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Orange is not a common color in the jewelry world, so an orange diamond is immediately eye-catching and intriguing. This rare variety of diamonds, famously termed Fire Diamonds, are highly valued and sought-after by diamond enthusiasts and jewelry lovers alike. Here we break down the factors that affect the quality and price of an orange diamond and how to shop for one without getting ripped off.
The Source of the Orange Color
Diamonds get their color from the inclusion of trace elements present during the stone’s formation. In the case of orange diamonds, it is the presence of nitrogen that produces the color, as it is with yellow diamonds. The nitrogen atoms need to be arranged in a specific way, called hyper-specific, in order to absorb blue and yellow light. This results in the orange hue.
Orange diamonds with modifying colors are relatively common but vivid orange diamonds are an extremely rare and valuable find. Most orange diamonds come from the Argyle Mine in Australia as well as from South Africa and are considered to be among the rarest kinds of colored diamonds.
Color and Value of an Orange Diamond
When evaluating the quality of a colored diamond, color and intensity are the most important factors.
Most orange diamonds are found with secondary hues which impacts the value of the stone. A pure orange diamond with no secondary colors is an extremely rare find. These are sometimes known as Pumpkins in the diamond industry, as a reference to the color of the stone and also to the famous Pumpkin Diamond (one of the largest and purest orange diamonds ever found). This .92 carat Fancy Orange Diamond is highly valuable as it contains no secondary colors.
If an orange diamond has secondary colors of yellow or brown, the overall value of the stone decreases noticeably. This 1.34 Brown Orange diamond is an example of a diamond that is classified as orange but is quite affordable due to its brown tints.
On the other hand, if the orange diamond contains secondary tints of other valuable diamond colors, such as red or pink, the price increases dramatically. This 2.80 carat Pinkish Orange diamond is the perfect example of a highly valuable and exclusive orange diamond.
While color is important, the saturation and tone of the diamond also impacts its quality and value.
Saturation and tone refers to how intense the color of the diamond is. The GIA colored diamond grading scale is used to evaluate the intensity of a colored diamond. These range as follows:
Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Dark, Fancy Deep
When describing an orange diamond, a combination of the level of intensity and the color/s of the stone is used to describe it. For example, a diamond may be described as Fancy Brown Orange, indicating its level of intensity (Fancy) overtone (Brown) and hue (Orange). Some diamonds may be described with several modifiers, for example, Fancy Deep Brownish Yellowish Orange.
The value of orange diamonds increases with each increasing level of intensity. The higher the intensity level (i.e. the stronger the color), the more expensive the diamond. The rarest orange diamonds are the Fancy Dark and Fancy Deep, making them the most desirable and the priciest.
Apart from this, value is affected by size. The price of the orange diamond increases exponentially with the size of the stone. A slight difference in carat sizes between two similar stones would mean a huge difference in price. Likewise, a single 1 carat orange diamond will be much higher in price than two .50 carat orange diamonds.
Evaluating the Clarity of an Orange Diamond
For colored diamonds, clarity is not as critical a quality factor as it is for colorless. The focus is on the color and the industry tends to be very forgiving of inclusions and flaws in colored diamonds that would not be tolerated in colorless diamonds. Another factor is that due to their color, orange diamonds tend to hide their flaws better. What you have to look out for is that the diamond is eye-clean and that there are no large and unsightly flaws.
Design and Settings for Orange Diamond Rings
Most colored diamonds are cut into fancy shapes to enhance the color of the stone. Likewise, when mounted in beautiful settings, the color of an orange diamond can be maximized. Among the most popular settings for orange diamonds are halo, pave, shank and split shank. However, if you prefer a less showy ring, orange diamonds look beautiful even with simple solitaire settings.
Silver-hued metals, such as platinum and white gold, tend to make the diamond stand out prominently for a sleek and contemporary look. The contrast of the orange against the silver is striking.
If the orange diamond is very small, however, the white setting can emphasize this fact. In such cases, surrounding the orange diamond with a halo of white diamonds can make it appear larger and adds more sparkle to it.
Pairing yellow gold with an orange diamond creates a unique effect. The diamond and metal blend together easily, with the transition from metal to diamond occurring smoothly.
Orange pairs well with most other colors. Combining an orange diamond with other colored stones creates a beautiful and unique effect for a stunning statement ring.
Treated Orange Diamonds
A more affordable alternative to natural orange diamonds is to purchase a treated orange diamond. These diamonds are created by subjecting a colorless diamond to heat and pressure treatments that cause it to change color. However, in most cases, this only affects the outer layer of the diamond, while the inside of the diamond remains white. Treated orange diamonds come in various sizes and colors. The stone will still be valuable as it is a real diamond, but the color isn’t natural. It is important that the vendor discloses to you any treatments that the diamond has been subject to, to avoid paying a high price for a low-quality stone.
Synthetic Orange Diamonds
Another more affordable option is to purchase a synthetic diamond. These are real diamonds, created in labs through artificial processes, as opposed to natural diamonds formed through geological processes. Lab-created orange diamonds also receive their color from nitrogen. They also have excellent clarity, as the manufacturers have a high amount of control over the entire process. Lab-grown orange diamonds are significantly more affordable than their natural counterparts.
Best Place to Buy an Orange Diamond
If you are purchasing an orange diamond online, always choose a highly reputable and licensed jeweler that provides high-quality images and/or videos of the actual diamond. This allows you to observe the diamond carefully and evaluate it prior to purchase. Don’t buy blind by going along with just the grading report. The paper version of the stone can be very different to its actual appearance.
For fancy colored diamonds, Leibish.com provides some of the best diamonds with exceptional service. While the prices vary depending on the stone or the jewelry, the high quality is undeniable across all their collections. Leibish also have a large inventory of colored diamonds giving you more options in your search. Browse their collection of orange diamonds here.
James Allen also provides a good range of orange diamonds at reasonable prices. They also offer high-quality video and images, as well as a copy of the GIA report. You can check their range of orange diamonds here.