This refers to the saturation of color combined with the tone – that is, how “light” or “dark” the color is. Most fancy-color diamonds occur in pastel shades. Deep colors such as ruby-red or sapphire-blue are extremely rare and are among the costliest of all gems. The depth of color is usually indicated from “faint” to “vivid,” with the “vivid” classification indicating the richest possible tone in any given color. Be wary of stones with a “faint” grade; these stones often have such a weak tone that they do not appear to be a “fancy” color at all, but merely a very tinted, off-color stone. These should sell for much less than a “light” tone or deeper tones. Most diamond reports for fancy-color diamonds rank tone using terminology similar to the following:
The classification pertaining to the depth of color is extremely important. One tonal difference can dramatically affect value. But you must also understand that the terminology and gradations used to indicate the depth of color – the tonal scale – is not the same for every color. If you are seeking a yellow diamond, for example, and decide you want a color that is darker in tone than “Fancy yellow,” the next classification would be “Intense;” you would be wasting your time searching for anything between “Fancy yellow” and “Fancy Intense” because in yellow diamonds there are no classifications between the two. On the other hand, if you are looking at brownish yellow diamonds, there is a “Deep” classification that is darker than “Fancy brownish-yellow” but more affordable than “Intense.” In blue diamonds, you will also find a “Deep” classification.
To accurately evaluate rarity and value, and to be sure you have found the depth of color that best suits your needs, you must be sure to find out what the specific tonal classifications are for the particular color you are considering.
For more information on diamonds read DoW’s 4C’s on fancy-colored diamonds information. More