Colored diamonds are rare and costly by definition so it’s hard to speak about them in terms of trends.
Fancy color diamonds represent less than .01% of the total diamonds mined in the world—that’s about 1 in 10,000.
Whether pink, blue, or yellow, they are traditionally the domain of the luxury consumer or connoisseurs in search of collectible, one-of-a-kind jewels.
But colored diamonds have been making headlines of late, from Jennifer Lopez’s green diamond engagement ring to a seemingly endless supply of extremely rare—and rather large—stones arriving on the auction block.
This fall, “We saw Sothebys sell the Williamson Pink Star, a 11.15 carat flawless fancy vivid pink diamond, for $57.7 million, during a twenty-minute bidding flurry, establishing a world auction record price per carat for any diamond or gemstone,” notes luxury brand consultant and social media influencer Tracey Ellison (a.k.a. @thediamondsgirl on Instagram). “It’s further evidence of how strong the market is right now.”
The same auction house will be selling eight fancy blue diamonds—with a combined total value of more than $70 million—across its Magnificent Jewels auctions over the next year. And Dec. 7 was a sunshine day, when a 303.3 ct. treasure known as the Golden Canary sold for $12.4 million at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in New York City, becoming the third most valuable yellow diamond ever sold at auction.
“Of course, very, very few are able to ever consider purchases like that,” says Ellison.
But with all the buzz around colored diamonds in general, consumer awareness is at an all-time high. This presents an opportunity retailers might capitalize on, especially since boulder-sized stones worth millions are far from the only game in town.
Just ask F. Mark Funk, vice president of sales and marketing at Color Jewels/Cirari, a leading supplier of important colored diamond jewelry, who reports that increased exposure of colored diamonds “have helped greatly in the overall sales of colored diamonds. We have also seen a slight uptick in color gemstones for engagement rings as well.”
As such, it’s a category his company is prioritizing as there seems to be significant demand from consumers and retailer partners alike.
“We believe we have been leaders in the color diamond category for the last two-to-three years,” he adds. “Our yellow and pink sales have grown significantly and our blue and green have come online nicely, while they are still a smaller piece of the total.”
Offering a wide range of price points is part of s colored diamond strategy and there is plenty of inventory supply on both ends of the spectrum.
“We believe that this spring, as usual, and even more so in 2023, will be a very price-pointed purchase target,” says Funk. “Higher prices will be slowed significantly. We are creating a system that will allow us to either be online or in zoom calls with customers for higher price points. This effort will keep all product in New York until reviewed and then shipped to a customer if selected.”
On a macro level, Gemological Science International (GSI), is “seeing more everyday jewelry with fancy-colored diamonds—featuring more commercial than collector diamonds—and our clients are sharing with us that their customers are excited for the option to have something other than near-colorless diamonds to express their mood and individuality through their jewelry,” says Debbie Azar, GSI co-founder and president.
“Also, consumers are demanding more unique, personalized jewelry and fancy colored diamonds are a wonderful way to show self-expression through design and color choice in jewelry,” she adds.
For retailers sourcing an important colored diamond for a special client, Azar says GSI is uniquely equipped to provide customized reports for fancy-colored diamonds: “We have great relationships across industries that enable us to create processes and design equipment that allows us to grade fancy-colored diamonds to the highest standards.”
Interested in adding colored diamonds to your retail mix for the first time? Fancy yellow diamonds might be the color to start with, as it’s more widely available than rarer blues and pinks. A number of bridal suppliers and designers surfaced yellow diamond engagement rings during JCK Las Vegas 2021 (a bright, bold breath of fresh air after a prolonged and gloomy peak pandemic era) and JCK Las Vegas 2022 further fanned the yellow flame. Meanwhile, enthusiasm for the warmth of yellow gold also remains high.
Even if your customers may take some convincing when it comes to a colored diamond, there are still ways to respond to their being in the spotlight. Ellison’s advice: “I am seeing two trends emerge strongly: Beautiful ombré rings and semi-precious gemstones [like citrine or morganite].”
Alternatively, the inclination to wear a colored diamond engagement ring is a very individualistic and distinctive choice, a way to go against the grain in the most glamorous of ways. With this in mind, offering a strong customization program, one that lets the customer feel like a celebrity designing a bespoke piece, “gives the jewelry an intimate and emotional meaning, which is what jewelry is really all about,” says Ellison.