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Whatever tickles your Fancy: Coloured Diamonds


Whatever tickles your Fancy: Coloured Diamonds

Whatever tickles your Fancy: Coloured Diamonds

As with most things, value is attributed to rarity.

When it comes to the colour of a diamond in the ‘colourless’ range, value is based on the absence of colour, because colourless diamonds are the rarest. But very occasionally, one comes across a unique and wonderful accident that will have happened millions of years ago, deep inside the earth. While a diamond crystal forms under tremendous heat and pressure, in some instances, the crystal will have been exposed to a rare element (nitrogen for yellows, boron for blues), natural radiation (in the case of greens) or an uncommon distortion in the structure of the crystal lattice (resulting in pinks and some browns).

Once a diamond exhibits enough colour, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) will classify it as a ‘fancy' diamond. It is estimated that of every 10,000 natural diamonds, only 1 would be classed as a ‘fancy diamond'.

Just like a rare work of art, each antique hand cut diamond has its own personality. But to go one step further, when exhibiting a colour, each individual coloured diamond is a unique and incomparable rarity. While the most valuable diamonds feature striking colours that are highly saturated, much of the appeal of a particular diamond is driven by personal preference, as well as the piece it is set into.

The scarcity of coloured diamonds means that, while cherished, they have been viewed as curiosities throughout history, making them somewhat of a rare occurrence in antique jewellery.

It is thought that the Ancient Romans were the first to use coloured diamonds in jewellery, as far back as the 2nd century AD, after rings were discovered featuring brown diamonds. Since then, coloured diamonds have secured themselves a spotlight amongst the finest collections of crown jewels: France’s impressive Hortensia Diamond is a soft peach coloured beauty.

While Germany’s magnificent 41 carat Dresden Green is the largest and finest green diamond ever discovered to date. Equally remarkable is that the Dresden Green has remained in its same setting for some 200 years!

Possibly the most legendary fancy diamond of all is The Hope Diamond, a gemstone with a rich and mysterious history. Exhibiting a sultry blue hue, this diamond glows with a fiery, reddish-orange phosphorescence under UV light. Believed to have originated from the Golconda mines in India in the 17th century, it passed through French and British royalty before gaining fame as the Hope Diamond, named after its eponymous owner Henry Philip Hope. Today, it is housed in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, where it remains a symbol of beauty and curiosity.

It is only in the last few decades that people have truly started to understand and appreciate how special these diamonds are. The 1988 sale of a 0.95 carat red diamond for $880,000 (equivalent to approximately $2.3m in today’s climate) at Christie’s New York was seen as a pivotal moment for fancy diamonds.

Today, coloured diamonds are commanding some of the highest prices per carat of any gemstone. Keeping their promise of value, these diamonds are capturing the imaginations of jewellery collectors and investors alike.

We would be delighted to welcome you to the Berganza showroom to experience these remarkable diamonds for yourself!

Edwardian yellow diamond three stone ring hatton garden
Edwardian fancy yellow diamond three stone ring, circa 1905.
Ref: 26965
Two stone diamond crossover ring Boucheron berganza hatton garden
Boucheron two stone diamond crossover ring, French, circa 1980.
Ref: 23919
Fancy yellow solitaire diamond ring berganza hatton garden
Fancy yellow flanked solitaire diamond ring, circa 1920.
Ref: 24789
Fancy diamond flower ring Oscar Heyman berganza hatton garden
Fancy colour diamond flower ring by Oscar Heyman Bros, American, circa 1980.
Ref: 25558
Fancy intense yellow diamond flanked solitaire ring hatton garden
Fancy intense yellow diamond flanked solitaire ring, circa 1950.
Ref: 28036
Vintage fancy diamond coronet cluster ring berganza hatton garden
Vintage fancy diamond coronet cluster ring, circa 1970.
Ref: 24976
antique butterfly brooches hatton garden berganza
A pair of Victorian gem set butterfly brooches, English, circa 1890.
Ref: 25440
Fancy yellow diamond flank solitaire ring berganza hatton garden
Fancy yellow diamond flank solitaire ring, circa 1950.
Ref: 26659
Fancy intense yellow diamond cluster ring, circa 1925
Fancy intense yellow diamond cluster ring, circa 1925.
Ref: 28758
Art Deco fancy coloured diamond ring, berganza hatton garden
Art Deco fancy coloured diamond cluster ring, circa 1925.
Ref: 24756
Edwardian diamond three stone ring berganza hatton garden
Edwardian fancy light yellow diamond three stone ring, English, circa 1910.
Ref: 25209
fancy yellow diamond drop earrings berganza hatton garden
Old mine fancy yellow diamond drop earrings, circa 1910.
Ref: 26644
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Updated 13/04/2024 at 3:17PM

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