As difficult and complex as it can be to buy and sell colorless diamonds for fair prices, handling fancy colored diamonds can be even more troublesome. Why? Because assigning a value to fancy colored diamonds is more complicated, and it’s something every consumer needs professional assistance with.

But don’t despair. If you have a colored diamond you’re interested in selling or if you’re looking to purchase a fine colored diamond, we can suggest some measures that will make your decisions easier.

And we know this topic matters to our clients. Just a few weeks ago, MJ Gabel had a client bring in a diamond they referred to as a “Fancy Light Yellow” diamond. We had our GIA graduate gemologists examine the stone, and it turns out that it wasn’t actually a Fancy Light Yellow stone at all. It was a very low color grade (Q-R) ordinary diamond. What’s the difference in a Q-R grade diamond and a Fancy Light Yellow stone? A lot of money. What could our client have done differently? A number of things!

GIA Certification

First and foremost, we recommend GIA certification for any valuable diamond, but especially for fancy colored stones, precisely because they’re so hard to evaluate, even for professionals. If you want to know for sure you’re not overpaying for a stone, that GIA certification is critical.

If you’re in the market to buy or sell gemstones, you may have heard of other labs that certify stones, but here’s the catch: they’re not all the same. You’ll see certifications (not to be confused with appraisals) from other labs, but we always, always recommend using GIA. They’re the most widely used and trusted. Since other labs use different standards and scales, it makes comparing stones evaluated by different labs even more difficult.

A GIA certification is the gold standard for gemstones. If your fancy colored diamond isn’t GIA certified, you run the risk of its value being unfairly assessed, whether you’re buying or selling.

Assessing the Value of Fancy Colored Diamonds

In general, the very same quality markers used to value colorless diamonds apply to fancy colored stones as well: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat weight. But for fancy colored diamonds, the factors are weighted a bit differently. Color – particularly intensity of color – is the most important factor in assessing a stone. In general, the more vivid the color, the more valuable the fancy diamond.

In addition to intensity of color, the presence of secondary colors also affects the value of stones. Scarcity of supply of particular colors plays a role, but what also matters is consumer demand for colors. For example, when it comes to pink diamonds, stones with brownish secondary colors are less valuable than stones with violet or orangey hues. How colored stones are appraised takes into account both the inherent quality of a stone, coupled with the desirability of a given color.

While clarity and carat weight are pretty straightforward when it comes to assessing value, both for colored and colorless diamonds, cut is a little different for fancy colored diamonds. While the primary function of a colorless stone’s cut is to maximize brilliance, the primary function of a fancy colored diamond is to intensify color.

Work with a Company You Trust

Whether it’s a lab with a sketchy reputation or it’s an attempt to pass off treated stones as natural ones, there are a host of pitfalls that await both buyers and sellers of diamonds. In addition to requiring your stones to be GIA certified, the single most important step you can take to ensure you get fair prices for your fine jewelry is to work with a reputable company with consistent reviews.

Make sure you look for a company like MJ Gabel: One that employs GIA graduates, has stellar reviews, and is completely transparent in every facet of our business. Purchasing or selling fancy colored diamonds can be simple if you’re working with honest people you can trust.

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