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Color Intensity

The color in Fancy color diamonds is built from three parameters:

  1. The main color of the diamond
  2. The secondary color of the diamond (AKA overtone)
  3. The intensity of the color

The main color, and if there is a secondary color, together define the color tone, however the strength of color is defined by the intensity level. The intensity level can be anywhere from a very soft shade to a very strong shade, and the stronger the shade the more valuable the diamond is.

GIA developed an intensity grading scale in order to categorize the intensity levels in the diamond. The nine grades in the scale are;

  • Faint
  • Very Light
  • Light
  • Fancy Light
  • Fancy
  • Fancy Intense
  • Fancy Vivid, Fancy Deep, or Fancy Dark

However, it is important to understand that not every diamond color appears in all intensity levels. For example, Orange diamonds cannot be found in Faint, Very Light, or Light intensities. Only Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid and Fancy Deep.

The GIA also defines how well the color and intensity is distributed throughout the stone. A diamond certificate will specify ‘even’ or ‘uneven’ according to the percentage of the color distribution.

The intensity of the color has a direct effect on the value of the stone. For example a Blue diamond or a Pink diamond, which are of the rarest in the fancy colored diamond family, are quite costly and difficult to find. However, there is a significant difference between a Fancy Light Blue and a Fancy Vivid Blue or a Fancy Light Pink and a Fancy Intense Pink.

Exactly what color intensity a diamond will have will not be able to be determined from the rough stone. However, the greater the color intensity of the rough, the greater the intensity of the polished diamond will be. How intense the color will be is also greatly affected by the diamond cut and shape of the stone.  Also, the way colorless stones are being cut (Brilliant cut) is different from how Fancy Color Diamonds are cut (Modified).

The origin of the diamond is also another factor that affects the color intensity. Different diamond mines produce different shades or tones of colors. For example, a Pink diamond found in India or South Africa can’t compare to a Pink diamond found from the Argyle diamond mine in Australia.


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Asia Fancy Color Diamond Association (“AFCDIA”) is trade promotion organization headquartered in Hong Kong with the primary objective to promote the development of the color diamond industry in Asia, with particular emphasis on the Greater China markets. READ MORE