While pink, yellow, and blue diamonds are well-known, have you ever heard of the beauty of fancy white diamonds?
You're about to discover this least-known, but equally mesmerizing, member of the fancy diamond family in our comprehensive Learning Guide. We'll explore the world of fancy white diamonds and get you answers to questions such as:
- Are white diamonds the same as colorless diamonds?
- Why are fancy white diamonds white?
- Are there lab grown fancy white diamonds?
Fancy White Diamonds vs Colorless Diamonds
Most people aren't aware that fancy white diamonds exist. This is partially due to the rarity of them, but also a phrasing issue. The term "white diamonds" are used interchangeably with colorless diamonds.
Also, when it comes to fancy colored diamonds, people steer themselves towards other colors like pink, blue, or yellow. Some may even go for the more unique colors like purple, red or orange diamonds.
Fancy white diamonds are not the same as the white diamonds you read in various articles. In fact, you won't hear much about fancy white diamonds at all, not even from the GIA.
The truth is, there's not much documentation on fancy white diamonds. What few resources I could scrounge up really only tell us how they form, or records of fancy white diamonds being submitted to the GIA.
How Rare is a Fancy White Diamond?
Fancy white diamonds are extremely rare, but not just because the quantity available is so few. Various kinds of diamonds (colorless diamonds, fancy color diamonds, lab grown diamonds) fit into different diamond types.
The ones you hear about most often are:
- Type 1a
- Type 1b
- Type 2a
- Type 2b
Type 1 diamond types are the most common. Type 1 diamonds contain nitrogen atoms.
In Type 1a, the nitrogen atoms in the crystal structure form in clusters. In Type 1b, the nitrogen atoms are formed singularly.
Type 1 diamond types break down into subset diamond types. Fancy white diamonds are a part of this rare subset. The rarer diamond types are:
- Type 1aa
- Type Iab
- Type N3
Type 1aa diamonds have nitrogen atoms in pairs, also known as A aggregates. Type Iab diamonds have nitrogen atoms known as B aggregates that occur in a group of four. Neither one of these diamond types are capable of absorbing light-so the color is not affected by light.
Type N3 diamonds are diamonds whose nitrogen atomic level defects occur in threes. This causes them to produce diamonds with yellow or brown tones. They do absorb light. Cape diamonds are N3 diamonds.
Read also: Best Place to Buy Yellow Diamonds Online
Fancy white diamonds are part of the Type 1ab diamond type. They aren't capable of absorbing light, nor do they occur because of impurities other natural fancy color diamonds.
Instead, natural fancy white diamonds occur as a result of submicroscopic inclusions in a colorless diamonds. This is similar to how natural black diamonds get their colors as well. Dark mineral inclusions and natural radiation in the earth are the main cause of the color in black diamonds.
In natural white diamonds, the micrometer sized inclusions are so many that they scatter light. When the light scatters, the result are milky white diamonds. Fancy white diamonds only occur as natural diamonds. There isn't a known method able to produce lab grown white diamonds. All other fancy color diamonds have been able to be synthesized.
Read also: How Are Lab Grown Diamonds Made?
Where Do Fancy White Diamonds Come From?
Because of their rarity, fancy white diamonds don't come from any specific area. They are occasionally found where diamond types are formed. Two fancy white diamonds submitted to the Gemological Institute of America came from the Panno mine in India.
How Much Do Fancy White Diamonds Cost?
A fancy white diamond is a rare diamond type, so there's not a standard cost per carat. However, there are few retailers online that have them listed for purchase.
Fancy white diamonds are more affordable as one carat diamonds than other fancy colors. A 1 carat fancy white diamond may run you between $5000-$8000. However, as the carat weight increases, these prices are more around $12,000-$15,000 at 2 carats.
Read also: Your Guide to 2 Carat Diamond Rings
Where to Buy a Fancy White Diamond
There aren't too many places that sell fancy white diamonds. Both the occurrence and the demand for them is low, so the need to mine or invest into inventory isn't there for most jewelers.
However, if you're like our friends at Leibish and Co, you have to have every diamond color available. After all, fancy color diamonds is Leibish and Co.'s specialty. They have many high quality natural fancy color diamonds to purchase, including fancy white diamonds.
Their inventory of fancy natural white diamonds also allows you to view the opalescent appearance them in real time. You can witness the natural phenomenon of fancy white diamonds without ever leaving your home.
All of the fancy color natural diamonds at Leibish & Co. are certified by a gemological laboratory. All of the fancy white diamonds are certified by the GIA and come with an origin report. Some of their white diamonds are more opaque, while others are more translucent. However, every fancy white diamond is instantly recognizable by their milky white hues.
You have the option to to purchase a natural white diamond as a loose diamond, or you can build it into a ring setting. However, the settings at Leibish are very fancy, so if you don't like a lot of sparkle in your jewelry, you might be better off grabbing a setting at one of our other recommended retailers.
Fancy White Diamonds FAQs
What’s the difference between colorless diamonds vs cape diamonds vs white diamonds?
These three kinds of diamonds are often confused with each other. Fortunately, I can clear that up for you.
"Colorless diamonds" refer to diamonds that are rated on the D-K color grade scale. They are often called white diamonds, just as colorless quartz is often called white quartz or clear quartz. Other colorless stones are also referred to as "white" like white sapphire or white zircon.
When you break down the color grades of colorless diamonds, only diamonds with DEF color grades are colorless diamonds. Colorless diamonds with GHIJ color grades are called "near colorless".
Cape Diamonds are the colorless diamonds that have yellow tint in them, but aren't considered fancy colored diamonds. Colorless diamonds with color grades M-Z are considered Cape diamonds. They only come from a place named Cape Town in South Africa.
And as you know, fancy white diamonds are colored diamonds that have a milky white appearance caused by submicroscopic inclusions that scatter light. They may appear extremely clouded, but the vast majority of white diamonds has a uniform white hue throughout.
Can a fancy white diamond fade?
Though fancy white diamonds are rare, they have all the same capabilities as other fancy color diamonds or colorless diamonds. Fancy white diamonds are natural fancy color diamonds. They don't receive heat treatment to achieve to make their opalescent appearance, nor do they fade in sunlight.
Do white diamonds have color grades or clarity grades?
Most diamonds have color and clarity grades, even fancy colored diamonds. Black diamonds don't have clarity grades, but fancy whites do. Granted, the limited transparency makes smaller inclusions less noticeable. But they still may have clarity grades.
Most fancy white diamonds are classified as I1, I2, or I3 clarity diamonds. In colorless diamonds, I clarity graded diamonds are unappealing in larger carats. With fancy colored diamonds, clarity isn't as important.
Still, you shouldn't expect to find different color intensities grading on gemological reports. You may notice that some white diamonds may be more opaque than others. Fancy white diamonds can be a translucent milky white color or more towards the opaque white color. But they are never fully transparent.
Some fancy white diamonds look more of white milky color. You'll notice that ones that lower priced tend be more off-whitish opalescent diamonds. Fancy white diamonds that appear less whitish don't have a high concentration of micro inclusions. There's no way to sort them by grading, so you'll really have eye these unusual stones.
Fancy white diamonds are some of the rarest diamonds in the world. So rare, that we have very little information on them. Often confused with colorless diamonds also being referred to as white diamonds, fancy white diamonds produce a milky opalescent diamonds with a white hue within the diamond crystal structure.
A fancy white diamond is diamond that has become extremely clouded by microscopic inclusions. These inclusions are a natural phenomenon and can't be replicated in a lab. Natural white diamonds are the only fancy color diamonds that can't be synthesized in a lab. Natural fancy white diamonds aren't treated to enhance color either.
Despite the mystery and rarity of these translucent to opaque white stones, they aren't as expensive as other fancy color diamonds. This of course is due to demand. People tend to color for vivid yellow diamonds, blue diamonds, or pink diamonds. Still, having a fancy white diamond is a must-have for any gem collector or customer looking for something unique and special to add to their jewelry collection.