Fancy Color Lab-Grown Diamonds – The Complete Buying Guide
Last Updated on March 13, 2023 by LabGrownCarats
- What are fancy color lab-grown diamonds?
- How are fancy color lab-grown diamonds made?
- How to buy a fancy color lab-grown diamond
- Reasons to buy fancy color lab-grown diamonds
- Where to buy fancy colored lab-grown diamonds
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What are fancy color lab-grown diamonds?
Fancy color lab-grown diamonds are diamonds that display a uniform color throughout their crystal.
Mined diamonds that are formed in the earth come into contact with different elements and minerals deep within the earth. Certain elements are extremely rare to come into contact with diamond crystals as they form. But because of different shifts and volcanic eruptions, some of the rare elements meet diamond crystals. That can cause the diamond to become a different color.
The other way that diamonds can produce a fancy color is by deformities in the crystal structure of a diamond. All diamonds are made of pure carbon. Certain elements may cause defects in the atomic structure of the diamond. Carbon elements are replaced by other elements (depending on color), and colors are absorbed, leaving another color displayed.
Overall, these are the two ways most fancy color diamonds form naturally. There are some exceptions, but there aren’t many. Fancy color diamonds may be:
- Blue Diamonds
- Pink Diamonds
- Yellow Diamonds (Canary)
- Orange Diamonds (Saffron)
- Green Diamonds (Teal diamonds)
- Purple Diamonds (Lilac, Plum, Grape)
- Black Diamonds
- Red Diamonds
- Brown Diamonds (Chocolate, Champagne, Cognac)
- Gray Diamonds
- Violet Diamonds
- White Diamonds (Not colorless)
How are fancy color lab-grown diamonds made?
Most natural fancy colored diamonds are highly expensive. Untreated fancy colored diamonds are even more so. The average consumer may not be able to afford a 1-carat natural fancy color diamond center stone for their engagement ring. Those are reserved for the rich and famous.
Fortunately, scientists have discovered ways to reproduce many of the world’s fancy color diamond shades. That means that colored lab-grown diamond engagement rings are no longer reserved for the ultra-rich!
The process changes a little based on the color they are trying to create, but all are done in a controlled laboratory environment instead of being mined from the ground.
Lab-grown diamonds can be grown using high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) processes or the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process. Then, depending on the particular color of the diamond they’re trying to achieve, they will treat the colorless diamond to turn its desired color.
How do fancy colored lab-grown diamonds get their color?
To create a fancy colored lab-grown diamond, scientists must first create a colorless synthetic diamond. The HPHT and CVD processes can produce fancy color diamonds, and both start out using a small fragment of a diamond called a diamond seed.
The high-pressure, high-temperature method of creating lab diamonds is the one most like how diamonds form underground. But instead, these are formed in a laboratory. Mined diamonds take billions of years to form, but lab-grown diamonds can be created within weeks to months.
The HPHT process involves placing the diamond seed inside the chamber. Scientists can apply the high temperatures and high pressure needed to crystallize into a diamond within the chamber. They can replicate the same conditions that happen underground to make natural diamonds crystallize.
The chemical vapor deposition method involves placing the diamond seed into a vacuum chamber. Instead of heat and pressure, the chamber is filled with methane or other carbon-rich gases.
The vacuum chamber is heated up extremely hot. The methane gases inside react to the extreme temperature, and the molecules start breaking down into a plasma. The plasma settles around the diamond seed, which causes the diamond seed to crystalize.
How the fancy color gets inside the colorless diamond
With mined fancy color diamonds, the color is caused by various elements that are found in the soil and rock surrounding the diamond crystal. Some elements, such as boron, are less likely to be found among rough diamonds. Some are more common, like nitrogen.
The more of the element that is around, the more color saturation the diamond gets. Mined diamonds with a strong pigmentation are rarely large enough to be used as an engagement ring center stone (1-2 carats). If they are, they often cost tens of thousands of dollars. In certain colors, even more.
Not all natural fancy color diamonds are colored by different elements. Some diamond colors result from a defect in the crystal lattice of the diamond. An element may cause some of the diamond’s carbon atoms to create a vacancy. The vacancy in the structure can cause the diamond to display a fancy color.
We don’t have clear evidence on how all fancy colored diamonds get their color. But scientists, geologists, and gemologists are pretty sure their hypotheses are correct.
Some of the elements used to create fancy color diamonds are:
- Boron to create blue diamonds
- Nitrogen to create yellow diamonds and orange diamonds
- Radiation to create green diamonds
- Crystal defect to create pink diamonds and red diamonds
- Crystal defects and hydrogen to create purple diamonds and violet diamonds
- Crystal defect to create brown diamonds
- Inclusions and irradiation to create black diamonds
How to buy a fancy color lab-grown diamond
Lab-grown diamonds have been easy to find online since they hit their popularity in the last 10 years. However, only within the previous 5 years are they becoming easier to find in-store.
When it comes to lab-grown fancy color diamonds, it’s still pretty difficult to find them locally. If you do, you’ll probably run into a limited amount of colors. Lab-grown yellow diamonds, pink diamonds, and blue diamonds are pretty common with big-name lab-grown jewelry brands, such as Lightbox Jewelry, Pandora Brilliance, James Allen, and Brilliant Earth.
If you’re looking for other lab-grown fancy colors, you’ll have better luck taking your search to the web. However, you should remember that not all lab-grown diamonds are the same.
Colorless lab-grown diamonds are graded the same way mined colorless ones are (because they are the same). They are evaluated based on the 4Cs: diamond cut, clarity, color, and carat weight.
Fancy color diamonds use the same general standard but are used more as quality guidelines than as a strict standard.
Fancy color lab-grown diamonds follow the same general quality guidelines as mined fancy color diamonds (again, they are the same). Some of the exact hues and intensities of mined diamonds cannot be produced in the laboratory, though (more on this later).
Analyzing the diamond color of fancy color diamonds, whether mined or created, is very complicated. Only the experts who have studied colored diamonds for years and years can truly comprehend their complexity.
But for the rest of us, we at least need to understand how color is analyzed. It’s different from the D-Z color grades that are given to natural and lab-grown diamonds that are colorless.
Fancy color diamonds are judged by their hue, tone, and saturation. These factors, in addition to the diamond 4Cs, are all major players in the overall price and value of fancy color diamonds. Origin, rarity, treatments, and localities also have an effect.
All fancy colored diamonds have a main body color called a primary hue. The majority of the time, they also have secondary hues. Secondary hues blend with the primary hues to create new color variations. Secondary hues can also be called modifiers.
- Blue diamonds may have gray, purple, or green secondary hues.
- Pink diamonds may have red, purple, or orange secondary hues.
- Yellow diamonds may have orange, brown, or green secondary hues.
- Orange diamonds may have yellow, brown, pink, or red secondary hues
- Green diamonds may have gray, yellow, or blue secondary hues.
- Purple diamonds may have red or pink secondary hues.
- Black diamonds may appear greenish or brownish as a primary hue.
- Brown diamonds may have red, pink, orange, or yellow secondary hues.
- Violet diamonds may have gray or blue secondary hues.
The hue of a diamond will name its primary color first, then its modifier. Some examples of this may be:
- Bluish Green
- Greenish Blue
- Yellowish Brown
- Brownish Yellow
- Pinkish Orange
- Orangy Pink
For the most part, fancy color lab-grown diamonds and their mined counterparts have 9 tone grades. Some fancy colors don’t have as many tone grades as others.
The GIA’s color tone scale grades lab-grown fancy color diamonds as:
- Very Light
- Fancy Light
- Fancy Intense
- Fancy Vivid
- Fancy Deep
- Fancy Dark
Diamond colors that are rarer or are secondary colors have fewer tone grades to choose from.
- Black diamonds come in one tone: Fancy Black.
- Blue diamond tones start at Light.
- Pink diamond tones start at Very Light and go through Fancy Deep Pink.
- Yellow diamond tones start from Fancy Light to Fancy Deep Yellow.
- Orange diamond tones occur in Fancy Orange to Fancy Deep Orange.
- Purple diamond tones start at Fancy Light to Fancy Intense
- Green diamond tones start at Light and go through Fancy Deep Green.
- Brown diamonds occur from Fancy Light to Fancy Dark Brown
- Red diamonds only occur as Fancy Red.
- Violet diamond tones start at Fancy to Fancy Deep Violet
Lab-grown diamond tip: The ideal tone for a fancy color lab-grown diamond is usually between Fancy Intense to Fancy Vivid. However, the desired color is a matter of personal preference.
The saturation of a fancy color lab-grown diamond doesn’t take too much effort. However, saturation is definitely more of an issue with mined fancy colored diamonds. The saturation of a colored diamond is how uniform the color is throughout.
For most mined fancy color diamonds, the colors may not infiltrate the entire rough diamond. For that reason, diamond cutters have to facet smaller diamonds to ensure the color is uniform throughout. That’s also why many mined fancy color diamonds are treated to improve color and saturation.
Fancy color lab-grown diamonds are different. Scientists can impart as many impurities as needed to saturate a lab-grown diamond to a fancy color fully. They can make fancy colors with full saturation at higher carat weights than natural ones.
All you want to do here is avoid color zoning, which happens when the color isn’t uniform throughout the diamond. With fancy color lab-grown diamonds, that shouldn’t be hard.
The average carat weight of the center stone of an engagement ring lies somewhere between 1-2 carats. The price of a colorless diamond is analyzed based on its grades.
A high-quality 1-carat natural colorless diamond can range between $4000-$8,000, roughly. A similar 1-carat lab-grown diamond costs around $1000 (on average, you save 60-80% on a lab-grown diamond vs. mined).
A 1-carat mined fancy color diamond costs a lot more. Different colors have different jumps in price per carat. Besides brown diamonds, yellow diamonds, and black diamonds, fancy color mined diamonds are very, very expensive.
Blue diamonds are some of the most popular, yet in nature, they are also very rare. You will see fancy light blue mined diamonds costing over $300,000 for a 1-carat diamond! Quite the jump, isn’t it? We told you, this is rich-and-famous territory.
Those prices are why we are so thankful to have fancy color lab-grown diamonds. The price per carat is much more affordable for the average person. Many people will still say they’re much too expensive, but more people are looking for an alternative to a colorless center stone.
A fancy color lab-grown light blue diamond with the same type of saturation as the samples above can cost between $900-$4,000 for a 1-carat stone.
A 6-carat light blue lab-grown diamond can run around $30,000! While that is undoubtedly a lot of money, to put that into perspective, a 6-carat light blue natural diamond would cost over a million dollars per carat!
The cut quality of a diamond refers to how balanced the proportions are of that shape. Round brilliant diamonds have cut grades, but other diamond shapes don’t. Each shape has recommended proportions for the best cut quality.
Cut is critical when buying colorless lab-grown diamonds. They have a direct effect on the brilliance and sparkle of a diamond. If cut well, the sparkle will be beautiful. If cut poorly, the diamond appears dull or may have dark areas.
In the case of fancy colored lab-grown diamonds, cut is still important, but not as much as with colorless diamonds. If sparkle is the goal, then cut quality is the way to get there. With fancy colored lab diamonds, color is the goal. We don’t necessarily need a reflection of brilliant white light and sparkle.
What are the cut quality guidelines for fancy colored lab-grown diamonds?
The most significant cut quality factor you’ll want to consider when buying lab-grown fancy colored diamonds is the length-to-width ratio. This determines the overall shape of the diamond. If your length-to-width ratio is off, the shape of your diamond will appear uneven!
The length-to-width ratio of a fancy colored lab-created diamond can also help you choose an aesthetic for some diamond shapes. For example, the ideal length-to-width ratio of a cushion-shaped diamond is 1-1.05. But for those who like the look of an elongated cushion-cut diamond, the L/W ratio lies between 1.15-1.20.
The best way to choose a well-cut fancy colored lab-grown diamond is to view the shape under magnification. Doing this can reveal any chips or misshaped facets. Many online lab diamond retailers have 360˚ videos that allow you to survey the diamond at high magnification for cut quality and clarity.
Diamond clarity is how free of inclusions your diamond is. We talked about the impurities that infiltrate the diamond crystal to turn them into different colors. The other impurities that enter diamonds are called inclusions.
Inclusions, clarity imperfections, flaws, and black spots in a diamond are all natural. Inclusions can be found in almost every mined diamond in the world. However, very few diamonds in the world are deemed “flawless” (and those are unbelievably expensive).
Lab-grown diamonds can also produce inclusions when they’re grown. However, the types of clarity imperfections in a lab-grown diamond are limited and usually less prominent than with mined diamonds.
They have the same type of clarity grades as mined diamonds (because lab-grown diamonds are graded the same way as mined). Most lab-grown diamonds on the market are eye-clean (no visible inclusions to the naked eye).
The clarity grades for both fancy color lab-grown diamonds and colorless diamonds are:
- Flawless (F)
- Internally Flawless (IF)
- Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2)
- Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2)
- Slightly Included (SI1, SI2)
- Included (I1, I2, I3)
You don’t want any surface blemishes in your fancy color lab-created diamond because these can create chipping or cleaving vulnerabilities. In addition, internal inclusions don’t create a texture on the stone as bad surface inclusions can.
Diamond clarity for both mined and lab-grown diamonds is considered a personal preference. By quality standards, the fewer clarity imperfections, the higher the value.
But when judging fancy color lab-grown diamonds, clarity isn’t a huge cause for concern. However, too many clarity imperfections can diminish the brilliance of colorless diamonds. In the same way, you might think that too many inclusions in fancy color diamonds would do the same.
It’s a quality factor but not a deterrent. Mined fancy color diamonds are judged more on their color and carat weight than their clarity or cut. If the diamond looks like the color, it’s valuable. Even very included (under magnification) mined fancy color diamonds still look like their color from eye to engagement ring distance.
Fortunately, you get the best of both worlds with fancy color lab-grown diamonds. They’re capable of having inclusions, but the majority of fancy color lab-grown diamonds have very few. SI clarity fancy color lab-grown diamonds may not be noticeable to you-even under 10x magnification.
With fancy color lab-grown diamonds, you can have eye-clean and almost flawless colored diamonds for a fraction of the cost it would be for a mined fancy colored diamond of the same caliber.
Lab-grown diamonds have the same properties as natural diamonds because lab and mined diamonds are the same. So diamond shape recommendations are applicable regardless of origin. However, the diamond shape recommendations for colorless and fancy colored diamonds differ.
When buying colorless mined or lab-grown diamonds, the recommended is the round brilliant diamond shape. That’s because a round brilliant is the only diamond shape that can be cut to exact proportions and symmetry. The result of this is a brilliant mix of white light and rainbow light entering the diamond and reflecting back out to the viewer.
With fancy color lab-grown diamonds, we do not want to reflect white light and rainbow light. That would detract from the desired color of the diamond. So instead, they should sparkle but with an excellent polish rather than white light.
Because of this, round brilliant fancy color diamonds actually tend to cost less than other shapes. But with fancy color lab-grown diamonds, the saturation is much higher, so they won’t look as light-toned as if they were mined.
Also, for that reason, you’ll find more lab-grown fancy colored diamonds in shapes with large surface areas. Emerald cuts, ovals, and marquise are popular options for fancy color lab-grown diamonds.
Reasons to buy fancy color lab-grown diamonds
There are many reasons to purchase fancy color lab-grown diamonds. Many people are tired of seeing colorless diamonds get all the glory when there’s a rainbow of different colored gemstones out there.
The problem is that many colored gemstones aren’t suitable for engagement rings you plan to wear for years on a regular basis. Some of them take way too much care than many of us are willing to do.
That’s one of the reasons why colorless diamonds are recommended as the gemstone for engagement rings and wedding bands. They’re extremely scratch resistant and can be put in a protective setting to protect from any chipping or cleaving vulnerabilities like most faceted stones have.
With fancy color lab-grown diamonds, you get the best of both worlds: the durability of a diamond but with a colored stone. At a price level that regular people can afford.
Aside from being both a durable and unique choice for an engagement ring, there are plenty of reasons why you should choose fancy color lab-grown diamonds over natural untreated or treated fancy colored diamonds.
Here’s a quick recap of some of the advantages you get when purchasing fancy lab-grown diamonds:
- Fancy color lab-grown diamonds have a much lower price than mined colored diamonds
- The color saturation in lab-grown colored diamonds is much better than in mined colored diamonds
- Lab-grown diamonds have fewer prominent inclusions than natural diamonds
- Colored lab diamonds produce ideal tones better than natural colored diamonds
But the best reason is that fancy color lab-grown diamonds allow many of us to own a beautiful version of some of the earth’s rarest gemstones – at a much more affordable price, with better color and all the same physical attributes of a natural fancy color diamond.
Where to buy fancy colored lab-grown diamonds
At LabGrownCarats.com, we review jewelers selling lab-grown diamonds and jewelry so that you can get the lowest price for the highest-quality diamond jewelry, including fancy color lab-created diamonds. Below are our recommended best places to buy fancy color lab-grown diamonds based on inventory, quality, price, buying experience, and customer service.
Ritani review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ritani tops our list of the best places to buy fancy color lab-grown diamonds because of their market-leading low prices and price transparency, the largest inventory of lab diamonds, customization options, and jewelry store partnership.
James Allen review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
James Allen is one of our best-rated places to buy fancy color lab-grown diamonds. The service is top-notch, prices are low, the selection is enormous, and the quality and craftsmanship are superb.
Brilliant Earth review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Brilliant Earth is the leading sustainable lab-grown diamond jeweler. Their deep commitment to sustainability, including being the only seller of sustainable graded lab diamonds, sets them apart. The prices are excellent, too, and they have an extensive inventory of colored lab-grown diamonds.
Clean Origin review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Clean Origin is another of our favorite places to buy lab-grown diamond jewelry, including lab-grown fancy colored diamonds. We recommend Clean Origin for its unbeatable prices, a vast selection of lab-grown diamonds and jewelry, and excellent support (plus 100-day risk-free returns).
Grown Brilliance review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Grown Brilliance is our favorite for lab-grown diamond engagement rings due to their incredible ring designer, customization options, and unique jewelry design collections, including stunning fancy color lab-grown diamonds. Grown Brilliance’s prices are excellent, and so is the shopping experience.
With Clarity review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
With Clarity is our other favorite place to buy lab-grown diamond engagement rings because of their unique 3D ring replica home previews (that you can try for free). They have a large selection of stunning fancy color lab-grown diamonds and jewelry at amazing prices.