Fancy Pink Diamond Guide: The Lowdown on Blush-Colored Ice

Last Updated on September 27, 2023 by Juli "Jewels" Church

Did you know that less than 0.1% of all diamonds are classified as "fancy color"? Even rarer among these are the captivating fancy pink diamonds, gems that evoke a sense of mystique, luxury, and unparalleled beauty.

Welcome to this deep dive into the enigmatic world of pink diamonds. 

fancy pink diamonds

As someone who has spent years researching, grading, and marveling at these rare gemstones, I'm excited to guide you through their multifaceted allure and complex valuation metrics.

In the paragraphs to come, we'll travel from the heart of the Earth where these gems are born to the spotlight of dazzling auction rooms where they often break records. We'll dissect the perplexing nuances of their color grading, explore their dynamic application in various jewelry settings, and delve into the ethical considerations you should be aware of.

The Genesis of Color in Pink Diamonds

Mineral Composition

The origin story of colored diamonds is an intricate tapestry of geological circumstances and elemental alchemy. Traditional colorless diamonds are composed predominantly of carbon atoms organized in a crystalline lattice.

The story diverges for a fancy colored diamond; it owes its vibrant hues to minute traces of additional elements or structural anomalies. Natural pink diamonds, interestingly enough, don't derive their color from trace elements. Instead, their distinctive hue is thought to result from distortions in the crystal lattice caused by intense pressure during their formation.

Geographical Locations

Natural pink diamonds are Mother Earth's limited editions, with the majority originating from specific corners of the world. The Argyle Mine in Western Australia has been the most significant source, although it ceased operations in 2020, escalating the rarity and value of these gems. Other sources include Brazil and Russia, but these contribute a minuscule fraction compared to Argyle’s historical output.

Rarity Quotient

To truly grasp the scarcity of natural pink diamonds, consider this: for every million carats of rough diamonds mined at Argyle, a mere one carat was of gem-quality pink diamond. This staggering rarity adds layers of complexity and allure to these already mesmerizing stones. Their limited occurrence isn't just a sales gimmick; it's a geological fact that amplifies their desirability and value.

Grading Pink Diamonds: From Pastel to Intense

The 4Cs Reimagined

When it comes to evaluating most diamonds, professionals usually look at the four Cs: Carat, Cut, Clarity, and Color. However, for colored diamonds like the elusive pink, these conventional parameters fall short. While Carat and Cut still hold significance, it's the Color that takes center stage in valuation. Grading a fancy colored diamond involves an elaborate lexicon that includes hue, tone, and saturation.

Perplexing Factors

The grading of pink diamonds is far from straightforward and involves multiple complex factors. Color grading is based on the stone's primary and secondary hues, the strength of these colors, and the distribution of color throughout the diamond.

For example, a pink diamond with a secondary hue of brown may not be as valuable as a pure pink one. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades fancy colored diamonds on a spectrum that extends from Faint to Fancy Deep or Fancy Vivid, adding more layers of perplexity to an already complex assessment process.

Vividness & Saturation

Vividness and saturation also play pivotal roles in determining the allure and worth of a pink diamond. Saturation refers to the strength of the hue, while vividness speaks to the diamond's color intensity. The more vivid and saturated the hue, the higher the diamond's market value will likely be.

These particular aspects contribute to the diamond's aesthetic impact; one glance could reveal layers of visual complexity, from subtle gradations of hue to intense bursts of color.

GIA's Color Grading Scale for Fancy Diamonds

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), one of the most respected names in the gemological world, employs a specific grading system for fancy colored diamonds, including pinks.

Their grading begins with the term "Fancy," followed by descriptors that range from "Faint Pink" to "Light Pink," "Fancy Light Pink," "Fancy Pink," "Fancy Intense Pink," "Fancy Dark Pink," "Fancy Deep Pink," and finally, "Fancy Vivid Pink." Each of these terms reflects the diamond's color strength, with "Fancy Vivid" being the most desirable and thus the most valuable.

Hue

This refers to the diamond's basic color. Pink diamonds have secondary hues used as descriptors like when we say "purplish," "brownish," or "orangey." So, you might encounter descriptions like "Fancy purplish-pink" or "Fancy orangy-pink," which speak to the dominant and modifying hues present in the diamond.

GIA Colored Diamonds Color Reference Chart

via GIA

Tone 

This measures the relative lightness or darkness of the color. Tones can range from "light" to "medium" to "dark," often used in combination with the hue description.

Saturation

This refers to the color's strength or intensity. Lower saturation levels result in softer, pastel-like colors, while high saturation results in vivid, intense colors.

Other Grading Agencies

Other organizations like the International Gemological Institute (IGI) and the Argyle Mine itself have their grading systems, often more specific to the stones they handle. For example, the Argyle Mine used a unique grading system that combines color, tone, and saturation into a single code, although this is less commonly used since the mine's closure.

Grading Pink Diamonds

via Argyle Pink Diamonds

Rarity and Desirability

The grading scales aren't just academic exercises; they correlate strongly with market demand and pricing. Typically, diamonds that exhibit a pure, intense pink hue without secondary color characteristics are the most coveted. The more vivid and pure the pink, the rarer and more valuable the diamond becomes. And when a pink diamond is so pure and intense, then you have there a red diamond—the rarest color diamond of all.

Understanding the intricacies of these grading scales allows for a more nuanced appreciation of pink diamonds. It's not merely about a beautiful gem; it's about the depth of its beauty, the rarity of its hue, and the intensity of its color.

How Much Do Fancy Pink Diamonds Cost?

Discussing the financial dimensions of pink diamonds is like peeling an onion—each layer reveals a new facet of complexity. Prices can span a broad spectrum, from a few thousand dollars per carat for faint or lightly colored pinks to well over a million dollars per carat for vivid, large, and high-quality stones. What's critical to understand is that a slight nuance in color grade can result in a drastic shift in price.

For instance, consider the two natural pink diamonds below from Leibish:

1.02 carat, Fancy Pink Diamond, Cushion Shape, SI2 Clarity

Diamond A 

1.07 carat, Fancy Brown Pink Diamond, Cushion Shape, VS1 Clarity

Diamond B 

  • Diamond A: Weighs 1.02 carats, graded as "Fancy Pink," cushion-shaped, with SI2 clarity. This diamond is priced at a remarkable US$ 86,800.
  • Diamond B: Weighs 1.07 carats, graded as "Fancy Brown Pink," also cushion-shaped, but with a higher clarity of VS1. Despite its superior clarity, it comes in at a significantly lower price of US$ 25,775.

So, what accounts for the staggering difference in price?

Unpacking the Pricing Paradox

The most glaring factor here is the primary hue. Diamond A boasts a "Fancy Pink" designation, signifying a relatively pure and vibrant pink hue. On the other hand, Diamond B's "Fancy Brown Pink" label indicates a secondary brown hue, which considerably lowers its market value despite its higher clarity. Here, the effect of color on price manifests with compelling clarity; Diamond A costs more than three times as much as Diamond B, largely due to its purer pink hue.

Bursting Financial Myths

Let's shatter some popular myths. Many people labor under the illusion that pink diamonds are untouchable luxuries reserved for the ultra-rich. While it's true that the upper echelons of these diamonds can demand staggering sums, there's a wide variety that caters to different budgets. Stones with secondary hues or lower color intensities often come at more accessible prices, offering an entry point for a broader range of enthusiasts and investors.

Determining Factors

A tapestry of variables impacts the cost of a pink diamond, making each stone a unique financial equation. Here are some pivotal factors:

  • Color: As we've established, color intensity and purity significantly influence the cost.
  • Clarity: While not as crucial as color, the clarity grade still plays a role in valuation.
  • Carat Weight: Generally, the larger the diamond, the higher the price per carat. However, this factor can be outweighed by color intensity.
  • Cut: A well-cut diamond maximizes brilliance and color, thus raising its market value.
  • Provenance: Stones from renowned mines like Argyle often command a premium due to their verified quality and historical significance.
  • Certification: A credible certificate can reassure potential buyers, adding a degree of trust and thereby potentially increasing the diamond’s market value.

Investment Value

Beyond the immediate cost, it's vital to consider the long-term investment potential. With the closure of significant mines like Argyle, the scarcity of these gems is expected to increase, which could further elevate their market value. Therefore, understanding the grading intricacies and market dynamics can serve not just immediate aesthetic goals but also long-term financial aspirations.

Ideal Pink Diamond Engagement Ring Settings

Traditional vs. Modern Engagement Rings

The world of ring settings for pink diamonds teeters on a fulcrum between tradition and modernity. On one end, we have timeless designs like the Solitaire and the Pave settings, which offer an unobtrusive stage to let the diamond shine. These are perfect for those who adore classic elegance and wish for an engagement ring that will stand the test of time.

pave ring setting

On the other end, we find avant-garde designs, such as tension or flush settings, which envelop the diamond in a futuristic aesthetic. These modern settings, often characterized by either stark minimalism or graphic patterns and angular lines, draw attention not just to the diamond but to the artistic craftsmanship of the ring itself.

emerald-cut 0-83ct natural Argyle pink diamond

Expert Suggestions: Navigating the Labyrinth of Choices

When it comes to selecting the ideal setting for pink diamond engagement rings, the plethora of choices can feel bewildering. Here are some expert suggestions to guide you through this labyrinth of aesthetic decisions:

Vintage Glamour

For those smitten by the charm of bygone eras, vintage settings can be an irresistible choice. Whether it's the Art Deco intricacies or Victorian flourishes, these settings add an additional layer of complexity to your pink diamond. Paired with a diamond of subdued color, these settings can make the stone appear even more vivid.

very light pink diamond 0-53 carat rose gold setting


Expert Suggestions: Tailored to Your Unique Aesthetic

For those seeking to find the perfect stage to set their pink diamond, the choices available can seem both exhilarating and daunting. Featured below are settings that span the spectrum of design complexity, each exemplifying how to showcase a pink diamond's burstiness and perplexing beauty in its own unique way. Pictures accompanying each setting type will offer a visual feast, aiding in your decision-making process.

Bezel Setting

bezel set pink diamond engagement ring in rose gold

The Bezel setting encapsulates the pink diamond in a metal rim, emphasizing the stone's shape and providing additional protection. It offers an understated, modern aesthetic that allows the natural complexity of the pink diamond to be the star of the show.

Twin Diamond Double Halo Setting

Twin Pink Pear Diamond Halo Ring

In this captivating setting, the inner halo is crafted with petite pink diamonds, while the outer halo features colorless or clear diamonds. The shank showcases an open pave setting style that crosses over, offering layers of complexity and sparkle that can truly make your pink diamond sing.

Tension Setting

tension pink diamond ring

This handmade pink diamond platinum engagement ring with a tension setting provides a contemporary and edgy platform for your pink diamond engagement ring. The band tapers and flares towards the center stone, and the emery-finish band features channel-set white diamonds. The setting creates a dynamic visual tension that accentuates the diamond's inherent perplexity.

Designer Dress Ring Setting

designer dress ring

This unique setting features a colorless pave body that extends around the stone with spiraling daylights, adding an almost ethereal effect. It's a setting that screams luxury and artistic flair, creating a stage where the pink diamond is not just featured but celebrated.

Nature Inspired Setting

Nature inspired engagment ring with a pink diamond

Inspired by the organic beauty of nature, this mixed-metal setting features a halo of diamond accents surrounding your central pink diamond. Along the band, additional diamonds glimmer while ruby-encrusted leaf details add romance that a whimsical bride-to-be would adore.

Other Jewelry Settings — Beyond Engagement Rings

While engagement rings are the quintessential stage for showcasing pink diamonds, their perplexing beauty and burstiness can be captured and accentuated in other forms of jewelry as well. Whether you're intrigued by the elegant drape of a necklace or the subtle allure of earrings, there's a world of settings to explore. Each piece of jewelry presents a new tableau, a fresh opportunity to create a mesmerizing spectacle that does justice to a pink diamond's ineffable qualities.

Pendants and Necklaces

Pink Pear Diamond Necklace by Maria Tash

via Maria Tash

These pieces allow the pink diamond to dangle gracefully from a chain, elevating its innate beauty. Consider a bezel setting for a modern look or perhaps a vintage-inspired setting with intricate metalwork to provide a contrasting backdrop to your fancy pink diamond. You might also opt for a halo setting with a mix of colored gemstones, creating a perplexing interplay of hues that draws the eye and captures the imagination.

Earrings

pink diamond earrings

via Maria Tash

Whether it's a pair of elegant studs or intricate drop earrings, the setting you choose can significantly impact how your pink diamond is showcased. A prong setting allows for maximum exposure, letting the diamond catch light from various angles. Alternatively, a halo setting, perhaps with a twist of colored gemstones, can create a scintillating effect, offering both complexity and sparkle.

Bracelets

pink diamond bracelet

via Dalby Diamonds

A pink diamond can become the focal point of a luxurious bracelet, whether it's set in a classic tennis bracelet design or in a more avant-garde piece. The band's material and design, from white gold to platinum with channel-set smaller diamonds, can offer different levels of complexity and elegance, making the bracelet not just a piece of jewelry but a true work of art.

Famous Pink Diamonds & Auction Extravaganzas

Step into the dazzling world of renowned pink diamonds, where each gem not only captivates with its perplexing beauty but also carries tales steeped in history, intrigue, and yes—decidedly large sums of money. Whether owned by royalty or celebrities, or featured in world-class auctions, these diamonds have cemented their status as legendary stones in the annals of gemology.

Let me share with you some of the really epic ones.

The Pink Star Diamond

Pink Star Diamond - via Sotheby's

Clocking in at an astonishing 59.60 carats, the Pink Star Diamond set a world record when it was auctioned for $71.2 million in 2017. It wasn't just its size that stunned; its rich, vibrant color and internally flawless clarity made it a paragon of pink diamonds.

The Graff Pink

Graff Pink Diamond

The Graff Pink Diamond Image] Weighing 24.78 carats, the Graff Pink is another specimen that has captured imaginations worldwide. Laurence Graff purchased this mesmerizing stone for a hefty $46 million, declaring it "the most fabulous diamond" he'd ever seen. Its emerald cut and rounded corners offer intriguing visual variations, contributing to its enduring allure.

The Darya-ye Noor

darya e noor

This pink diamond is not only famous for its size (an estimated 182 carats) but also for its historical significance. It's one of the oldest diamonds known to mankind, currently housed in the Treasury of National Jewels in Iran. Its name translates to "Sea of Light," a fitting name for a diamond that has captivated countless generations.

Auction Extravaganzas

When these diamonds come up for auction, it's not just a sale; it's an event. Lavish catalog descriptions, bidding wars, and the burst of excitement when the hammer finally falls—these auction extravaganzas have become a spectacle in themselves, adding another layer to the complex narrative that surrounds each famous pink diamond.

Ethical Considerations

As we delve into the world of pink diamonds, bedazzled by their perplexing hues and intricate histories, it's imperative to pause and consider the ethical dimensions that come into play. Your choice of a pink diamond is more than an aesthetic or financial decision; it's an ethical one that impacts communities, environments, and global commerce.

The Journey From Mine to Market

The journey a pink diamond takes from its terrestrial origin to the gleaming display case can be fraught with ethical dilemmas. It's essential to inquire about a diamond's provenance—its trail from mine to market. Look for mines committed to sustainable practices and fair labor conditions, such as those adhering to the Kimberley Process or other internationally recognized standards.

The Impact on Indigenous Communities

The locations where many pink diamonds are found are often sacred or culturally significant to indigenous communities. Ensure that the diamond you're considering hasn't been sourced in a manner that infringes upon the rights of these communities. Ethical sourcing should include not just environmental stewardship but also social justice.

Lab-Grown Alternatives

If the ethical implications of natural diamonds weigh heavily on your conscience, lab-grown pink diamonds offer an alternative that is nearly indistinguishable from their natural counterparts. Though they might lack the long geological history, they offer a guilt-free and often less expensive option without sacrificing beauty or complexity.

Certification and Transparency

Regardless of whether you opt for a natural or lab-grown diamond, certification from recognized gemological organizations can provide assurance of ethical sourcing. Look for certifications that spell out not just the 4Cs—cut, color, clarity, and carat—but also include information about a diamond's origin and the ethical practices followed in its extraction and sale.

FAQs on Natural Pink Diamonds

Why are pink diamonds pink?

While most diamonds owe their color to the presence of trace elements like nitrogen or boron, pink diamonds are unique. The pink color is generally thought to result from the diamond's crystal lattice structure undergoing distortions during its formation.

How are fancy pink diamonds graded?

Pink diamonds are graded based on the GIA color scale, which also includes descriptors like "Fancy Light," "Fancy Intense," and "Fancy Vivid" to differentiate between shades of pink. Clarity, cut, and carat weight are other essential factors that contribute to a diamond's overall quality and price.

Why are pink diamonds so expensive?

The rarity of pink diamonds contributes to their high price. Additionally, variations in color intensity, clarity, and size can cause significant price fluctuations. For example, a 1.02-carat Fancy Pink Diamond can cost US$ 86,800, while a 1.07-carat Fancy Brown Pink Diamond of similar size but different color and clarity may cost only US$ 25,775.

How do I care for my pink diamond jewelry?

While diamonds are among the hardest substances on Earth, they can still be damaged by harsh chemicals and physical impacts. Cleaning with mild soap and water and using a soft-bristled brush are good practices. Always store your fancy pink diamond jewelry separately to avoid scratches.

How do I know that my natural pink diamond is real?

Verifying the authenticity of a natural pink diamond involves a combination of certification and expert examination. Always ask for a certificate from a reputable gemological laboratory, which should detail the diamond's 4Cs — cut, color, clarity, and carat—as well as other identifying characteristics. For additional peace of mind, consider having the diamond independently appraised by a certified gemologist who can confirm its authenticity.

A Concluding Gem: Your Journey with Pink Diamonds Awaits

As we wrap up this labyrinthine exploration—replete with its complexity and burstiness—of the world of pink diamonds, I find myself reflecting on what these marvelous stones truly represent. Beyond the 4Cs, beyond the auction houses and dazzling light displays, pink diamonds are, at their core, a deeply human fascination.

Each pink diamond is a kaleidoscope of stories, not just geological or historical, but also deeply personal. The moment you decide to invest in a pink diamond, you become a part of that narrative. Whether it's a symbol of love, a generational keepsake, or an investment for the future, your reasons for choosing this gemstone add a unique hue to the rich tapestry of stories that these diamonds tell.

As someone who has spent years entranced by these beautiful anomalies, I can say that the joy and sense of discovery never wane. So go ahead, step into this world of enigmatic beauty.


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