued body color rather than classic white diamonds.
How many colors of diamonds are there?
Colored diamonds come in almost every shade of the rainbow. From pink to yellow and blue to black, you can find the color that speaks to your personal style in a sparkling diamond.
At Lightbox, our lab-grown colored diamonds are available in beautifully saturated shades of pink and blue.
Colors in the standard grading scale are based around white, and could have hints of yellow, brown, or grey—some of which are eye visible and some aren’t. Anything with more than a hint of those colors falls into a category known as fancy.
But wait...a fancy diamond? Tell me more.
Fancy colored diamonds
Simply put, a fancy colored diamond is any diamond that isn’t white.
Because the saturation of the colored stone greatly impacts the price, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has unique terms for colored diamond grading, and they use nine descriptors: faint, very light, light, fancy light, fancy, fancy dark, fancy intense, fancy deep, and fancy vivid. Yes, diamond nerds like to be highly specific.
Shades of brown and yellow are the most common fancy colors in nature. Red, green, purple, and orange are the rarest.
While we do not grade our colored diamonds on the GIA scale, you still might find it helpful to know that all Lightbox colored lab-grown diamonds fall between fancy to fancy intense in their color.
Lightbox colored diamonds
According to GIA, only 1 in 10,000 natural diamonds has a fancy color. This rarity drives the price up and up, which is why many people have turned to lab-grown diamonds that consistently produce gorgeous colors in a marketable quantity without the sticker shock. We love the idea of bringing the sparkle of a diamond to more people for any occasion.
Lightbox colored lab-grown diamonds come in a variety of shapes, like a classic round brilliant, cushion, and princess, and they’re available in icy blue and blush pink. Each Lightbox stone is beautifully saturated and tonally aligned, allowing for jewelry stacking and curating a collection of your favorite colored stones.
To learn more about Lightbox blue lab-grown diamonds, check out our full guide. Oh, and there’s a pink lab-grown diamond guide, too.
How Does Lightbox Make Colored Diamonds?
Lightbox colored lab-grown diamonds are grown in the same facility and with the same precise process as our white lab-grown diamonds. We achieve the saturated blue and pink shades by making intricate changes to the gas mixture that is pumped into the CVD reactor (that’s the machine that grows the diamonds from seed). In nature, diamonds take millions of years to form but our scientists can grow a one carat diamond in about two weeks. Once the growing process is complete, a post-growth enhancement is applied to the colored stones and then it is sent for cutting, polishing, and finally hand-set into earrings, rings and necklaces. After our quality control inspectors review each piece, checking to make sure the prongs are secure and the metal is polished to a shine, the jewelry is ready to be sold, styled by you, and worn with everything.
Are colored diamonds real?
Yes, colored diamonds are real in both their natural and lab-grown state. Just like with white diamonds, lab-grown diamonds share the same chemical makeup as natural diamonds, and they are optically identical. The biggest differences between natural and lab-created diamonds are how they’re made and their rarity. When it comes to colored stones, it is that rare quality that drives the price higher.
Colored Gemstones vs. Colored Lab-Grown Diamonds
Colored gemstones are great for costume jewelry and are commonly found in trendy multi-colored diamond rings and earrings. Adding brightly-hued accessories is a great way to express your mood or personal style. However, there is a difference between colored gemstones and colored lab-grown and natural diamonds. Colored diamonds made in a lab, like the ones at Lightbox, retain the quality of a diamond—like the eye-catching scintillation, fire, and sparkle—that is unmatched by a gemstone. This is the major point of difference between colored diamonds and colored gemstones.
If you’re interested in learning more about how simulated diamonds compare to natural and lab-grown diamonds, check out this guide.
Are colored diamonds more expensive?
When it comes to diamonds, rarity impacts the price.
Natural and lab-grown diamonds in the D-to-Z range decrease in value as the color goes up, with the most coveted and expensive stones in the colorless range. The opposite is true of fancy colored diamonds, where a rich, pure hue means a higher price tag. A good example of this IRL is a canary diamond. A vibrant yellow will be significantly more costly than a muted stone.
When you’re considering a natural colored diamond for your next piece of jewelry, the rarest and most valuable colors are saturated pinks, blues, and greens. In all cases, even very slight color differences can have a big impact on value.
Lab-grown diamonds have the benefit of consistency with coloring and the added perk of being less rare than natural diamonds. This helps our 800 USD pricing per carat model operate successfully, allowing colored lab-grown diamonds to be a part of your styles story very soon.